ARIA’s artists of the decade revealed
It was the most unlikely art pop song to put Australian artists back on the global charts, hitting No. 1 in the US, UK over 20 other countries.
And Somebody That I Used To Know was so phenomenally successful in 2011 and 2012 it has made its maker Gotye the ARIA Chart Australian Artist of the Decade.
The song became the first viral Australian hit nine years ago as the download era kicked into high gear, YouTube became the new MTV and social media and streaming were on the rise.
Its stop-motion video, directed by filmmaker Natasha Pincus and featuring Gotye and his duet partner Kimbra being body painted while singing the heartbreak anthem, went viral when actor Ashton Kutcher shared it with his millions of followers.
Nine years after it dropped, it has more than 1.3 billion You Tube views, sold more than 13 million downloads, generated hundreds of memes and cover versions, and remains relevant now courtesy of streaming with more than a billion hits across Spotify, Apple Music and the other sites.
Its phenomenal success has also afforded its meticulous creator, known as Wally de Backer to his family, the luxury of time to work on his fourth record, the follow-up to 2011's chart-topping Making Mirrors.
"Sincere thanks to everyone who has listened to and supported my music over the years. In some ways it feels like Somebody That I Used To Know and Making Mirrors came out more than a decade ago," de Backer said.
"And for anyone who's wondering - yes, the follow-up album will be released in the next decade. Probably."
The Melbourne musician has been based in New York for over five years, and has branched out into record labels, film soundtrack work and working with his other band The Basics.
"The success of the last record makes all the projects for me possible, that's the best thing about it," he told News Corp in 2017.
"It's one of the things I'm most grateful for, the success of that song in particular."
It is of absolutely no surprise that British musician Ed Sheeran is the ARIA Chart International Artist of the Decade.
From humble beginnings growing an audience with showcases in small clubs in Sydney and Melbourne to breaking Australian touring records, the ubiquitous chart slayer and playlist dominator finished the decade with three singles and three albums in the top 10 of the ARIA End of Decade charts.
Sheeran topped the singles chart with his 2017 hit Shape of You, which has sold over 980,000 copies in Australia and spent 15 weeks at No. 1, with ballads Thinking Out Loud at No. 6 and Perfect at No.8.
But Sheeran didn't top the album charts. That title belongs to fellow Brit Adele with her second album 21 at No. 1 with her follow-up record 25 at No. 3 bookending Michael Buble's Christmas at No.2.
21 and Christmas both joined the rare club of albums that have sold over 1 million copies in Australia.
Australia's Top 10 albums of the decade include more multiples - as well as Adele's two placings, Sheeran scored three albums, Pink had two, with Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift rounding out the list.
ARIA also broke down the end of decade numbers for Australian releases, with Gotye at the top on the singles charts followed by Vance Joy's Riptide and Guy Sebastian and Lupe Fiasco's hit Battle Scars.
The Very Best of INXS topped the Australian end of decade album chart.
While the band quit touring in 2012, the plethora of mini-series and documentaries about the Never Tear Us Apart legends have kept them on the chart ever since.
Released in 2011, the compilation has now clocked up a remarkable 345 weeks on the ARIA chart, selling close to half a million copies.
"We left Perth as tenacious young men looking to play our music to the world, and we did so with passion, honour, and pride for our country and families. The announcement of being the biggest selling Australian artist of the last decade is overwhelming, and we are truly humbled, thank you," the band shared in a statement.
"Our hearts go out to all Australians who rallied around us this last decade, and our hope and prayers are with all Australians presently caught up in these raging and horrific fires."
Australian success story Tones And I was just kept out of finishing the year on top of the 2019 singles chart, with Lil Nas X claiming No. 1 with Old Town Road, while teen game-changer Billie Eilish scored the biggest selling album of 2019 with her debut When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, which spent seven weeks at No.1.
ARIA CEO Dan Rosen said the achievements of Gotye at the beginning of the decade and Tones And I at the end of it demonstrate just how influential streaming and social media have been in launching Australian artists onto the global charts.
"Somebody That I Used To Know really heralded a new era of Australian artists who broke on the world stage because it wasn't the traditional rock songs we were known for," he said.
"It was a quirky pop song written by a genius with a great video that went No. 1 worldwide without Wally having to leave the country like INXS or Men At Work had to do back in the day.
"The tyranny of distance was broken down by the new technologies. But for all of that, it really does come down to having a great song."
While Melbourne's Tones And I has broken ARIA records with her global hit Dance Monkey spending 22 weeks at No. 1, the song only registers at No. 79 on the end of the decade single chart.
The song has now sold 500,000 copies in Australia - beaten last year by Lil Nas X's Old Town Road on 700,000 sales.
Unlike songs released earlier in the decade which were sold first via CD single, then iTunes download, sales are now predominantly calculated via streaming from platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.
Since 2017 streaming has counted for the ARIA singles chart, with 175 streams of a song counting as one sale.