Psy Making Millions Out Of Gangnam Style

Psy, the man behind Gangnam Style, the most-watched video in YouTube history, is set to become a multimillionaire from ads on the site and iTunes downloads.

The source of his income underlines a shift in how money is being made in the music business, although a lot of his money is coming in from TV commercials.

Gangnam Style has clocked up nearly 888 million YouTube views since it was released in July.

The video, featuring his much-copied horse-riding dance, has beaten Justin Bieber's Baby, which racked up more than 808 million views since February 2010.

Psy's official channel on YouTube, which curates his songs and videos of his concerts, has had nearly 1.3 billion views.

TubeMogul, a video ad buying platform, estimates that Psy and his agent YG Entertainment have raked in about £540,000 (\$870,000) as their share of the revenue from ads that appear before YouTube videos.

The Google-owned video site keeps approximately half. Psy and YG Entertainment also earn money from views of videos that parody his songs.

Google detects videos that use copyrighted content, and artists can either have the video removed or allow it to stay online and share ad revenue with YouTube.

In the last week of September, when Gangnam Style had around 300 million views, more than 33,000 videos were identified by the content identification system as using Gangnam Style.

Gangnam Style has been downloaded 2.7 million times in the US and has been the No 1 or No 2 seller for most weeks since its debut, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The song sells for 99p (\$1.29) on Apple's iTunes Store, the market leader in song downloads. Apple generally keeps about 30% of all sales, so the PSY camp could be due more than £1.5m (\$2.4m).

How much Psy keeps and how much goes to his managers, staff and record label is unclear, but South Korean industry insiders believe Psy gets 70% and YG Entertainment 30% for US downloads.

Psy has been jetting around the world, performing on shows such as The X Factor Australia and NBC's Today Show.

While such programmes usually cover travel costs and not much else, television commercials are the big money spinner for the most successful of South Korea's pop stars.

Chung Yu-seok, an analyst at Kyobo Securities, estimates PSY's commercial deals amount to £2.9m (\$4.6m) this year.

Psy is now the face of a new Samsung refrigerator and a major noodle company.