Marketable Memes

How Lil Nas X rose to fame

Behind the perfect inflection point of internet culture and a changing music industry.

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The chart-topping, record-breaking "Old Town Road" started off as a Young Kio instrumental for sale on BeatStars.

Beat marketplaces like this and the more exclusive TrakTrain have slowly cut labels out of the equation, directly connecting emerging artists like Lil Nas X and experienced producers.

Lil Nas X was once a professional meme creator which influenced not only the song's promotion but its lyrics too. The "Yeehaw Agenda" of the moment made its way to TikTok with the Atlanta rapper in tow.

The Yeehaw Challenge took off on TikTok in March 2019, breathing new life into the song and providing massive amounts of free publicity — for him and the app.