Australian Music’s Annus Horribilis: No 2023 Local Releases Make End Of Year ARIA Charts

12 January 2024 | 1:21 pm | Jeff Jenkins

“We are just as frustrated as the rest of the music industry.”

ARIA logo

ARIA logo (Source: Supplied)

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In 2023, one artist conquered an entire nation, and it wasn’t an Australian artist. Not one local artist with a song or album released last year made the end-of-year ARIA charts.

Taylor Swift had 36 Top 40 singles in Australia in 2023. The combined total for every Australian artist was 13.

Only three homegrown hits made the Top 10 for the entire year, and none went to number one – the first time an Aussie act has failed to top the ARIA singles chart since 2017.

Thirteen Taylor Swift songs made the Top 10, with Is It Over Now? spending two weeks at number one.

Six of the 13 Australian Top 40 entries came from just two artists (The Kid LAROI and Troye Sivan had three Top 40 singles each).

The Aussie total was even worse than 2022, when 20 homegrown hits reached the Top 40, and 2021 (23) and 2020 (26).

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Today, ARIA released its Top 100 singles and albums for 2023. Both charts failed to feature a single Australian entry that was actually released in 2023.

The year’s biggest album was 1989 (Taylor’s Version), which spent nine weeks at number one. Taylor Swift dominated, with five of the year’s ten biggest albums and 10 of the Top 50.

2023’s biggest single was Miley CyrusFlowers, which spent 12 weeks at number one.

The top local single was The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber’s Stay, which came in at #36 after being the third biggest song of 2022.

The Top 100 features just two other Aussie entries: Vance Joy’s 2013 single Riptide at #52 and Dean Lewis’ 2022 hit How Do I Say Goodbye at #68.

2022’s Top 100 featured 11 homegrown hits.

2023’s Top 100 features just four Aussie albums (compared to 11 in 2022), led by INXS’s The Very Best – originally released in 2011 – at #58, followed by Tame Impala’s Currents (#76), Spacey Jane’s Here Comes Everybody (87) and The Kid LAROI’s F*ck Love (Over You) (#94).

What was the defining Aussie song of 2023? Arguably, it was Kylie Minogue’s Padam Padam, which has been nominated for a Grammy. But it failed to crack the Top 10, peaking at #19. And it was not one of 2023’s Top 50 biggest radio hits as revealed by The Music before Christmas (Peking Duk & Darren HayesI Want You was the leading local entrant at #19).

Boy George ponders Padam Padam’s lack of airplay in his new autobiography, Karma, and takes a swipe at radio programmers. “How come BBC Radio did not play Padam Padam by Kylie if it’s the public that decides?

“I realise that not every artist can make it to the playlist but don’t pretend there is some intellectual process involved. You are a bunch of c***s.”

Nine Aussie albums reached the summit in 2023 (compared to 13 in 2022 and 14 in 2021).

An alarming trend is the locals’ lack of staying power. When Powderfinger released their breakthrough album, 1996’s Double Allergic, the record company’s mantra was “keep it Top 10 for 10 weeks”, which they achieved.

But these days, most albums debut and then disappear.

No Aussie albums spent longer than one week at number one in 2023, and only two of the local chart-topping albums – Kylie’s Tension and Troye Sivan’s Something To Give Each Other – spent two weeks in the Top 10.

It’s a downward spiral for Aussie acts.

Overall, 46 Australian albums hit the Top 10 in 2023 (down from 56 in 2022, 64 in 2021, and 72 in 2020), and 90 made the Top 40 (down from 97 in 2022, 127 in 2021, and 131 in 2020).

The 2023 nadir for Aussie acts came during a week in July when the combined total of Top 40 singles and albums was Taylor Swift's 26 and Australia's 2.

In November, the score was Swift 25, Australia 6. The Christmas chart was Swift 13, Australia 3, while this week’s scoreboard is Swift 12, Australia 3.

ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd acknowledged the disappointing performance of Aussie acts.

“The 2023 charts tell an all-too-familiar story that we have been very vocal about for the past 24 months: there are simply not enough Australian artists – let alone new Australian artists – breaking through with their home audience,” Herd said in a statement. “We are just as frustrated as the rest of the music industry, and Aussie music lovers, to find only four Australian albums in the top 100 this year and three singles, none of which were released last year.

“It’s frustrating, but the data provided by these charts is an unbiased view of how Australian audiences consume music, and we need to use this data to understand we have a very urgent, very complex problem to solve. We need to address the damaging lack of data about contemporary music. We need more resources to grab the opportunity to become a net export nation. We need a strong financial commitment from Music Australia to ensure our artists have a chance of securing the global fame that they deserve. There is a huge opportunity in increasing streams from the ever-growing global market.”

Herd believes things will improve. “The good news is that we are at a turning point, with renewed support for Ausmusic from the Federal Government and various state governments, the establishment of Music Australia, Sound NSW, and the Centre for Creative Workplaces. We look forward to working with all of these bodies and the broader industry to help connect more Australian artists with fans in 2024, in the hope that we can change the narrative this time next year.”

The first two charts of 2024 have failed to feature a single Australian album in the Top 40.

The upside? Six Aussie artists scored their first chart-topping albums in 2023.

The Aussie albums that topped the charts in 2023

Cub Sport – Jesus At The Gay Bar

Peach PRC – Manic Dream Pixie

The Teskey Brothers – The Winding Way

Kerser – A Gift & A Kers

G Flip – Drummer

Powderfinger – Vulture Street (20th Anniversary Edition)

Polaris – Fatalism

Kylie Minogue – Tension

Troye Sivan – Something To Give Each Other


The Aussie singles that made the Top 10 in 2023

Flume feat MAY-A – Say Nothing (#4)

The Kid LAROI – Love Again (#6)

The Kid LAROI, Jung Kook, Central Cee – Too Much (#10)