“Old Town Road”, first released by Lil Nas X in December 2018 before Billy Ray Cyrus joined in on the remix 4 months later, has just achieved something truly remarkable.
Billboard reported that it is now the highest certified song ever by The Recording Association of America (RIAA), reaching 14-times platinum status in The United States. Translation: “OTR” has sold 14 million copies alone domestically.
Per Billboard: “According to the RIAA, one equivalent song unit is equal to a single digital song sale, or 150 on-demand audio and/or video streams.”
SZA and thousands of Nas’ fans congratulated him when he announced the news on his social media pages on Saturday. “OLD TOWN ROAD IS OFFICIALLY 14 TIMES PLATINUM! MOST PLATINUMS FOR ANY SONG EVER! LETS GOOO!” he captioned his Instagram post.
“OTR” is part of an elite category of songs that have reached diamond status. Others include Elton John‘s “Something About The Way You Look Tonight/Candle In The Wind 1997”, Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance” and Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “Call Me Maybe”.
It was Billboard‘s number one song of 2019 which wasn’t too much of a shock given it spending a whopping 19 weeks in the pole position. In doing so Nas & Billy Ray broke the record that was previously set by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men‘s “One Sweet Day” and Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee‘s “Despacito” which both tied at 17 weeks apiece.
“OTR” also took home a bunch of major honors including Best Direction and Song of the Year at the 2019 VMA’s and Best Pop/Duo Performance and Best Music Video at the 2020 Grammys.
The Georgia native, who came out as gay during Pride Month in 2019, has proven to not be a one hit wonder by releasing many songs since “OTR” like “Panini” and his latest “Holiday”. The track, which references commonly known gay sex positions, has done well for him on streaming platforms. Its music video, which he directed alongside Gibson Hazard, has almost 100 million views so far on YouTube.
Other reporting done by Billboard & Insider.