Every now and then, I’ll get a push notification from Line telling me about its latest sticker packs. Today, the messaging app pointed me to a free bundle based on PSY – best known for his internet sensation ‘Gangnam Style‘ – but the download method struck me as unusual.
Rather than paying for the pack or downloading it immediately, Line is requiring users to watch PSY’s latest single – Hangover, featuring Snoop Dogg – over on YouTube first. You can press the back button almost immediately to get the stickers, but I suspect most people will sit through the music video, or at least wait long enough for YouTube to register it as a “view”.
For any other music artist, I would write this off as a simple marketing strategy to plug a new single. While that’s certainly true for PSY too, clearly there’s a larger strategy at play. Gangnam Style has racked up over 2 billion views on YouTube – that success propelled PSY to international stardom – and replicating those numbers is pivotal for his long-term career in the West.
Pushing Line users across to PSYs new music video is a sure-fire way to rack up some views and build virality around the song. In some respects, the sticker pack partnership feels quite sneaky and underhanded – but if you step back for a moment, it’s hard not to admire the genius of it all.