The song that Beca (Anna Kendrick) performs at her audition, “Cups (Miss Me When I’m Gone),” is a combination of a children’s rhythmic percussion game played with drinking cups with a song that dates back to the late 1920s or early 1930s: “When I’m Gone,” written by A.P. Carter and first recorded by his seminal folk-country group ‘The Carter Family’. The song and the game were first combined in 2009 by the British group ‘Lulu and the Lampshades’.
Two years later, a woman named Anna Burden made her own version of the Lulu and the Lamspshades video and was discovered by Reddit. A large portion of the Internet — including Anna Kendrick — then watched her video.
Kendrick said on the Late Show with David Letterman that she learned “When I’m Gone” performed with the plastic cup from Burden’s viral video. It was incorporated into Pitch Perfect (as Beca’s audition song) after the producers learned she already knew how to do it.