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LIL NAS X: STREAMING EXPLOSION, BIBLE BATTLE

We recently told you about Columbia’s freshly inked Lil Nas X, whose “country trap” single “Old Town Road” is going nuts on streaming services (it’s #1 at Apple Music and Top 5 at Spotify U.S.) and fueling a viral video wave.  

The track is a monster, and is clearly exciting a wide range of music fans. Columbia boss Ron Perry jumped on the project early.

Word broke recently that Billboard has decided to remove the song from from the Hot Country Songs chart, where it had recently appeared inside the Top 20. The decision, we understand, was attributed to “editorial,” and has raised a lot of questions about why a song that’s clearly resonating among young fans of the genre got yanked from the chart.

Sources close to the situation say the Bible’s chart team played the track for a handful of Nashville gatekeepers and asked them to weigh in on whether or not the song was country or not; while that panel returned a mixed verdict, the country community has fully embraced the track—country artists including Florida Georgia Line and Jake Owen have shown social media support, and both country and hip hop festival offers have been coming in.

The fact is that genre and format matter less and less to younger music fans (and most young country fans—and artists—also happen to love hip-hop).

In a statement to Rolling Stone, which ran its own story on the flap, Billboard asserted that “upon further review, it was determined that ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard‘s country charts. 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.”

Really? Then why was it on the chart in the first place?

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