Gangnam Style Is Now the Third Most Popular YouTube Video Ever; Here Are Numbers 1 and 2

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Oh Psy! The Korean rapper who is responsible for inciting a global dance craze that is 2012's Macarena has entered elite territory. His 'Gangnam Style' video is now the third most-watched YouTube video of all time. Since it launched in July, the video has received 531 million views. More than half a billion views! 

Who -- or what -- could have more views than that? Well, two other music videos. Sitting at number two, we find the indie sensation Jennifer Lopez on a club banger featuring noted Bud Light endorser, Pitbull. Since March 2011, this video has been watched 611 million times.

And now we come to the most-watched video on YouTube of all time. This Bieber-Ludacris bowling alley bildungsroman is a pop gem, but holy moly, 791 million views for this?

If you're old, you may not understand why these music videos have such obscenely high view counts. But the kids these days -- by which I mean everyone in their 20s and below -- seem to use YouTube like a jukebox. A jukebox that's free and shows motion pictures! (Even if it is low-fidelity and seemingly the worst possible way of listening to music on a computer.)

If I remember my (rapidly fading) tween years, I could listen to the same song ("Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Ruby Soho," anything from Punk in Drublic, and the disco classic "Ring My Bell") hundreds of times. I mean, the Repeat 1 setting was practically invented for the adolescent brain. So, maybe, a mere 10 million kids could be responsible for pushing Bieber to the top of the tubes. That is still a lot of Beliebers. 


Author's note: Especially considering the amazingly awkward pool table dance roll he pulls at about 1:30 of this video. I mean, has everyone forgotten Michael Jackson? Bieber is an OK dancer, but that move is like watching Will Ferrell slide over the roof of a car or David Spade jump into a convertible's driver's seat.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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