Every year, internet memes are becoming more and more central to the popular music landscape. From “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X to “Stay” by Justin Bieber and The Kid Laroi, which recently reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, countless hit singles in the last several years have been propelled into virality through the creation of memes circulated across social media platforms, particularly TikTok. But the prevalence of TikTok as a generator of virality can also be seen as a continuation of a longer trajectory of music memes, like the “Rickroll” and the Soulja Boy dance craze emerging on platforms like 4chan and Myspace in the mid 2000s. Why are music memes so prevalent and how are they altering the nature of music marketing and what it means to make music in a social media-driven landscape?
On September 10th, 2021, Alexandria Arrieta (popular music researcher from USC Annenberg), Lili Huang (Commercial Specialty + AAA Radio Promoter at Terrorbird Media), Madelynn Elyse (owner and founder of Shark Attack), joined moderator Danny Vinik for our third installation of Pidgin Palace Chats.