The Whitest 100

Australian music doesn’t have a race or gender representation problem, but… let’s just say its extremely apt the Hottest 100 is presented on Australia Day. Of the 23 winners, three have female vocals, two of which are backing or cameo. Only four of the winning lineups have women in them in any role. Every single winner is white.

Hottest 100 winners

1993: Dennis Leary
1994: The Cranberries
1995: Oasis
1996: Spiderbait
1997: The Whitlams
1998: The Offspring
1999: Powderfinger
2000: Powderfinger
2001: Alex LLoyd
2002: Queens of the Stone Age
2003: Jet
2004: Franz Ferdinand

2005: Bernard Fanning
2006: Augie March
2007: Muse
2008: Kings of Leon
2009: Mumford & Sons
2010: Angus & Julia Stone
2011: Gotye
2012: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
2013: Vance Joy
2014: Chet Faker
2015: The Rubens

Acts with Female Members

Acts without Female Members

Note, that this is not a representation of the actual number of women contained within the winners list. There was a good breakdown presented by Junkee last year indicating that approximately 5% of people on the list are female.

Put it another way; if you're a female vocalist, you've got about as much chance of winning the hottest 100 as Bernard Fanning, one single individual man.

Bernard's won three times; 1999 and 2000 as the singer of Powderfinger's These Days and My Happiness, and then in 2005 for his solo effort on Wish You Well. Female singers have won in 1993 with the Cranberries Zombie, Angus & Julia Stone in 2010 with Big Jet Plane, and Gotye (featuring Kimbra) in 2011's Somebody That I Used to Know.

Some will look at this data and argue that women are adequately represented based on any number of things; Triple J's playlist, the quality of the music, the general representation of women in the music industry. They may even point to Adele and Taylor Swift as the highest selling artists of the last two years. Some may say "get over it, it's just a music poll". But, the lack of representation within the winners list simply furthers these fatuous and odius arguments, and says to women everywhere that they are not going to be successful in making music. That men's music is better, more deserving of critical and popular acclaim.

The Hottest 100 was a cultural touchstone for our youth; its longevity creates an historical document, a reference point by which we understand the music of our time. Five percent women members of the countdown, then, cannot possibly be enough. To be generous to Triple J, 17% of winners with women in their lineups is still not enough.

Triple J needs to institute a playlist quota and work towards equal representation. It failed last year; to wait another twelve months would be a damning indictment of the organisation.

Oh, and before we forget:

Hottest 100 Winners by Ethnicity