Just how big a hit was “Gangnam Style”? So mammoth that the Internet literally wasn’t ready to handle it.
YouTube said that the 2012 song by South Korea’s Psy — accompanied by a horse-riding-like dance that became a global sensation — this week reached the maximum number of views that its counter had imagined to be conceivable.
The video-sharing site shows that the official version of the video has had more than 2.15 billion views — the equivalent of one-third of the world’s population, although of course many people watched more than once.
The problem: YouTube designed its counter with what is known in computer science as a 32-bit integer, meaning that the maximum number of countable views was 2,147,483,647.
“We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer,” YouTube, which is owned by search engine giant Google, said in a posting on Google+.
YouTube engineers anticipated the problem and upgraded to a 64-bit integer. That means that “Gangnam Style” or future mega-hit videos can now go beyond nine sextillion views — a feat that, at least according to conventional wisdom, would be impossible to break.