I remember the first time I watched the video for “Gangnam Style”. The song was catchy, the video was weird, but it put a smile on my face. I had no idea what the heck was going on, but it was amusing. The song got stuck in my head, and I remember playing the video for my wife. She looked at me like I was a crazy person, wondering what exactly I’d just shown her, but from there the sharing continued. I know I’m not the only one who had this experience, the video for “Gangnam Style” went viral very quickly. The prolonged popularity was a surprise to everyone, including YouTube.
You see, before “Gangnam Style”, YouTube’s view counters were based on a 32-bit integer, meaning the highest number they could possibly display was 2,147,483,647. Through hard work, dedication, and excessive sharing, YouTube viewers put that number in their rear view, pushing “Gangnam Style” well past two BILLION views.
Surprised, but undeterred, YouTube persevered. They’ve since updated their view counters to use a 64-bit integer, meaning the next would-be Psy will need an utterly ridiculous 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 views before YouTube’s counters will bend. That’s a completely crazy number, and to anyone hoping to topple it, I wish them luck. They’re going to need it. If my (admittedly horrible) math is correct, they’d need every man, woman, and child currently living on Earth (7.125 Billion as of 2013) to watch their video just over 1.29 MILLION times each to get up to 9 quintillion views.
Again I say, good luck. I can watch a catchy or funny video a few times, but I tend to zone out after the first hundred thousand views =)
As a reminder, (though really, how could you possibly forget?) here’s Psy doing his crazy dance in “Gangnam Style”.