How Memes Can Get You to the Top of the Spotify Charts
    • FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2017

    • Posted by: Matt Guyotte

    Migos' "Bad and Boujee" made it to the top of the Spotify charts in the U.S. This rise was no doubt fueled by Donald Glover's recent acceptance speech at The Golden Globes, where he specifically thanked them for making the song, but there was another factor at play too.


    And memes are continuing to speak a louder message about how communication through social media are making the biggest hits today.

    For "Bad and Boujee" in particular, there were a string of memes on social media that used the song:

    Even with the song that it knocked off the charts, Rae Sremmurd's "Black Beatles," its success was fueled by memes too; in particular the mannequin challenge. Their marketing team helped them kickstart it by having everyone at one of the concerts on the SremmLife 2 tour do the challenge. And because of the accessibility of the challenge, it turned into a meme as well.

    The biggest example of a song motivated by memes in recent memory is Drake's "Hotline Bling," which propelled to the top of the charts after the world saw Drake's dad dancing. Drake knew exactly what he was doing when he decided to make that video - that it was going to be manipulated by other people and posted on social media. Free promo.

    And now Drake's Views, which included "Hotline Bling" even a year after its release, became the most streamed album of 2016.

    There might be something to this meme stuff.

    It makes sense that these songs have become popular because of memes. In a music landscape where consumers are exposed to hundreds of artists on a daily basis, it's hard to know which one to check out further, let alone dedicate time to go and listen to one of their songs. Memes are easy. Memes are funny. Memes are pretty much 60% of the content that we see on our Facebook and Twitter memes that we are plugged into.

    But even more than that, memes are something that triggers a conversation between friends and fans of the song. All it takes is a simple "Hey look at this meme, dude" for the information to spread, and since memes have slid themselves seamlessly into the way we communicate, eventually that song that was a part of a meme is going to be in everyone's heads. And the more likely people are going to listen to the song, propelling it to the top of the charts.

    And even though Vine is pretty much dead now, the time when it was active helps us understand this trend even better, because songs like The Finatticz's "Don't Drop That Thun Thun and J Dash's "Wop" got immense popularity after being featured on that platform. And while these weren't memes from the same standpoint as the Drake and Migos ones, it does offer a conversation with fans by allowing them to interact with a song in a way that goes beyond just listening to it, because they can post a video of them dancing to it, and post it to Vine. And if other people are dancing to that same song, then you're going to want to post a video as well, whether it be to feel included, or to have your 5 seconds of fame as well.

    Even artists who are not directly using memes to their advantage are still benefiting from them. Ed Sheeran is also sharing the top of the Spotify charts with Migos right now; an artist that became famous in the "traditional" way of playing live shows in L.A. But also consider that Sheeran's music was involved in memes as well. And while he isn't using them as aggressively as Drake and Rae Sremmurd are, they sure are helping.

    Memes are controlling the music landscape; at least for right now. There is such a thing as over-saturation of information, and it could be possible that memes become less effective in the future. But for the greater idea that memes represent - communication with fans in terms of promotion - that is something that will always be important.

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