Have you heard of this song, Gangnam Style? Well, of course you have. It’s the most watched video ever on YouTube (over a half of a billion views as I write this). It’s a craze from Korea that’s sweeping the country. Which country? Pretty much all of them.
In case you’ve never heard of this song, have a watch/listen. Watch it twice if need be. Dance along like nobody’s watching. I’ll wait.
At the risk of sounding out-of-touch, I just discovered this song for the first time a few days ago. It’s funny, upbeat, infectious, and you just want to watch that video over and over again.
How did it become such a hit?
Planet Money is a fantastic podcast that takes big complicated economic topics and makes them visceral, engaging, and very easy to understand. Have a listen to their recent podcast about the Gangnam Style craze – its origins and implications in the pop music industry. They discuss how Gangnam Style is the culmination of 20 years of Korean pop music, and how the once-dominant American pop movement is at long-last under threat from a competitor. Very fascinating stuff.
Globalization abounds – the products we use every day come from all over the world. Is there even such a thing as a North American made cellphone? Or computer? Is art and culture headed the same way? Pop art and culture is a product like any other. That’s why we call it “Show Business” and not “Show Have Fun With My Friends.”
Will we see the same thing happening with theatre? I think it’s possible. What will the trend be? Where will it come from? Your guess is as good as mine.