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How a grassroots music movement created real change in the media landscape

Updated: May 17, 2022

Whether you cast your vote for the Triple J Hottest 100, or looked at the shortlist with a stunned perplexity, rattling off all of the artists you didn’t even know existed – It’s no secret that the tagline of Triple J certainly has one thing right. Australians LOVE music.

But how much of it do we see amongst our current media landscape?

Can you remember the last time you walked into a supermarket, a chemist, or a sporting match with anything other than Maroon 5 or Happy by Pharrell Williams playing?

Now look, I love Happy as much as the next person – Although it does raise an interesting tension point for the Australian music industry as a whole.

It’s a topic I’ve followed over the last few months and it might be the good ol frequency illusion in full effect, but as soon as I became aware of the situation I started noticing some themes bubbling around the mainstream.

I’ll keep this nice and simple. I’ll even keep the dividers here on theme with one of the few music terms I remember from high school – A Call and Response!

There was call from the music industry during the 2021 Olympics.

And there’s been a response from Australian industries since then.

Let’s dive in shall we?

1. The Call To Action.

Let’s take a quick rewind to the 2021 Summer Olympics, where this movement began.

Aussie Artist Jack River noticed that Channel 7 hadn’t been playing much Australian Music throughout the Olympics. She put out an Instagram post with a call to action.

How great would it be if you played all Australian Music in your coverage…These are Australian moments that deserve Australian music. While we’re at it, how good would it be to hear Aussie music in Coles, Woolies, Aldi, on Hold etc etc.

We need you more than ever. We want to be your soundtrack”

To put it mildly, this post absolutely blew up across the mainstream press. Outlets were jumping on board and Channel 7 even created a post prompting fans to tag their favorite Australian acts which they would then play on air, across the remaining Olympic coverage.

Off the back of this, an initiative was created – “Our Soundtrack, Our Stories”. It was an open invitation to any organizations, businesses or individuals to do their part in consuming and sharing homegrown artists. With COVID absolutely decimating the live entertainment sector, it seemed like an easy win to jump on board!

So. Who has?

2. The Response

And here we land at the response. Which brands have jumped on board? How have they gone about integrating homegrown music into their messaging? Menulog Menulog have created a full blown evolution of their infamous Snoop Rap Ad! The new campaign titled “Everyone Delivers Differently” now features a suite of homegrown artists including Baker Boy & Big Twisty. Menulog worked closely with Mushroom Group on this campaign, who lay claim to one of the largest independent music companies in Australia. Matt Gudinski (Chief Executive of Mushroom Group) mentions “At a time when Australian Artists are struggling, it’s great to see a brand willing to support the local music industry” and it’s no surprise that Menulog have considered this just an initial step in its ongoing plans with Mushroom Group. For those who haven’t seen it, you can check out the video here - Jimmy Brings Jimmy Brings have also jumped into the music fray in a campaign titled ‘Get Jimmy’. The campaign is a celebration and support of homegrown music amidst the struggles COVID brought to the industry. What better way to celebrate the summer than to create an Aussie anthem featuring an ensemble of Aussie artists! Jesikah Boatfield, head of marketing from Jimmy Brings mentions “Get Jimmy is our toast to start the summer of fun that Aussies deserve, it’s also a big cheers to the Aussie artists who have been under pressure from lockdowns” And Jesikah couldn’t be more right! You can check out the video here

So. Are we starting to see the trend? A lovely response from a few brands don’t you think!

I won’t deep dive into every single campaign I’ve seen, although here are a few other honorable mentions that I’ve come across to help paint the wider picture:

Google Pixel with Genesis Owusu

Dominos Cheese Toastie Crust with Polish Club

3. Encore / Parting Thoughts

I guess at the crux of this is a cultural shift.

In recent eras, perhaps the association with artists to align with brands was akin to water and oil – It was seen as “Selling Out”. However like many other societal conventions, COVID has challenged our way of thinking. It’s made us prod and poke at norms, questioning why they were ever like that in the first place.

We see now, Australians not only rallying behind local music representation in our media but also being proud of artists when we do see them working with brands.

So! Maybe after The Hottest 100, spend a bit of time going through the shortlist of acts you have or have never heard of! My money is on a few friendly faces making their way into your television sets throughout 2022…

OH! And I wrote this on Friday but my money was ALSO on The Wiggles to take out #1.



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Jack River Instagram Post -

Our Soundtrack Our Stories Coverage -

Menulog Section -

Jimmy Brings Section -

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