If your radio is not tuned to Triple J for the Hottest 100 on Australia Day then you are not doing it right. (And you’re probably not a true Aussie.)
The annual music poll based on the votes of listeners is in its 26th year, a special one for the Js as it’s also the station’s 40th anniversary (yeah, really!).
But a hashtag campaign encouraging ‘fans’ to vote for Taylor Swift’s single Shake It Off by using the hashtag #Tay4Hottest100 has hijacked the Hottest 100 countdown this year.
A social media “hypometer” developed by Queensland University researchers, Katie Prowd and Darryl Woodford, shows that Taylor Swift has received nearly 10 times as many mentions in Hottest 100 posts as all the others combined, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
The campaign has had extensive media coverage and Triple J diehards have complained that the 2014 Hottest 100 has become all about the American pop star at the expense of other musicians.
Taylor Swift’s name is not even listed on the Triple J Hottest 100 voting page, nor included in Triple J’s list of the 2000-plus songs played in 2014 that voters had to choose from. However, voters are entitled and able to vote for tracks that do not appear in Hottest 100 voting lists.
Previous artists including Alanis Morissette, Green Day, U2 and the Foo Fighters have had songs featured in past Hottest 100 rankings despite not actually getting airtime on the station.
The rules of Triple J Hottest 100 state: “Play fair! Triple J reserves the right to remove artists from the list who have benefited from competitions or commercial campaigns that incentivise fans to vote for them.”
There is confusion as to whether or not the rule applies, as the initiative is apparently not commercial or a competition. Rather, reminiscent of the successful UK campaign to have Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name thwart 2009’s X Factor winner taking the coveted Christmas #1 title, it is a social media protest by those who believe the iconic station has lost its indy edge and become too mainstream (and of course, some people just find it funny).
The hashtag campaign was in fact spearheaded by former Triple J newsreader Mark Di Stefano with his BuzzFeed article titled: ‘Why Isn’t Everyone Voting For ‘Shake It Off’ In The Hottest 100?’
The ABC, the youth network’s parent organisation, is yet to completely clear up the confusion.
Australian artists Faker with Talk is Cheap and 1998 and Peking Duk with High are currently competing for the top spot, according to punters and bookies. Other Australians expected to be in the top 10 include Hilltop Hoods with Cosby Sweater and Sia with Chandelier.
There is no denying the catchiness of Shake It Off. This group of Australian boys made it their theme tune for their holiday in the United States. You’ve just gotta watch their awesome rendition.
Top image: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images