Lil Nas X’s viral hit “Old Town Road” has been a massive success. And when it was controversially removed from the Billboard country music charts, it only gained popularity. The song is now the No. 1 song on the Hot 100 chart and it is now appearing on the Billboard Country Airplay Chart.
The song sits at No. 53 on the Country Airplay chart. However, that does not mean that Billboard now views the song as country, it just simply means that country stations are playing it.
“The song’s profile first swelled thanks in part to TikTok videos and other viral memes, while subsequent attention has centered on its removal after a week on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart (dated March 16),” Billboard explained in an article. “Hot Country Songs, based on airplay, streaming and sales, requires Billboard to designate songs for inclusion based on genre fit; Country Airplay, however, as well as Rhythmic Songs and Pop Songs, purely reflects plays on reporting stations.”
Previously, Billboard said that “Old Town Road” was not country enough which led to its removal from the charts.
“Upon further review, it was determined that ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard‘s country charts,” they told Rolling Stone. “When determining genres, a few factors are examined, but first and foremost is musical composition. While ‘Old Town Road’ incorporates references to country and cowboy imagery, it does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
Since then, Lil Nas X teamed up with Billy Ray Cyrus for a remix of the song which added an extra verse and had Cyrus added to the hook. We’ll have to see if the remix now gives the song enough “country elements” to allow it to return to the charts.
Billy Ray sure seems to think it belongs.