Billboard pulls Lil Nas X song from country music charts

The viral hit "Old Town Road" debuted on the country charts until Billboard pulled it, deciding it was not country enough, and sparked a backlash among fans.
4:53 | 03/29/19

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Transcript for Billboard pulls Lil Nas X song from country music charts
We are back now with the song that's a little bit country but apparently not enough. The viral hit "Old town road" by lil nas X debuting on the billboard country charts until billboard pulled it deciding it wasn't country enough. That's not striking a good chord with a lot of fans out there and ABC's Chris Connelly is here with more. Good morning, Chris. Good morning, Michael. You know, some concerns being raised about what determines whether a track qualifies as a country song and how limiting that definition might be. ��� I got the horses in the back ��� Reporter: When is a song that's been played on country radio suddenly judged to be not a country song? When it's this song. ��� Riding on a horse ha duking with your horse I been in a valley you ain't been up off that horse now ��� Reporter: "Hold town road" from lil nas X kicked up some outrage along with its boot heels after getting taken off the billboard country chart with a boost from a megainfluencer named Justin Bieber, it tore through the outlock tiktok and the 19-year-old Atlanta native had a full-fledged viral hit. It got popular so fast it didn't have an official release so radio deejays were ripping the song from YouTube to play on the airwaves. Reporter: It found a quick foothold on three different charts, the hot 100, hip-hop and r&b and hot country songs where it hit number 18, not for long, though, with billboard 86'ing it off declaring while old town road incorporates references to country and cowboy images it does not embrace enough elements of today's country music to chart in its current version. That decision earned one big hmm with some wondering were those elements its sound, its tone or something else? ������ some recall reports in 2016 that Beyonce's "Daddy lessons" had been denied a country nomination after the committee rejected the song. Social media saw some sharp comments on "Old town road's" behalf. Megan linsey, it's got plenty of country elms and is as country as anything on country radio. Billboard saying their decision to take it off the chart had absolutely nothing to do with the race of the artist. Lil nas X's own response. Just because old town road has funny lines doesn't mean it's parody. It has a theme. Anybody with ears can tell I put some kind of effort into that song. And there are, of course, successful African-American artists in country music. Not about that. Some of us remember the days when prince couldn't get played on rock radio so it's about some fans hoping that all genres not be so restrictive, let's face it, being open to new sounds, new influence can be good for any kind of music. Michael. Thank you so much, Chris. Bobby bones is the host of the nationally syndicated Bobby bones show and one of the most powerful and respected people in country music has joined us. Get right to it. Is this a country song? Yeah, why not. I think country music -- it's always about the message, you know, I listened to the song. I like the song, I play the song on my show. Here's what it comes down to. There are traditionalists in all formats that always want to keep the format traditional and happens in a lot of country music. I don't think it's about the race. There are songs that like Sam hunt had a song breakup in a small town where he talks through the song. I had to hear the same thing about that's not country. The one thing that is constant with country or any format is that it's changing and the other constant is people are always going to complain it's changing so I'm totally cool with it being a country song. You've seen Nelly cross over. Music is all blending together but what exactly makes something a country song? The message, I'm telling you, it's really the message and authenticity of it. You know, I think people look at lil nas X as is he a rapper? Regardless of, you know, what the message is about because all the instrumentation in the song is instruments that use contemporary country music so I believe it where they go it is doesn't sound like country. All of this other stuff is in country music. Is he a rapper? That's unfair. If he says 'a country artist let the consumer decide and play it on my show and see if people get upset or like it. When it was playing in the back I was watching everyone bop their head to it. And we're also in a time too where they want to put genres in boxes and that just isn't happening so much anymore. So if you say you're country and your message is country, then you're country to me. Well, you know what, you're going to stick around and help us out later. I agree, Amy, Cecilia are over there dancing and bopping to it, I'm all in. That's country to me. Stick around and we'll talk

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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