Our Korean rapper-singer Psy on Saturday topped the iTunes Chart with his single "Gangnam Style," making him the first Korean artist to reach No. 1 on the U.S. online chart.
YG Entertainment, Psy's agency in Seoul, said the chart-topping feat appears to have been aided by the singer's live performance in New York for NBC's "Today Show" on Friday.
"It's surprising to see a Korean song by a Korean artist to reach No. 1 on the iTunes chart, which accounts for about 80 percent of the U.S. online music market," the agency said. "I think it will be difficult to match Psy's accomplishment."
"Gangnam Style" debuted at No. 52 on iTunes on Aug. 27, and then broke the top 10 on Thursday.
The following day, Psy performed his hit single live at Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan for the "Today Show" before hundreds of fans.
He also made a surprise appearance to teach Britney Spears his signature dance moves on NBC's "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and is scheduled to reappear as a main guest next week.
Psy already made Billboard history earlier this week when "Gangnam Style" debuted at 64th on the Hot 100 singles chart, the highest position for a South Korean artist. The Wonder Girls reached 76th in October 2009 with their "Nobody," which was originally written in Korean but later released in English for the global audience. "Gangnam Style" is the first Korean-language single to reach the Hot 100.
"Gangnam Style" quickly became a global sensation after its music video was released on YouTube on July 15. The official version of the video, highlighted by Psy's horse-riding dance moves, has attracted more than 170 million hits YouTube as of Saturday.
In a phone interview with Yonhap News Agency, Yang Hyun-suk, head of YG Entertainment, said he is pleasantly surprised by Psy's international success.
"'Gangnam Style' was at first spread through YouTube and social networking services on the Internet, much like other K-pop groups," Yang noted. "And the song has really taken off as Psy appeared in popular TV programs. He's been a breath of fresh air and I think the song will grow even bigger."
Yang, himself a former pop idol as a member of the iconic group Seo Tae-ji & Boys in the 1990s, said Psy has won over the fickle U.S. audience with his hard work.
"The U.S. market has traditionally preferred 'artist' types to idols," Yang said. "Psy fits the mold of stars like Jay-Z and Kayne West in that he writes and produces his own music."
Psy recently signed on with Scooter Braun, manager of the teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, and Yang noted that Psy's partnership with the "young and creative promoter" should take the "Gangnam Style" sensation even further. (Yonhap)