SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) - As “Gangnam Style” gallops toward 1 billion views on YouTube, the first Asian pop artist to capture a massive global audience has gotten richer click by click. So too has his agent and his grandmother. But the money from music sales isn’t flowing in from the rapper’s homeland South Korea or elsewhere in Asia.
With one song, 34-year-old Park Jae-sang _ better known as PSY _ is set to become a millionaire from YouTube ads and iTunes downloads, underlining a shift in how money is being made in the music business. An even bigger dollop of cash will come from TV commercials.
From just those sources, PSY and his camp will rake in at least $8.1 million this year, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of publicly available information and industry estimates. But for online music sales in South Korea, he’ll earn less than $60,000.
Here’s how it works.
“Gangnam Style” with its catchy tune and much imitated horse-riding dance is the most-watched video on YouTube ever.
The viral video has clocked more than 880 million YouTube views since its July release, beating Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” which racked up more than 808 million views since February 2010. PSY’s official channel on YouTube, which curates his songs and videos of his concerts, has nearly 1.3 billion views.
TubeMogul, a video ad buying platform, estimates that PSY and his agent YG Entertainment have raked in about $870,000 as their share of the revenue from ads that appear with YouTube videos. The Google Inc.-owned video service keeps approximately half.
PSY and YG Entertainment also earn money from views of videos that parody his songs.
Google detects videos that use copyrighted content. Artists can have the video removed or allow it to stay online and share ad revenue with YouTube. In the last week of September when “Gangnam Style” had around 300 million views, more than 33,000 videos were identified by the content identification system as using “Gangnam Style.”
But since YouTube can be accessed from all over the world, wouldn’t Asia be responsible for a significant chunk of the $870,000? The countries with the second and third-highest views of the video are Thailand and South Korea.
“Ads rates vary depending on which country the video is played. Developed countries have higher ad rates and developing countries lower,” said Brian Suh, head of YouTube Partnership in Seoul.
And the country with the most views of “Gangnam Style?” The United States.
LEGAL DOWNLOADS, CDs
“Gangnam Style” has been downloaded 2.9 million times in the U.S. and has been the No. 1 or No. 2 seller for most weeks since its debut, according to Nielsen SoundScan.