In this feature, we explore Variety’s 2022 Hitmakers and Hitbreakers, highlighting the creative minds behind some of the biggest hits in the music industry. From songwriters A1 LaFlare and Kaine to producer and songwriter Vaughn Oliver, these talents have been instrumental in shaping the sound of today’s music landscape.

The Making of Latto’s “Big Energy”

A1 LaFlare, Kaine, and Vaughn Oliver, along with Dr. Luke and Theron Thomas, traveled to Hawaii for a writing camp where they crafted Latto’s hit song “Big Energy.” Drawing inspiration from social media trends, the team created a catchy tune that features LaFlare’s voice and samples Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love.” Oliver credits Latto’s delivery, flow, and confidence for hooking listeners in and making the song a hit.

College Courses Dedicated to Major Music Acts

As music continues to shape culture, college courses dedicated to major music acts have emerged, offering students the opportunity to study the impact and artistry of their favorite musicians. From a Georgetown University course on Jay-Z in the late aughts to a University of Texas at San Antonio course on Beyoncé’s Lemonade, these classes provide unique insights into the artists and their work. Other courses include a Rutgers class on Bruce Springsteen’s spiritual themes, a San Diego State University course on Bad Bunny’s cultural impact, and a Concordia University course on Kendrick Lamar’s storytelling and lyrical themes.

One Direction Fangirls and the Creation of the Internet as We Know It

While this article is not about Justin Bieber’s career evolution, it does delve into the world of fandom and its impact on the internet. The author of the book Everything I Need I Get from You: How Fangirls Created the Internet as We Know It explores stan culture through the lens of a One Direction superfan. The book provides a nuanced analysis of an often-overlooked force in internet history, one dominated by young women.

Closing the Gender Gap and Shaping the Web

The article discusses the gender gap in the early days of the web and how it started closing around 2000, with women, especially younger women, using the internet as a social tool rather than for work or promotion. Platforms like Tumblr and Twitter became particularly fruitful for fandoms, with Tumblr offering unprecedented visual tools and Twitter providing a vacant space for fans to homestead. Fans were the first to game the trending hashtags, solidifying their place in internet history and shaping the web as we know it today.