You might not have heard of Ocean Alley’s winning song Confidence, but it’s been streamed more than 12 million times.
You might not have heard of Ocean Alley’s winning song Confidence, but it’s been streamed more than 12 million times.

The Hottest 100 has always been for young people

THERE are two very different national pastimes that have sprouted around Triple J's Hottest 100.

There's people who hold parties to listen to the countdown together each year, then there's the people who have a personal pity party on their social media moaning about the countdown.

Their complaints basically boil down to the following crucial issues - 'I've never heard this song/artist' and "What's this racket?'

There's a percentage of people who only listen to Triple J once a year - when the Hottest 100 airs. So therefore most of the songs they hear, which have been in heavy rotation on the station all year, will be new to them.

Some use it as an instant education and Shazam songs they like and add new artists to their musical vocabulary. If you grew up with Triple J in the 90s then you'd probably enjoy the DMAs, who sound like Oasis, or acts like Vera Blue or Middle Kids who provide Fleetwood Mac pop flashbacks with their Hottest 100 tunes.

The amount of genres covered, from thrash metal to hip hop, is remarkable. Even Miley Cyrus, Drake, Halsey and Dean Lewis are in there - actual mainstream chart acts.

Others can't deal with the fact the Hottest 100, and pop culture in general has not been freeze-framed in 1998. Triple J is a youth station. Always has been. When it launched as 2JJ in 1975 it played the banned Skyhooks track You Just Like Me 'Cos I'm Good in Bed. The equivalent of that in 2019 is playing songs with titles like Pussy is God and a heck of lot of F bombs.

This year the most common age of voters was 18. More than 60 per cent of those who voted were aged 24 or under. Eighty per cent of voters were under 30.

Some of their parents might not have even been born when Player's Baby Come Back, the song Ocean Alley covered in this year's Hottest 100, was released in 1977.

The 'oldest' Australian band still making the countdown are Adelaide rappers Hilltop Hoods, who mark 20 years since their first album this year. They've now had 19 songs in the Hottest 100 over the year, catching up with record holders Powderfinger and Foo Fighters who have had 22 each.

Don't like Triple J but pine for the days when you used to listen to it? Guess what? There's a station for you. It's called Double J and it's from the makers of Triple J. It's the grown up Triple J, and plays everyone from Nick Cave to Nirvana. And yes, you're paying for it too, but you're also paying for politicians to go to the polo so you can't always get what you want.

 

When Sydney band Ocean Alley won this year's Hottest 100 with their song Confidence many Twitter wags went 'Who?' Well, in answer to your question, Confidence has had over 12 million streams, impressive for any Australian artist, and the win will belatedly put them on the radar of commercial radio, who (while they never admit it) cherry pick from Triple J.

Commercial radio marketers love to tap into the under 24 demographic, especially one passionate about music like Triple J listeners are. Most commercial radio bury their Australian music (which they're legally obliged to play) in late night slots or fill their quota by playing old INXS songs - Triple J go way over their quota and help launch careers that can go global.

And while there's people whining about the Hottest 100, wouldn't you rather be in the camp of people celebrating Australian music - 65 songs out of the 100 were by local acts?

The Hottest 100 directly impacts on the local music industry, from ticket sales to merchandising to streaming sales to radio royalties to being discovered by new fans.

If, shock horror, what today's youth are listening to isn't to your taste, and you have to get grumpy on Twitter to process the fact you may have outgrown the Hottest 100 then Smooth FM is having their Feel Good Favorites Countdown so you can wind down with some Air Supply and Lionel Richie.

Cameron Adams is a News Corp music writer.

@cameron_adams