At the tail end of each year, Spotify crunch the numbers on what listeners are streaming, and the recent release of 2018’s Year in Music data is quite revealing. What it shows is Australians simply aren’t listening to local music.
The top five most streamed artists by Australian listeners were Drake, Post Malone, Khalid, XXXTENTACION and Ed Sheeran, revealing not only a preference for international acts but a strong disregard for female-identifying and non-binary musicians.
Of the top five most-streamed tracks, Australian outfit 5SOS took out the second spot with ‘Youngblood’, just behind ‘God’s Plan’ by Drake at number one. Post Malone nabbed spots three to five, with ‘Psycho’ feat. Ty Dolla $ign, ‘Better Now’ and ‘I Fall Apart’, respectively. Again, the list draws focus to the gender imbalance the music industry continues to propel.
Of the most-streamed Aussie artists, the top ten features just three acts containing women and absolutely no people of colour. Considering the success artists like Sampa The Great, Baker Boy, Alice Skye and Emily Wurramarra have achieved this year alone, the whitewashed listening habits of Australian listeners is pretty disappointing.
In terms of the female acts that Australian Spotify users are listening to, the top five is again devoid of homegrown talent, consisting of Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Halsey and Rihanna.
Taking into account the accomplishments of musical exports such as Courtney Barnett, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Tropical Fuck Storm and Amyl and the Sniffers, it’s surprising and somewhat disheartening to see so few Australian acts on these lists. In fact, globally, Australia didn’t even make a dent in the data. Over the past few years, there has been a massive swell in local acts finding success both at home and abroad, though apparently we still aren’t paying enough attention to our own backyard.