Oliver Anthony may be topping the Billboard charts with his song “Rich Men North of Richmond,” but he’s doing so without radio airplay or help from Spotify’s country music playlists.
As of this writing, “Rich Men North of Richmond” is ranked number 4 on the Spotify Top 50 — USA playlist, which tracks the most-streamed songs on the platform across the country. But taking a glance at Spotify’s dedicated country playlists—the exposure is a different story. Despite still appearing atop the Billboard charts, neither Spotify’s Hot Country nor its New Boots playlist have the song featured anywhere in a list of 100 tracks.
The omission from the New Boots playlist is particularly egregious, since it’s supposed to surface ‘new, hot country music’ for the listener. The video of Oliver Anthony singing the song was released three weeks ago on YouTube and has since racked up 52 million views.
So what gives? Oliver Anthony’s radio airplay traction has been slow, and his appearance on country playlists is virtually nonexistent.
That adds even more insult to injury. Since Oliver Anthony splashed onto the scene, US-based country radio stations have overwhelmingly ignored this artist. Now, Spotify’s playlist editors are doing exactly the same thing, despite the obvious popularity of both the song and singer.
None of that has slowed the Oliver Anthony freight train, which speaks volumes on the power — or lack thereof — of both traditional radio and streaming. Both radio and Spotify are big, influential platforms, but neither has the power to crown a success story — or to prevent one.
Certainly, some disconnects exist between today’s country stars and Oliver Anthony Music, both musically and politically. But there may be another reason for Oliver Anthony getting ghosted by radio and Spotify: the singer has expressed a desire not to have a music career, which suggests a one-hit wonder in the making.
“I don’t want six tour buses, fifteen tractor-trailers, and a jet,” the singer wrote in a Facebook post about his overnight success. “I don’t want to play stadium shows; I don’t want to be in the spotlight. So I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression. These songs have connected with millions of people on such a deep level because they’re being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung.”
Despite the lack of feature in Spotify’s country playlists, the song continues to rise on the Top 50 — USA playlist. It’s possible the song will reach the #1 spot before it begins to lose steam. “I Remember Everything” by Zach Bryan and Kacey Musgraves, “Paint the Town Red” by Doja Cat, and “fukumean” by Gunna” all have more plays than Oliver Anthony’s track, but the song from Appalachia is quickly rising. Earlier, the track surpassed Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” on the playlist on August 31st.