Music Challenge Memes on TikTok: Understanding In-Group Storytelling Videos

Arantxa Vizcaíno-Verdú, Crystal Abidin


Through visual and audio elements in videos no longer than three minutes, TikTok has created new interactive modes to understand music. Amid its growing popularity, this study focuses on posts nestled under the hashtag #MusicChallenge to understand what constitutes a “music challenge” on TikTok, how this trend comprises a mode of storytelling rather than a competition, and what in-group affiliations occur through audio memetic music via image, audio, text, and story strategies. Through a qualitative content analysis via a music storytelling codebook consisting of image, audio, text, storytelling, and in-group affiliation codes, we analyzed 150 posts in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. This trend revealed a series of immersive-narrative patterns that define the music challenge meme as a phenomenon of transmedia storytelling, self-expression, and connecting people with in-group affiliations related to nostalgia, expertise, friendship, citizenship, and age, among others, mediated by music.


music challenge, memes, TikTok, storytelling, transmedia music

Full Text: