Music is consistently changing and in times of great change who is to say where the line is drawn for specific genres? That “who” is Billboard. The company decided to remove singer Lil Nas X’s country rap hit “Old Town Road” from the country charts because the song was not, “embracing enough elements of today’s country music in its current version.”
Billboard released a statement to Rolling Stones regarding the situation. They stated, “Billboard offers category-specific charts simply as a tool for people in the music business to better gauge the success of songs relative to others in a given format. We are often times faced with difficult categorization choices.”
The statement continued, “Determining which chart a song lives on is an ongoing process that depends on a number of factors, most notably the song’s musical composition, but also how the song is marketed and promoted, the musical history of the artist, airplay the song receives and how the song is platformed on streaming services.”
After the removal of the song, Billboard received widespread criticism. Billy Ray Cyrus was among those that supported Lil Nas X’s song. He took to Twitter to defend the young artiste. He stated, “it was so obvious to me after hearing the song just one time, I was thinking, what’s not country about it?”
Since the songs release, Cyrus decided to collaborate with Lil Nas X and remix “Old Town Road.”
Minnesota State University Student Jordan Laak stated, “bringing in Billy Rae Cyrus because it [the song] was a great move because Cyrus was once considered not country enough for country.”
After Cyrus hoped on board for the unconventional country song, According to The New Yorker, Billboard seemed to backtrack and suggested it might reconsider its decision and make “Old Town Road” eligible on the country chart again.
MNSU student Kolby Spomer stated, “I think it all depends on what happens to other hybrids. Do Drake songs like “Passion Fruit” chart on hip hop or RNB? Do rap rock songs mad by 21 Pilots chart on both rock and rap?”
This is a valid question. As music continues to take new forms and new artistes appear, will music genres broaden or become stricter? Only time will tell.
Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.