The Triple J Hottest 100 is always steeped in controversy. Friendships and family ties are tragically torn apart as the debate as to who will the top the countdown continues to rage. But this year, there was only one thing on everybody’s minds and that was Taylor Swift.
Indeed, as most readers will know, the pop superstar was at the centre of a social media campaign spearheaded by viral news outlet BuzzFeed. The campaign was launched with a view to securing Swift a spot in the Hottest 100, despite the fact that her music had never actually been played on Triple J.
While the campaign certainly had its share of supporters and detractors, things became increasingly convoluted after numerous media outlets began issuing conflicting reports about Swift’s eligibility, with News Corp quoting station manager Chris Scaddan as saying that the whole Swift campaign was kosher.
However, things soon went radio silent (no pun intended), with BuzzFeed sharing a reportedly leaked email from Scaddan instructing Triple J employees not to comment on the Swift campaign. Further complicating matters was a KFC promotion that referenced the #Tay4Hottest100 campaign, allegedly a violation of countdown rules.
After much speculation, listeners finally got their answer yesterday. Swift was not included in the countdown, with Triple J explaining their decision to omit the singer’s hit ‘Shake It Off’ from the poll with a mock website dubbed TripleJFeed, which mimics the layout of BuzzFeed.
In a listicle titled ‘8 Hilarious But Totally True Reasons You Won’t Hear “Shake It Off” In The Hottest 100’, the station wrote that BuzzFeed‘s #Tay4Hottest100 campaign bought the singer “a one way ticket to Bansville”, compounded by the KFC promotion.
According to the page, had the station counted the votes, Swift would have come in at number 12 on the countdown — a spot that eventually went to Glass Animals with ‘Gooey’ — and would have knocked Australian rapper Tkay Maidza off the list entirely.
In addition to their reluctance to set a potentially dangerous precedent by allowing Swift a place in the poll, the station wrote that doing so would also make a mockery of the countdown by ‘feeding the trolls’ and also referenced the controversial KFC campaign in the list.
Furthermore, the station echoed the sentiments of many commenters by writing that there are many equally deserving musicians in Australia that voters could support instead of one of the world’s biggest pop stars, who receives significant airplay from commercial radio stations.
However, the station insisted that their decision to not include Swift in the poll was not personal. “To be clear, Triple J doesn’t have beef with Taylor Swift. She’s smart, she’s cool, she’s successful, and she has great taste in BFFs,” they concluded.