Apparently, you cannot achieve everything by simply ‘beliebing’ in it. The phrase “past repeats itself” can be very accurately applied to the situation that Bieber’s music has found itself in (fortunately, no we are not talking about the “Baby” music video making a comeback). Much like the 2014 controversy of Taylor Swift being disqualified from Triple J’s “Hottest 100” list, Bieber faces the same threat. One can say that Justin Bieber is too popular to be included on the list.

The issue that arises with Bieber is fairly complex in its morality, it asks whether it is acceptable for an artist to be disqualified for being a hipster god on social media (i.e Instagram and Twitter) as their popularity overshadows other, lesser known yet talented, artists’ chance to succeed in the arena. Furthermore, it tarnishes the “exclusivity” of music being voted on the basis of its genuine quality rather than being assessed on how “mainstream” it is.

On the other hand, is it wrong to rule out a popular artist? (admittedly, Bieber has been producing bangers lately.) An artist’s popularity is essentially a result of their music being liked by most folks. Should artists really be punished for being too popular? Perhaps Triple J’s “Hottest 100” list should be renamed as it, very ironically, may indeed disqualify the “hottest” artist.

Can Triple J disqualify one of the “hottest” celebs from the “Hottest 100” list?

New voting guidelines may allow it. For 2015, Triple J introduced in its voting guide that voters should not “troll the poll.” The policy builds on the Tay Tay controversy from the year before – ensuring that the past does not repeat itself.

Triple J wishes to obtain “genuine votes” from its listeners and votes that are not rampaged by the popularity of an artist on social media. Thus, it is reclining more towards the former part of the “moral dilemma”, because Triple J relishes its “democracy” in producing the Hottest 100 list.

This means that the radio station may hold all the discretionary power in removing any artist they wish from the “Hottest 100 list” according to their 2015 voting guidelines. Ergo, the station holds the power to disqualify artists that the station feels don’t fit the voting guidelines.

Is it too late for Biebs to be “Sorry” – does Bieber fit the criteria for disqualification?

Let’s see:

  • Troll the poll – According to this new policy, Bieber’s songs have to be part of a “competition” or a “campaign” – #bieber4hottest100 is a very active tag on Twitter. Does that make Bieber part of a widespread campaign? Following on from Tay Swift’s controversy last year, the answer is inclining towards a “yes.” Last year #Tay4Hottest100 was one of the reasons that Taylor Swift was disqualified from the list and Bieber is currently on the same course.
  • Promotion by companies – unlike Tay, Bieber has not been advertised by Buzzfeed as an artist that should be voted for in the Hottest 100. Furthermore, interestingly, last year Tay Swift was promoted by KFC for the Hottest 100, this year the blame may fall on William Hill in relation to Bieber. They even have a betting option for whether Bieber would be kicked off the Triple J’s Hottest 100 list for 2015. William Hill’s tweet regarding Bieber can be said to have essentially started a sort of campaign after Biebs himself retweeted the post. So again, Biebs ticks this point off in favor of his disqualification.
  • Played on the radio – in contrast to Tay Swift, Biebs’ music has actually been played on Triple J in 2015. One of the main criticisms against Tay’s presence on the “Hottest 100” was that she didn’t exactly qualify for the list as her music was not played by the radio station. Even though Triple J’s voting guidelines did not (and still do not) mention such a rule.

Beibs can go and love himself

Despite all the technicalities, this controversy is really between pushing already “popular” artists and in maintaining the indie, exclusive vibe. You do not have to be a Belieber to see that it may be a little unfair for Justin to be disqualified on the basis that his music is more mainstream as compared to many other artists on the list. One would assume that the point of “Hottest 100” is that the public gets to vote for their favourite artists, whether they be unknown indie rock bands or the most “mainstream” artists.

Interestingly, iconic indie artists such as Alison Wonderland and Gang of Youths have shown their support as Belibers by voting for Justin’s songs. However, Biebs is yet to appear on the Hottest 100’s shortlist.

Let us know your thoughts by tagging us #lawpath or @lawpath.

Ananya Singh

Ananya Singh

Ananya is currently working in our content team as a Paralegal, aiming to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. Pursuing her interest in the regulation of emerging media, her work centres on the legal and business concerns engendered by the application of traditional legal principles to social media.