Last week, the list of Australia’s Top 100 selling albums and singles revealed that consumers were buying up far more homegrown talent, with Aussie bands and artists proving to be a strong presence alongside the usual dominance of international acts, commercial pop, and ‘best of’ compilations.

But the same can’t be said for Australian airwaves, with a list of the year’s most played tracks on commercial radio Down Under demonstrating that playlist makers care little for promoting local bands and instead focussing only on groups and hit-makers that already have an international presence.

That might sound like stating the obvious except for the fact that this time last year Birds Of Tokyo’s signature hit ‘Lanterns’ was the most played Aussie song on radio, going on to become the most spun tune on commercial radio for 2013. Period.

Just 12 Aussies make the cut of the Top 50 most played songs on Australian commercial radio in the first six months of 2014, put together by media monitors AirCheck. 

Tracking broadcasters across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Geelong, and the Central Coast, the Top 50 shows that manufactured pop and dance tracks are getting the most airtime, with some results drastically out of step with the buying habits of the Australian public.

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Though the #1 most played song so far is – understandably – the best-selling single of 2014 thus far: Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ (with 15,917 spins), the first Australian artist doesn’t make an appearance until #7, with Sydney pop-punks 5 Seconds Of Summer’s breakout single ‘She Looks So Perfect’ landing at #7 with 11,474 spins; lagging behind Clean Bandit, Avicii, John Legend, MAGIC!, and American Authors.

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The only other Aussie to make the Top 10 – just 31 plays behind 5 Seconds Of Summer – is Brisbane’s Sheppard, and their multi-platinum independent single ‘Geronimo’, landing at #8 with 11,443 plays – even though it was the third best-selling single of 2014.

Even more out of step is Justice Crew’s ‘Que Sera’ – the fifth-best selling single of the year only managing 7,027 spins at #33 on the Top 50 (just behind fellow pop star Guy Sebastian’s ‘Like A Drum’ at #32 with 7,086 spins).

Three of the year’s biggest international success stories – Adelaide-bred writer-to-the-stars Sia, Australia’s most successful rap export Iggy Azalea – also got middling support from commercial radio in their native country. Sia’s US-storming single Chandelier ranks at #14 with just over 10,000 spins and Iggy Azalea’s Charli XCX-featuring hit ‘Fancy’ lagging at #28 with 7,270 spins – despite its Beatles’ record-matching success in the States.

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Vance Joy’s career-making ‘Riptide’ is still getting major airtime on commercial radio, ranking at #40 with 6,552 spins (following being the 10th most played track in 2013).

Rounding out the Aussie presence in the Top 50 most played list is Joel Fletcher & Savage’s ‘Swing’ (#11), Jessica Mauboy’s ‘Never Be The Same’ (#19), Peking Duk’s Nicole Millar-featuring ‘High’ (#23), and two hits from X Factor singer Taylor Henderson (#46 and #48).

It’s hardly the first time that commercial radio has shown a disappointing lack of support for Australian artists (nor will it likely be the last) but it’s more evidence that while Aussie musicians can find success overseas and the general public are buying more ‘local produce’ in the last 12 months, commercial radio could be doing a lot more.

Top 20 Most Played Songs On Commercial Radio Of 2014 So Far

View the full Top 50 Mid-Year Report at AirCheck (Australian artists in bold)

  1. Pharrell Williams – Happy (15,917 instances)
  2. Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne – Rather Be (13,278)
  3. Avicii – Addicted To You (11,957)
  4. John Legend – All Of Me (11,872)
  5. MAGIC! – Rude (11,529)
  6. American Authors – Best Day Of My Life (11,518)
  7. 5 Seconds Of Summer – She Looks So Perfect (11,474)
  8. Sheppard – Geronimo (11,443)
  9. Sara Bareilles – Brave (11,200)
  10. Aloe Blacc – The Man (10,990)
  11. Joel Fletcher feat. Savage – Swing (10,974)
  12. Kim Cesarion – Undressed (10,965)
  13. Rudimental feat. Emeli Sande & nas – Free (10,703)
  14. Sia – Chandelier (10,535)
  15. Jason DeRulo – Trumpets (10,452)
  16. Calvin Harris – Summer (9,943)
  17. Cash Cash feat. Bebe Rexha – Take Me Home (9,857)
  18. A Great Big World feat. Christina Aguilera – Say Something (9,245)
  19. Jessica Mauboy – Never Be The Same (8,838)
  20. Ed Sheeran – Sing (8,771)

Top 15 Selling Singles Of 2014 So Far

View the full ARIA mid-year Top 100 Singles Chart here.

  1. Pharrell Williams – Happy
  2. A Great Big World feat. Christina Aguilera – Say Something
  3. Sheppard – Geronimo
  4. Clean Bandit feat. jess Glynne – Rather Be
  5. Justice Crew – Que Sera
  6. Joel Fletcher feat. Savage – Swing
  7. John Legend – All Of Me
  8. Sia – Chandelier
  9. Rudimental feat. Emeli Sande & nas – Free
  10. 5 Seconds of Summer – She Looks So Perfect
  11. Sara Bareilles – Brave
  12. Jason Derulo – Trumpets
  13. Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX – Fancy
  14. Peking Duk feat. Nicole Millar – High
  15. Coldplay – Magic

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