“Gangnam Style,” the quirky South Korean video that spawned a global dance craze and went so viral it nearly broke YouTube, has finally been dethroned as the most watched video.
After four and a half years as YouTube’s most seen video, “Gangnam Style” slipped late Monday to number two, replaced by “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth.
“Gangnam Style,” a satirical take on the nouveau riche residents of the Seoul district by the same name, surprised even its singer, Psy, with its sudden global ascent in 2012.
Psy, who until “Gangnam Style” was little known outside of South Korea, found an avid fan base with the video’s equestrian-style dance moves set to its infectious pop beat.
The video became the first to reach one billion views on YouTube and caused the site’s engineers to scramble to make changes when it topped 2.1 billion views, previously thought to be the maximum possible.
As of early Tuesday US time, “Gangnam Style” had 2.895 billion views on YouTube, a notch under “See You Again,” which was featured in the 2015 action movie “Furious 7.”
“See You Again” intersperses scenes from the film with Wiz Khalifa rapping and Charlie Puth singing as they overlook a sandy coast. The song was a tribute to Paul Walker, an actor in “The Fast and Furious” film franchise who died in a car wreck.
Psy’s triumph was all the more striking due to the overwhelming dominance of English-language music on global charts.
In a new example, “Despacito” – a Spanish-language reggaeton song by Puerto Rican star Luis Fonsi and rapper Daddy Yankee – has reigned for nine weeks at the top of the US Billboard singles chart.
The “Despacito” video is already the fifth most-watched on YouTube at 2.486 billion views even though it was released just this year.
Once historic when Psy crossed the threshold, a total of 68 clips have passed the one billion view mark on YouTube, all but three of them music videos.