Gangnam Style By, Bob Lefsetz

Posted on September 4, 2012 by

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Is it the music or the video?

I went to Best Buy to scope out TV sets. I didn’t bother looking at Sonys. For someone who grew up in the sixties and seventies, this is incredible. Sony was the BMW of its age. Only Sony charged a premium to be a member of the club.

But Sony missed the flat panel revolution.

And multiplayer Internet gaming.

Microsoft is not making any money with the Xbox, and Samsung is barely eking out any cash with TVs, but Samsung is the new Sony. Only hipper.

Yes, there was the loss to Apple. But Samsung will recover. It’s just that their handsets won’t look exactly like the iPhone.

You see it’s a Samsung world. While we weren’t looking, while we thought brands were forever, Samsung realized the game had changed and became number one. Just like with this Psy video.

Isn’t it funny that all the Americans, salivating over the Asian market, dying to penetrate China while bitching all the while that music is free there, have been beaten at their own game by the Koreans. Because the Koreans realized it wasn’t about money, it wasn’t about connections, it was about art.

Just like a Samsung is skinnier than its competition, with a better picture, K-Pop has finally broken through not on the music, but by a video. Which demonstrates something that’s been absent from mainstream American music for far too long…HUMOR!

Actually, the video walks a line. You’re not sure whether Psy’s taking himself seriously or not. But the longer you watch, you realize he’s winking at the camera, Psy’s in on the joke, and you become endeared to him.

He’s not classically attractive or thin, he’s the opposite of what Hollywood tells us to be. He hasn’t been seen in all the right places. But he realizes musical success is about sound and the trappings. And he’s got the trappings right.

This is bigger than Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” name your own price promotion, because “Gangnam Style” is replicable.

Yes, we finally live in a global village. And it’s not about relationships, it’s not about any of the phoney-baloney business that keeps the downtrodden out. It’s solely about art. Anybody can play. And you can play around the world.

Used to be stars were made by the machinery. By radio and television. But “Gangnam Style” was made by YouTube and the public. It went viral…

Today viral is oftentimes just part of the campaign, you can smell the manipulation, people want no part of it. But when you truly find something that is an outlier, something with no connections, something that’s cool in its own right, you want to tell everybody about it. That’s what the Internet is all about, sharing!

So Scooter Braun attaches his tag at the end. There’s nothing wrong with that, but very little right. If only Scooter could have been there at the beginning, then I’d be impressed. Instead, he’ll milk this for as much as he can, then he’s done.

Yes, “Gangnam Style” is a novelty track. I’d be surprised if there’s anything more, just like Rebecca Black with “Friday,” it’s one and done.

But what it represents…

This electronic sound is the music of the planet. It translates across borders. The language is not important. Just the way the music makes you feel.

In other words, the younger generation is remaking not only the music business, but the world!

That’s what the older generation does not get. The older generation is all about money, whereas the younger generation knows the power is in the tools. The computer, the iPhone, YouTube, Twitter. The barrier to entry is essentially nonexistent. But there’s tons of noise, tons of clutter. To rise above you have to get lucky or be really smart.

That’s what “Gangnam Style” is…smart. We’re not laughing at it, but with it. With its weird mashup of sex, style, spy and luxury living. Instead of feeling closed out, that you cannot play, “Gangnam Style” is weirdly inclusive, you believe everybody in the video is nice, that they’d let you play along, because everybody involved is so…normal.

Cool is dead. Because we’ve got too much information to believe you’re cool. We’ve got your high school photos, we know who you dated, we know deep down inside you’re just like us. And if you want to succeed big, you’ll realize that. Stop being Jay-Z or the rest of those performers saying they’re better than us, rather project the image that you’re just like us!

“Gangnam Style” puts a smile on your face and flips your brain’s creative switch. You tell yourself “I can do that!”

And you can.

Without Simon Cowell.

Without Lucian Grainge.

Without Doug Morris.

This is the old guard’s worst nightmare. Because if the proletariat controls the means of production and distribution, the old guard is unnecessary, the old guard is dead.

The old guard can give you the illusion of success. Sign you to a contract, spend money. But if you truly want to make it today, look in the mirror. We’re all on our own. Living on our wits. Worldwide success is only a heartbeat away… If you’re human, if you’re honest, if you play to everybody instead of the traditional gatekeepers.

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