How Much Are 1 Billion YouTube Hits Worth? Only $870,000 (Just Ask Psy)

"Gangnam Style" is the most popular YouTube video of all-time. But its nearly 900 million views have made its artist, the K-pop sensation Psy, just $870,000, according to AV Club.

But don't cry for Psy. His single still managed to make more than $8 million in international downloads, endorsements, and commercials. This is the graph that tells you how a global dance sensation makes $8 million:

Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 7.33.44 PM.png

Clearly, the economics of superstars is alive and well in music. But just as it has for journalism, the Internet's effect on music has been to expand its reach far beyond its capacity to expand its revenue. The fact that a billion listens isn't even worth a million dollars tells two clear stories: Music has never been better for the people who listen to it -- and it's hardly been worse for the people who make it.

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Business

Just In