Artists and musicians across Australia campaigned for their music to feature in Channel 7’s broadcasts of the Tokyo 2020 Games. They were heard loud and clear – and now the rest of the nation is hearing them, too.
It all started with an Instagram post.
Aussie singer-songwriter Jack River – real name Holly Rankin – shared an open letter to social media on July 28, calling on “Channel 7 and Corporate Aus” to incorporate music from around the country in their broadcasting.
“How great would it be if you played all Australian music in your coverage of the Olympics? These are Australian moments, they deserve Australian music,” she wrote.
“And while we’re here, how good would it be to hear Aussie music in Coles, Woolies, Aldi, in banks, on hold, in stores, and on ads being shown to Australians for the next few months?!
“We need you more than ever. We wanna be your soundtrack.”
The sentiment was immediately echoed throughout the battered and bruised Australian music industry.
Aussie artists have been dealt blow after blow thanks to COVID-19 restrictions on areas such as interstate and international travel and venue capacities over the last 18 months.
Rankin encouraged her followers to tag Channel 7 and their favourite brands, banks, supermarkets, and even Service NSW to get the message out.
“You know the drill, it only works if we all get involved,” she wrote.
Aussie artists Kita Alexander, whose husband is Australian surfing bronze medallist Owen Wright, and DJ Tigerlily, whose sister Greta Hayes is in the Hockeyroos, backed Rankin on her post, along with fellow artists Lime Cordiale, Vera Blue, Cub Sport, In Hearts Wake, and Jaguar Jonze.
Alex the Astronaut even cheekily hinted that one of her recent singles would fit in the coverage perfectly.
“Hey Channel 7, if you’re thinking (sic) about playing Australian music with the Olympics, I have a song called ‘I Think You’re Great and you can play it is someone wins AND if someone loses to make them feel better. That’s range,” she wrote.
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Since the call-out, responses have begun trickling through from both Channel 7 and “Corporate Aus”.
Arguably the most significant was by Edwina Bartholomew, one of Channel 7’s official Olympic hosts, who commented on Rankin’s Instagram post the next day.
“Hey @jack_river, we have heard your call. We are going to pump up the Aussie music content in the arvos in @7olympics. Send us all your requests.”
She also reposted Rankin’s post and called for further suggestions.
“Hey @jack_river and other Aussie musos, we hear you. I can’t speak for Woolies and Aldi et al but we are going to beef up the Aussie music in the arvos on @7olympics,” she wrote.
In a beautiful show of solidarity, musicians and fans alike have been tagging their favourite Australian artists and songs on Bartholomew’s post and under her comment on Rankin’s post.
Sophie Hopes from Tired Lion said it would “absolutely make my year if this happened”, while The Dreggs said if they were played, they would start training for the Brisbane 2032 Olympics – “Dunno what sport but it’ll be one,” they wrote.
And Channel 7 came good with the promise. Over the weekend, an increased amount of Australian voices and sounds were heard throughout the Olympics coverage.
Channel 9 also got on board, playing all-Australian music on Friday, August 31.
Major retailers and banks have started to make the change as well, thanks to the campaign.
In a statement to youth radio station triple j, Coles confirmed it would be upping the amount of Australian music on its in-store playlist.
“Coles is a proud supporter of Australian music and our Value The Australian Way ad features Australian artists Missy Higgins, Dingo Spender and the current lead singer of Yothu Yindi, Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu,” the statement read.
“We will be adding even more amazing Aussie tracks to Coles Radio next week so tune in and enjoy.”
Bank Australia commented on Rankin’s post, saying it would love for her to “be our soundtrack” and it would “see what we can do”.
On August 1, Rankin took to Instagram again to thank Channel 7 and the committed brand for making the switch.
“From little things. Thanks to all of YOU for getting behind this simple ask that can change the careers of young Australian artists,” she wrote.
She tagged Woolworths, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Telstra, and Optus, inviting them to be involved.
“What could seem like a small change to you can be huge for us.”
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