Friday, July 17, 2009

Triple J - Hottest 100 of All Time - best decade?

Welcome to the second post, in which we look at release dates of songs in the Hottest 100. Given the youth demographic targeted by JJJ, I was expecting a high proportion of songs in the 00s (especially as we are nearly at the end of the decade), with less and less songs for each preceding decade.

Here's the results by number of songs:

1960-9: 8
1970-9: 11
1980-9: 15
1990-9: 44
2000-9: 22

Here's the weighted results:

1960-9: 7%
1970-9: 10%
1980-9: 16%
1990-9: 50%
2000-9: 17%

Nothing before the 60s - probably not that surprising as material by the Beatles, Stones, Hendrix etc resonates to contemporary listeners in a way that earlier music doesn't.

But the overwhelming dominance of the 90s is surprising - especially as the 00s are only approximately as popular as the 80s. From the 90s back popularity tails off as expected.

Here are a few possible explanations:

1. Better music

Was the music released in the 90s just better than more recent music? The 90s gave us Nirvana, RATM, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, RHCP. (Not to mention Massive Attack, Pearl Jam, Tool.) That's an amazing roster. While some of those artists are still creatively active, their breakthroughs were in the 90s.

Will Bloc Party, Muse, White Stripes, Powderfinger, The Killers (or QoTSA and John Butler) be more or less relevant in ten years time? Without detracting at all from these artists, in my view, with the exception of Muse, the 90s list is far more impressive.

In my next post I'll develop this theme more and look at best artists by decade.

2. JJJ Demographic

Maybe the Triple J demographic is older than I thought. Radio is decidedly old school after all. The youth demographic has media choices that didn't exist 15 years ago.

3. Activism

Maybe listeners who were in their teens and early 20s during the 90s are more active (i.e. more likely to vote) than those currently in that age group.

There are various other permutations. What are your views?

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