You may only know about it as “the horse riding dance”, but despite the fact that things have been lost(and found) in translation of the song as well as people simply seeing it as crazy and forwarding to their friends, it’s all leading up to a potential K-Pop (or even South Korean pop culture) emergence in mainstream America. You may have seen it drifting around Facebook or caught a clip of it in the news, but one thing is for sure–people love South Korean K-Pop artist PSY’s latest hit.
At 100+ million views on Youtube and mass media coverage, the song is definitely getting the limelight outside of its home country. And since it features several other celebrities from South Korea in it, they’re reaping the rewards of a curious Google search as well. And this leads to views on their content, which could spark a deeper dive, and so on.
I’m banking on this concept based on how Japanese pop culture went from video games and manga to fashion and mainstream television. If you look at Japanese culture, J-Rock and J-Pop ten years ago it you either had to know about it existing or have someone show it to you online if you wanted an immersive experience. And as Disney/Pixar introduced us to Miyazaki in theatres, Toonami hit the SciFi network and anime began to creep onto the roster of Cartoon Network, the cultural whispers of Japanese design and entertainment started to take root.
Fast forward and now you can find major Japanese labels imported by fashion retailers and Japanese brands setting up trendy flagships on the coasts. Kids have the ability to download exclusive imported video games on PS3 and families are celebrating anime across the large and small screen. And it all came from a ripple effect that began ten years ago.
Will K-Pop work the same way? It’s early to truly look at this and say yes, but you can say that it matters. K-Pop is heralded by its fanbase, but not overly exposed beyond that. And here we are with a global phenomenon in music that is rooted in the K-Pop scene. If the video alone isn’t getting attention, the memes based on the video are, showing that in the organic world of viral content it is indeed moving forward.