A message from TikTok US General Manager, Vanessa Pappas:
"It’s been incredible to watch Old Town Road grow from its start on TikTok in February – as the backbone of an accessible and engaging meme that generated millions of creations and billions of views – to a record-breaking smash hit that has all walks of life listening on repeat. From all of us at TikTok, congratulations to Lil Nas X on your historic accomplishment and thank you for the joy you’ve brought audiences everywhere."
When Lil Nas X uploaded "Old Town Road" to TikTok, no one could have predicted the impact it would have on his life and American pop culture. Then a 19 year old from Atlanta had been promoting his song on several channels with limited success, but it wasn't until the song's catchy drop, TikTok community's reach, and an important meme helped start Old Town Road on its journey to becoming the biggest song of all time. So tack up your horse and put on your matte black boots to take a walk back down with us.
Drink the Yee Yee Juice
In April, TikTok was taken over by a very specific meme. Short videos of people sipping E-Juice, finding out it was Yee Yee Juice, and magically transforming into old west outfits filled the feeds. And behind every transformation, a short clip of "Old Town Road" played. Lil Nas X had attempted to promote his song on other platforms to less enthusiasm, but the combination of country and trap music mixed with the perfectly timed drop made it the ideal sound for a TikTok video. As the videos racked up views and hearts, the song spread. Fans loved the short clip in the meme so much that they found "Old Town Road" on streaming services and pushed it to the Billboard charts.
Lil Nas X himself credits TikTok and its users with helping "Old Town Road" reach the charts. He stopped by TikTok's LA office and spoke about his love for the community. "TikTok helped me change my life," says Nas. "TikTok brought my song to several different audiences at once."
After a brief controversy about the songs genre, Lil Nas X teamed up with Billy Ray Cyrus to make the song's first remix. The new version climbed the Billboard Top 100 where it's stayed as the number one song for 17 weeks as of now. And all because someone drank a little #YeeYeeJuice.
#CowboyGang Goes Down and Past the Old Town Road
After Lil Nas X became a household name, the artist took to his newfound stardom seamlessly. He made a star studded music video, dropped his first EP that included the top 100 song Panini, and performed live for thousands of fans at festivals across the world.
Since the rise of Lil Nas X, "Old Town Road" has moved past it's "Yee-Yee" meme roots and into other types of videos on TikTok. Several well received remixes have sparked newly inspired content including time travelers bringing news of remixes to come, stop motion music videos, and makeup tutorials - including Billy Ray Cyrus, as himself. The song has spread all over TikTok and evolved into an anthem beyond the meme.
Only time will tell how long "Old Town Road" reigns at the top of the charts, but watching Lil Nas X use TikTok to start and continue his journey as a music icon has been a better ride for us than any horse could offer. Here's to making history - congratulations, Lil Nas X!