Two female college students converse in podcast studio

Requiem for a meme

In 2019, Lil Nas X utilized his musical skills and understanding of meme culture by 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 launched Lil Nas X’s career and 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 profoundly impacts 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 and if her studies affect her own songwriting and much more. 

Listen to the episode here: