Aussie Musicians Receive Strong Album Sales In 2012 But Singles Performed Poorly
ARIA has this morning revealed its Top 100 list of the highest selling singles and albums for 2012, and while its the kind of list typically dominated by commercial mainstream and pop acts, there’s some healthy statistics to be gleaned showing that the selling power of Australian acts is still relatively healthy.
“It’s been a fantastic year on the ARIA Charts, where we’ve been introduced to new artists, both local and international, along with some exciting new music,” remarked ARIA CEO Dan Rosen of the highest selling lists.
“Our Australian artists performed exceptionally well this year on the Charts, in particular Guy Sebastian, Missy Higgins, The Temper Trap, Justice Crew, Karise Eden, Reece Mastin and Hilltop Hoods, who all had #1’s. After such a great year, I look forward to what lies ahead on the ARIA Charts in 2013,” says Mr Rosen
Beginning with the Top 100 Albums Chart, Australian artists represented 27% of the total list, which was topped by Pink’s The Truth About Love, which represents the second time in three years the American entertainer has achieved such a feat.
One Direction came in at #2 with sales exceeding three times platinum, while Adele’s 21 took out the bronze position. The first Australian showing comes from the winner of The Voice, Karise Eden, coming in at #6 (just behind popular UK singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and his album +) with her double platinum selling album My Journey.
Fellow reality television contest alumni Guy Sebastian also featured in the Top 10, achieving double platinum sales with Armageddon at #9. Hilltop Hoods trailed behind at #13 with Drinking From The Sun, while the soundtrack to independent Australian movie The Sapphires proved its longevity at #15.
Melbourne hip hop superstar 360 came in at #17 with the critically and commercially lauded Falling & Flying, with Keith Urban ranking next at #19 with The Story So Far, making for six Aussie artists earning albums in the Top 20 list.
The upper reaches of the list also featured popular international successes like The Black Keys (at #11 with El Camino), Mumford & Sons (#12 Babel), Lana Del Rey (#14 Born To Die), and Florence + The Machine (#16 Ceremonials), but sitting just outside the Top 20 was The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle, Missy Higgins’ comeback album, ensuring her enduring popularity with the Australian public.
Two more popular Aussie acts The Temper Trap and Gotye, who acted as successful ambassadors overseas in 2012 as well as scooping the ARIAs back home, had their respective sophomore efforts – The Temper Trap and Making Mirrors - come in at #33 and #39 respectively.
Australia’s other huge international success story, Tame Impala and the strong presence and dominance of their second album Lonerism, ( which conquered the the hearts and ears of the Tone Deaf audience in our Readers Poll) was only meagrely reflected by the record-buying public, scraping in at #94.
The likes of Cold Chisel, Boy & Bear, and Delta Goodrem fell just inside the Top 50 (at #44 – #46 respectively), while slightly further down the rank came rising rock outfit The Rubens, with their self-titled debut claiming the #56 slot, while Sydney beat-maker Flume’s own eponymous record was close behind at #57.
Angus Stone’s folk stylings earned him the #67 position with his solo album Broken Brights, Parkway Drive’s Atlas - which recently earned Gold status sales – ranked at #83, The Presets’ third album Pacifica at #96.
Classic acts also proved popular, including The Seekers (#56 The Golden Jubilee Album), Crowded House (#90 The Very Best Of Crowded House), a second showing from Cold Chisel (#76 No Plans), and AC/DC’s first live album in 20 Years, Live At River Plate came in at #81.
Rounding out the remaining list are Hillsong Live’s Cornerstone compilation (at #85) and a number of pop reality TV acts, including Samantha Jade (#59), Darren Percival (#91), and two albums from Reece Mastin (#54 & #69).
While the album representation was strong from Australian acts, making up more than a quarter of the Top 100 list, singles-wise, Australians were less successful, with a paltry 11 acts featured, which rather depressingly is two more acts than in 2011.
The coveted #1 spot went to Canadian pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen and her global hit ‘Call Me Maybe’, staving off Korean Youtube phenomenon ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy, both singles that sold close to nine times platinum during the last twelve months.
Gotye’s world-conquering ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ however, curiously flagged in the rankings. Despite the ubiquitous duet with Kimbra being named the highest selling single in America and UK, it came in at just #40 on Australia’s own chart.
Guy Sebastian instead flew the flag for Australia, landing in the #3 with his Lupe Fiasco featuring track ‘Battle Scars’, while Justice Crew joined Sebastian in the Top 10 at #7 with their former #1 hit ‘Boom Boom’. Matt Corby’s Into The Flame EP qualified as a single release, which off the back of the inescapable ‘Brother’ was catapulted to #13.
360′s ‘Boys Like You’ featuring Gossling landed just inside the top quarter of the list at #23, while fellow hip hop icons Hilltop Hoods and their own Sia featuring hit ‘I Love It’ complemented at #66. Pop songstress Delta Goodrem’s ‘Sitting On Top Of The World’ – best known as the track that ‘liberally borrowed’ from Arcade Fire’s ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ – clocked in at #49; while fellow pop performers Samantha Jade and Timomatic charted with their own singles at #74 and #83 respectively.
The singles chart rather accurately reflects a number of things about the Australian buying public, while many are perhaps turning to the popular streaming services like Spotify to get their singles fix, as shown in ARIA’s recently launched streaming singles chart. Those that are still paying for individual songs and downloads are perhaps strongly influenced by the tastes and trends of commercial radio.
Chiefly because the statistics reflect the rather disastrous lack of Australian presence on the recent poll of the 100 most played songs on mainstream radio.
The results from last December of the Music Network’s Hot 100, which annually polls commercial radio to list the most heard songs on Australian airwaves, demonstrated that mainstream broadcasters are failing dismally at supporting local talent, showing they’re not getting the much-needed exposure and support they need.
Luckily, community radio is more than picking up the slack, particularly given the crucial contribution of the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (AMPRAP). Since its launch in 2008 over 4.4 million Australians have tuned into community radio every week, and AMRAP has helped facilitate a 5% lift in Australian music airplay on community radio nationally, bringing the average up to 37%.
Though it was staring down the barrel of oblivion due to lack of funding, luckily, AMRAP has ensured its survival for the time being with a financial injection of $250,000 from the federal government, less than a week before it was due to run completely out of funding.
For the full Top 100 lists, head to the next page.