How Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Driver’s License’ blew up on social media

Here are four things that helped the heartbreak song that everyone loves to go viral online.

Ardini Insyirah

All smiles and giggles especially when there’s music.

Published: 20 January 2021, 8:05 AM

If you’ve spent any time on TikTok recently, you would have heard of Olivia Rodrigo’s latest song titled Drivers License

To date, the 17-year-old’s debut single has more than 197 million streams on Spotify and has clinched the top spot in the app’s Top 50 Charts in Singapore. Now, the song is number one on the iTunes Global charts.

Since its first release on Jan 8, fans on social media have been going crazy over the song. With all the sharing on social media and TikTok videos of fans with their own renditions of it, it is no wonder how the track became the talk of the town.  

Here are four factors that helped the song go viral.

1. Riding the wave of her hit ‘All I Want’

Most of us would know Olivia Rodrigo from her role as Nini Salazar-Roberts on the Disney+ Series, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (HSMTMTS). Thanks to the show’s hit song All I Want, she gained much recognition online. 

Her latest drop, Drivers License, naturally got attention from her fans. 

In fact, when she posted a rough draft of the song on social media, fans showed a lot of appreciation for it which encouraged her to get to the studio and produce an official track.



2. Lyrics that emotionally connected with her fans

The song is about how Olivia finally got her driving license, which was something she and her previous romantic partner were excited about. It also talks about an insecurity she always had about a blonde third party and still loving her ex despite having gone separate ways. 

The melancholic tune and lyrics connected with a lot of listeners as it was relatable to their past romantic experiences. Fans on TikTok were soon lip syncing to the lyrics and recreating scenes from the music video by the thousands.


Olivia celebrating the release of her track. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@OLIVIARODRIGO

3. Believable fan-made theories added to the frenzy

Fans are theorising that the song was written about her HSMTMTS co-star and rumoured ex-boyfriend, Joshua Bassett.




Some speculation included this video of a fan reacting to Olivia recalling her first time driving with Joshua before she got her license. Fans believed that this corresponds to the lyrics in her song which were “I got my drivers license last week just like we always talked about.”

Fans even believed that the blonde girl that Olivia was talking about in the song referred to singer and actress, Sabrina Carpenter. She was seen hanging out with Joshua multiple times lately. 

Olivia has yet to confirm any of these theories, which has only made fans even more invested in the song and the story behind it. 

4. Praise by Taylor Swift

Two days after the release of her song, Olivia gushed about being next to Taylor Swift on the iTunes charts.

The Grammy Award winning singer even left an encouraging comment on the Instagram post, much to the excitement of both Olivia and her fans. 

This, of course, only directed more attention to the song.


Olivia sharing her excitement about Taylor’s comment. PHOTO CREDIT: TWITTER/@OLIVIA_RODRIGO


All these events put together are to be credited for the buzz around Drivers License. Judging from the success from this debut single, it seems like Olivia’s singing career is just kicking off.

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