Back to the 90s: Radio’s big plan to lure listeners
Remember when "golden oldies" meant the classic hits of the 50s and 60?
Now it's the throwback, with playlists dedicated to the hits of the 80s, 90s, and even the 00s, flooding radio airwaves and streaming platforms.
The NOVA Network launched their Throwback Thursday programming in late April as work-from-home listeners got a craving for nostalgia and Spotify reported a 54 per cent in retro playlists with songs from the 50s to 80s.
Increased spins and streams of not-so-guilty pleasures have pushed throwbacks back into the Music Network's Hot 100 Airplay chart over the past couple of months.
Among the most played have been 80s anthems Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears for Fears and Simple Minds' Don't You (Forget About Me), 90s pop gems Dreams by The Cranberries, Baby One More Time by Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys' I Want It That Way, and 00s "classics" including Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling, The Killers' Mr Brightside and King of Leon's Sex On Fire.
Even Adele's Rolling In The Deeps sneaks onto the retro playlists despite being only 10 years old.
The radio network will boost their musical nostalgia trip on Fridays, partnering with wildly popular "time-travelling" DJ Tom Loud for the Hot Dub Time Machine with NOVA set.
Loud's show chronically rocks through the decades and has grown beyond sold-out theatre tours to the world's biggest festivals and his Hot Dub Wine Machine tour of Australian vineyards.
NOVA Entertainment Chief Programming and Marketing Officer Paul Jackson said a downturn in new pop releases and switch in listening behaviour to favour throwbacks has motivated the programming shift.
And it's happening across all demographics, not just the traditional listeners of golden oldies stations.
"At the moment, the demand is switching towards nostalgia. Younger people who go to the Hot Dub shows want to hear the throwbacks and so do their parents," Jackson said.
"We've seen up upswing in pop songs from the 80s on playlists and we're seeing audience crossover between NOVA and Smooth stations."
The nostalgia trend is also influencing new releases. Australian DJ Flume just released a remix of Blue, the inescapable 1998 hit by Italian act Eiffel 65.
"And Kygo has just remade What's Love Got To Do With It with Tina Turner," Jackson said.
"This could be a moment in time because of lockdowns and you could find people will want more new music as we head towards summer.
"But now they want the comfort stuff much more."
Even alternative music fans are indulging their nostalgia cravings as evidenced by the bonkers selections which made it to air during Triple J's Requestival in May. You could never have predicted hearing everything from Fleetwood Mac's Dreams to Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights on the youth network.
Here's a taste of what you will hear during Hot Dub Time Machine at midday on NOVA.
September - Earth, Wind & Fire - 1978
Another One Bites The Dust - Queen - 1980
Like a Prayer - Madonna - 1989
Backstreet's Back - Backstreet Boys - 1997
No Scrubs - TLC - 1999
Murder on the Dance Floor - Sophie Ellis-Bextor - 2001
Low Low Low - Flo-Rida - 2008
Rolling in the Deep - Adele - 2010
Blinding Lights - The Weeknd - 2020
Originally published as Back to the 90s: Radio's big plan to lure listeners