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Well, Buzzfeed Australia (thanks for the header image, by the way) have certainly done a wonderful job of stirring up controversy in Australian music circles. I must give Mark Di Stefano credit for starting this campaign – all complaints to @markdistef.
I thought I would take the opportunity to weigh in with my two cents on the matter, because it’s about time I did.
To be honest, I’ve found the whole thing really funny, and a little bit sad at the same time.
I have not voted on the Hottest 100 for years. Personally, I haven’t listened to Triple J since Adam Spencer and Wil Anderson stopped doing the breakfast show. Not long after that, I spent 6 months working in America – I came back from there and Nova had started up and I was hooked.
However, the discussion of the Triple J Hottest 100 has continued unabated. I have many memories of people commenting in the past few years that the Hottest 100 has been sullied by the influx of people voting for their favourite “mainstream” band/singer that they heard on Triple M or Nova or Kiss FM or whatever.
I’ve heard comment that the “real” Hottest 100 ends around the 50th entry, and after that it’s all the “mainstream voters who don’t know what real music is anyway”.
I think the real question that needs to be asked is – what defines a song that should be one of the hottest 100 songs of 2014? Triple J has said that the song has to have been released AND played at some point during 2014. Well, Shake It Off does fall under this category. It is no worse than Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) and it has to be better than Asshole.
So what if it’s been produced by a poptastic 20-something woman with a massive record label behind her? Kings of Leon had a massive record label behind them when they won with Sex on Fire. Queens of the Stone Age were backed by Interscope Records when they won. So what is the problem with Taylor Swift?
I think a bigger question is where was Triple J when Taylor Swift wasn’t huge? Erin Riley wrote a great article just recently which discussed Taylor Swift gigging at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville in 2009 – a venue with a capacity of less than 1000 people (I could not find out its capacity while I was writing this article but I know it is between 50 and 1000). Admittedly, Triple J does not play a lot of country music during its broadcast hours but the fact remains that one of the most popular recording artists in Australia was not broadcast in Australia.
Now, some might point out that I am in China and I can’t listen to the Hottest 100, so why do I care? The point is a valid one – I am in China and I can’t listen (due to the geo-blocking the ABC has on its radio apps or on China’s fears of what Australian music might say about the rest of the populace here). What I do care about though, is this grossly confected outrage at a non-issue.
I’m probably going to get a lot of hate comments and thoughts following this, but best of luck to the people behind this campaign. If anything, this will probably result in a lot of discussion. I’ll probably lose some Facebook friends and some Twitter followers, but that’s okay.
I think that this clip from Dawson’s Creek really does prove the point about this post I’ve made. Thank you and leave your comments below