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tmn charts Chart Analysis June 15, 2019

How globetrotting Lil Nas X broke Australia with ‘Old Town Road’

Former Assistant Editor
How globetrotting Lil Nas X broke Australia with ‘Old Town Road’

‘Old Town Road’ is sending a powerful message to the music industry in 2019, with seemingly no chart or streaming record safe from the wrath of Lil Nas X.

The genre-defining hit has just cracked the Top 10 on the TMN Hot 100, ten weeks after it first appeared. But will topple bonafide hitmakers Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, P!NK and the Jonas Brothers?

Over on the ARIA Singles Chart, ‘Old Town Road’ has now spent eight weeks at #1, and has driven radio airplay in Australia in a similar manner to the US.

‘Old Town Road’ is a Juggernaut in the US

Stateside, the country-infused hip hop ditty has just become the longest serving track at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (ten consecutive weeks) since Drake’s 2018 hit ‘In My Feelings’, thanks in large part to its massive streaming numbers.

Lil Nas X is in good company too, joining Mark Ronson and Flo Rida to hit double digits at the official streaming, airplay and sales chart. ‘Old Town Road’ also broke Drake’s all-time US streaming record for a single week with 143 million streams.

Key to the song’s rise has been the 19-year-old rapper’s ability to keep the song relevant, and at the forefront of the public consciousness.

What started out as an independent release in December 2018 and gained viral popularity on social app Tik Tok, has since become a global phenomenon.

A remix starring country music legend Billy Ray Cyrus was released in April this year, and it came with a truly meme-worthy music video. For all of Cyrus’ American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and Grammy nominations, this was the first time he summited the Billboard Hot 100.

In the short space of 10 weeks, Cyrus has spent more than triple the amount of time at the Billboard Hot 100 summit than popstar daughter Miley.

Not even Billboard’s decision to expel the song from its Hot Country Songs chart seemed to slow its progression (it reached #19 on the chart in March).

If anything, that decision may have given the track even more stamina; it was again on the tip of the tongue of those in the industry trying to explain its success.

As of the week commencing June 10, ‘Old Town Road’ is at #2 on the UK sales charts, but midweek data suggests could return to #1 next week.

Closer to home

The Nova Network was early to champion the track, with sizable spin counts recorded from early April. Last week (June 13) Nova upped spins even higher.

Other Aussie stations were a bit slower to hit the ‘Old Town Road’, perhaps not seeing past its novelty value. But last week, that shifted.

The Hit Network’s two AC/Hot AC stations – 2DayFM and Hit107 – just significantly upped the song’s rotation, while the remainder of the Hit Network’s metro stations continued steady and growing support.

When it comes to streaming, the song followed a similar path in Australia when compared with the US.

The track first impacted the Shazam Australia Weekly Chart at the end of February. On March 21 ‘Old Town Road’ debuted on the local LyricFind, Spotify and Apple Music charts.

Lil Nas X sits at #3 on the Spotify AU Chart and #2 on the Apple Music Chart (as of June 13), showing that the streaming sensation is continuing to track well on the major DSPs.

In early April the original version of the track broke the TMN Urban Chart, but it wasn’t until Cyrus featured on the remix that it cracked the TMN Hot 100 (April 11).

‘Old Town Road’ is ready to peak Down Under

Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber’s ‘I Don’t Care’ occupies the top spot as it stands, but the longevity of Jonas Brothers’ ‘Sucker’ (15 weeks on the chart), and the return of Katy Perry with ‘Never Really Over’ (up to #3 in its second week) will prove stiff competition.

On top of that, Taylor Swift’s new single ‘You Need To Calm Down’ is set to join the skirmish.

But having conquered all who came before both Stateside and in the UK, Lil Nas X could yet prove to be up for the challenge Down Under.

View the TMN Hot 100 in full here.


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