“Gangnam Style” Broke YouTube’s View Counter
PSY’s 2012 sensation “Gangnam Style” was inescapable at the time of its release and, two years later, it’s been largely forgotten, but it’s still been racking up YouTube views from curious listeners and K-pop fans alike. Earlier this year, it became the first video on YouTube to surpass 2 billion views, and now it will forever be known as the video that “broke” the YouTube view counter. The Washington Post has the nitty gritty math details behind it, but basically, the way YouTube (and most things) are programmed, numbers are stored as binary code in a slot with a maximum of 32-bit integers. The video came up onto the unprogrammable threshold — or 2,147,483,647 views — and switched over to a negative integer. Google’s programmers have known that the problem has been coming for a while, and they’ve already issued a fix, but you can hover over the view counter on the YouTube site to see some of the math behind it. Revisit “Gangnam Style” below and keep adding to that view count.