Economics Decodes ‘Hottest 100’ Musical Tastes


Rock’n’roll dreams do come true in the annual Triple J ‘Hottest 100’; and there is actually quite a bit of potential for economic analysis from it.

This potential was covered in my opinion piece, which ran in the Australian Financial Review (today, Thursday 21 January), titled: “Rock’n’roll the Winner in Triple-J Hottest 100 Count” on p.35. The results of the 2015 poll will be revealed on Tuesday (Australia Day).

For the record, here is the list of 2015 songs I voted for, which shows just how out-of-touch I am with the alt/indie scene nowadays. Here’s hoping that you enjoy the countdown (if, like me, that’s what you’re into).

Art vs Science – Tired of Pretending
Birds of Tokyo – Anchor
Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best
Courtney Barnett – Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party
Meg Mac – Never Be
The Rubens – Hoops
Rudimental – Never Let You Go
Tame Impala – ‘Cause I’m a Man
The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
Zafareli – Withdrawals

Appearance on ‘Stay Tuned’


I appeared on the ABC3 teen-oriented music program Stay Tuned on September 14, discussing fame in the music industry.


Liam Lenten on the teen-music variety show “Stay Tuned” on ABC3 (season 2, episode 17), using elements of his study (with Jordi McKenzie, University of Sydney) on determinants of JJJ Hottest 100 success, to help hosts Joel Phillips and Nicole Singh answer the question: “Who is the Most Famous Person in the Music Industry?”.

Hottest 100 on ‘ABC News Breakfast’


I appeared on ABC News Breakfast again this morning, but not the newspaper segment as previously. Rather, I was discussing my Hottest 100 project (details below), with Paul Kennedy and Melissa Clarke.


Liam Lenten interviewed on ABC1 News Breakfast about his study (with Jordi McKenzie, U Sydney) on voting biases in the Triple J Hottest 100, on the day before the results of the 2011 installment are counted down on the youth radio network.

Shihad (The Economics of Name-Changes)


Above and beyond sport, I also have developed a more recent passion for the economics of cultural and entertainment industries, including movie, television, and especially music. As an example, I am currently building a database of Triple J Hottest 100 songs going back to 1993. More generally, I consider myself a bit of a live music buff.

Anyway, tonight I am seeing Kiwi rockers Shihad at Richmond’s Corner Hotel (World famous in Melbourne). I just love their shtick, and will be up the front near the stage tonight. Economics-wise, they’re worth a mention for an anecdote in which they changed their name…and then later changed back. They were just beginning to try and crack the US-market when the 2001 World Trade Center attack happened. Believing that Shihad’s similar sound to ‘jihad’ would affect their chances of success, they changed their name to ‘Pacifier’ – as lead singer Jonny Toogood once explained why: “…it’s Pacific [Ocean], and it’s fire.” But not even Toogood’s big-time sales pitch convinced their fans – they never quite accepted the name change; and in 2004, the lads reverted back to Shihad, as they have remained since. A cautionary tale of changing the band name, in the spirit of Spinal Tap.