Chris Molanphy is a columnist for
WORLD WIDE 'til I Can't No More: How Technology and Internet Culture Built “Old Town Road”
Chapter 6 considers how technology and internet culture built a foundation for Lil Nas X's success. The interplay of music and technology comes in two varieties: the medium and the marketing. As essential as technology is to the form music takes, the ways it promotes and socializes music consumption—the conversation around the music—may be even more vital. From the MP3 to the ringtone, Myspace to YouTube, new technologies have had an impact on chart success. In the case of “Old Town Road,” a combination of a popular video game, the rise of a Black-cowboy internet trend, and the launch of TikTok all fused to make the song the ultimate musical meme.