Psy's colossal hit single has racked up over 2.1 billion views, forcing Google to work on an upgrade to YouTube to keep track of viewing figures.
After Kim Kardashian’s nude photo session, it seems that the internet has been broken again. Quite literally, this time: the music video for ‘Gangnam Style’ has broken YouTube’s view counter.
South Korean musician Psy released the single in July 2012 and, powered by YouTube, it rapidly conquered the world with its signature dance routine, racking up hundreds of millions of views. It was such a cultural phenomenon that world leaders and politicians were perfectly happy to make fools of themselves copying the dance, and it became the first video to exceed one billion views.
Psy's 'Gangnam Style' has exceeded YouTube's view counter maximum after 2 and a half years
But that doesn’t seem to have fizzled out as one would have anticipated: viewing figures have climbed steadily upwards ever since and, nearly two and a half years later, ‘Gangnam Style’ surpassed 2,147,483,647 views. This was the maximum positive value of the 32-bit integer used to build YouTube nearly a decade ago. Back then, nobody could have anticipated that a single video would get over 2.1 billion views.
Google, which owns YouTube, has issued a statement in the form of a blog post: "We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer (=2,147,483,647 views), but that was before we met Psy. 'Gangnam Style' has been viewed so many times we have to upgrade!"
People were still able to watch ‘Gangnam Style’ – nothing actually broke except the capacity to record views beyond a certain number – but the news in itself is pretty significant. In commemoration of the occasion, YouTube has added a new ‘wrinkle’. If you go the ‘Gangnam Style’ page and hover your mouse over the view counter, the numbers will now spin round and round like crazy.
Google has upgraded to a 64-bit integer, which means that the maximum value for the view counter on a single video is now 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. That’s 9 quintillion, by the way, which should probably hold Psy off for another five years or so.