* UPDATE * After receiving new info and clarification from party representatives, it’s clear now that, despite the speculated legality and infringement issues, a lawsuit was never formally filed against either Young Kio or Lil Nas X and that, “Lil Nas X formed a new licensing agreement with Sony after he was signed and before the song blew up which included a deal with Trent Reznor who is credited on the track.”
Rolling Stone was among the first to report on the Lil Nas X, Billboard Country Charts controversy, now it has another “Old Town Road” revelation – the chart-topping rapper is being sued for not clearing the banjo sample from a Nine Inch Nails track on the beat he bought for $30 on the BeatStars marketplace.
Rightfully so, the magazine comments that it is all part of the story that, “Lil Nas X was able to put together a chart-smashing song for less than the price of a tank of gas is a perfect testament that the traditional structure of the music business has blown apart.”
BeatStars, where Lil Nas X picked up a beat uploaded by a Dutch teen that goes under the name of Young Kio, makes it possible for artists to exchange ideas and samples without ever getting into the studio together. An artist or dozens of them can pick up a beat there for a small price and use it at will.
Of course, there wouldn’t have been a problem for Lil Nas X if “Old Town Road” would have gone the way of anonymity, after all, “34 Ghosts IV” was a track that Nine Inch Nails released under a Creative Commons license. But the CC license does not cover sharing and remixing for commercial purposes.
Yet, so far, there has been no formal reaction from Trent Reznor…or was there? Digital Music News speculates that since Lil Nas X is now signed to Sony Music, and there is involvement from the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus, the thing might already be settled, as Trent Reznor is already credited on the track.
While Lil Nas X might possibly be in the clear, it still leaves open the question of sample marketplaces like BeatStars… To be continued.