In 2019, Lil Nas X utilized his musical skills and understanding of meme culture in publishing “Old Town Road” on TikTok. The song quickly took over the social media app and beyond, becoming a pop culture earworm heard on TV, radio, and more. It not only launched Lil Nas X’s career, but also changed the trajectory of Alexandria Arrieta’s PhD studies at USC Annenberg.
Looking past the song’s catchy tune, Arrieta has researched how the intersection of memes and music are having a profound impact on people’s communication and connection across social media. Joining our host, journalism major Skye Lee, Arrieta discusses how musical artists use TikTok, the way indigenous cultures share dance moves, if her studies affect her own songwriting, and much more.
This episode of "The Annenverse" is hosted and researched by Journalism student Skye Lee. Recorded and edited by Areon Mobasher. Produced by Olivia Mowry. Additional editing by Braulio Hernandez.