Gangnam Style Without Music

What would the popular Gangnam Style video look like without its music? This 2012 viral hit reached over 20 million YouTube views in 4 months since upload and launched a new genre of parody, helping me get my name out.


Gangnam Style, a 2012 song by South Korean artist PSY, is notorious for its music video. It was the first one to break the 1 billion view mark on YouTube. I was among its fans, enjoying the randomness of its impact.

Back in 2012 I was testing out different editing techniques which had to do with acapella tracks and music videos. I was also taking a break from multi-source mashup and sentence mixing. One afternoon I came to the conclusion that one thing I haven’t tried was removing music from a video, but keeping vocals intact. And since Gangnam Style was seriously popular and recognisable at the time, and because the music video itself was just plain silly, I decided it was a perfect video for experimentation.

The method was simple and involved rebuilding the audio track, with the help of an acapella track for PSY’s vocals and Creative Commons sound recordings from the helpful folk at freesound.com .


Only a few days after upload, a series of crazy events happened, almost at the same time. The original performer, PSY (real name Park Jae-Sang) tweeted my video to his followers, and a friend of mine sharing it on reddit got front page.

The video was covered on many websites and blogs, including Mashable, Gawker, BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, Film School Rejects, New York Magazine Vulture, Irish Independent, New Media Rockstars, Fuse.tv, Baeble Music, BoingBoing, MSN Now, Daily Picks and Flicks, Flavorwire, HyperVocal, The Awesomer, Prefix Mag, Viral Viral Videos, Bro Bible, Joe’s Daily, Most Watched Today and more.

Maybe it’s a case of the familiar being made alien, but it seems more likely that this video crawls up into the range of experimental genius by exposing the grand absurdity not only of this single music video, but inherent in the artform at large.

Scott Beggs, Film School Rejects

And speaking of art, the video was featured as a prominent part of a museum exhibition curated by Jonathan Wells, called Spectacle: A Music Video. It was shown both in the Museum of Image and Sound in Sao Paulo and The Museum of Moving Image in Astoria, New York City.

Not long after its upload, the video chosen by the team behind the popular British evening talk-show – The Jonathan Ross Show – to be featured at the beginning of their next episode.

“Music Videos Without Music: Gangnam Style” is also planned to appear in a documentary on K-pop by Bang Singapore, a renowned production studio which has worked with Discovery Channel and National Geographic. More information on that soon, hopefully :)


Original video: Gangnam Style by PSY.

Music video owned by Universal Republic Records and YG Entertainment.

Additional credit for the use of Party Rock Anthem goes to LMFAO, will.i.am Music Group, Cherrytree, Intercope Records and Panther Records.

The video is intended as Fair Use as a transformative parody distributed not for profit.

Sound recordings credits listed at the end of video.

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