It was not Justine Bieber, Lady Gaga or even Psy. It was Girls Generation that took the prize.
Winning the Internet-based award may not be so impressive as to sell millions of album throughout the globe or win the Emmy, not to mention that this nine-member South Korean girl group is largely an incognito to American pop patrons.
Tiffany, one of the members of Girls Generation, who alone attended the ceremony, has received almost a shocked silence of disbelief from the crowd.
The global hit singer Psy’s win would have made more sense and could have been more applauded in the live crowd who used to his enigmatically comic appeal through Gangnam style.
But the winner is not decided by album sale or commercial success or viewership, though not entirely unrelated, but by the fans’ voting.
It is K-pop’s interactiveness with fans to be reckoned with. Its bilateral dynamics become a measurable asset of musical influence in which Girls Generation stands taller than any biggies.
One of the most YouTube-ish characteristics is unlimited and unconstrained access and expressiveness on which internet communities are based. In this socio-cultural setting, viewers’ live and active involvement plays a crucial role in forming a new phase of cultural sector.
That’s why the YouTube ceremony became a place of irony where the two different perspectives, K-pop vs Western/American Pop, collided with Psy as a medium, the greatest hit music video ever.
Girls Generation may not be the biggest pop act in terms of commercial success and recognition, but it is the act that commands the strongest fandom in the world today. Even when Psy swept the world with his hit Gangnam Style, it was this nine Asian girl group, not Psy, that reigned the K-pop world supreme.
Girls Generation has dominated Asia for nearly seven years to date, releasing many hits with their signature choreography. The music video “I got a boy” of over seventy million viewership, flaunts a juxtaposition of electric pop and stunning visual aesthetics.
But the “I got a boy” is not considered to be the most successful or even the most representative among Girls Generation’s music repertoires.
Then, how could this coup of Girls Generation be explained? A girl group with its relatively mediocre hit was able to brush off the biggest tycoons of the day?
Even if Girls Generation’s fans are super cult so that they could single-handedly butcher other rabid fandoms such as Bieber’s or Cyrus’ , how about their South Korean sensation Psy?
In comparison with Psy’s Gangnam Style, which is enshrined as the most watched video of all time, “I got a boy” seems far and wide lackluster and less successful.
That doesn’t really add up.
The fact is that Psy, who is arguably the most known K-pop artist, is insignificant compared to Girls Generation within K-pop coral.
In other words, Psy, despite his global fame and recognition, is not commanding a huge fandom like “SONE” – the official collective fan name of Girls Generation – that reportedly brought down the YouTube poll in support of Girls Generation.
What is so significant about Girls Generation’s wining in YouTube Award is that without actually breaking into the game of English-versed western pop industry or an unprecedented global success like Psy, Girls Generation virtually walked in and took the podium.
It is not just Internet users’ obsession-turned-to-music-award, the winner of which is decided on the votes of those tech-nerd fans. It is not an accidental anomaly or a freak apparition. It is real. It is there so that you can touch and feel it.
Although Girls Generation’s focus still remains largely on Asia, due to their inability to transcend linguistic barrier and genre appeal that stems from cultural differences, this nine girl group is indeed one of the most influential pop artists today.