While music by big-name Christian artists was the most played on Australian Christian radio again in 2022, a growing number of up-and-coming musicians were also heavily featured on last year’s playlists.
This trend was reflected in the most-played Christian song for 2022: The Goodness by tobyMac and budding singer/songwriter Blessing Offor (stay tuned for more about this Nigerian-born, Nashville-based singer on Eternity soon!).
The Goodness – released in June 2022 – spent 30 weeks on Australia’s weekly, national chart of Christian music – TCM. It was named the most-played song of 2022 by TCM in its recently released annual list of the top 100 songs, as well as the top 50 artists, on Australian Christian radio in 2022.
Australian duo For King & Country took out the most-played artists of 2022, spending 24 weeks in the Top 10. This is the fifth time the band – comprising brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone – has secured the most-played act, previously taking out this honour in 2019, 2016, 2014 and 2013.
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For King & Country also gained the most entries in TCM’s top 100 chart, appearing as the lead or the featured artist on four singles: For God Is With Us, Love Me Like I Am, Kingdom Come and Relate.
Fellow Aussies, Vanessa Kersting plus Young & Free each featured two songs in the top 100 chart.
“As much as people like acts that are well established, they’re looking for something new.” – Wes Jay
“Christian music – at least the Christian music aired on Australian Christian radio in this country – is in a period of transition,” TCM Chart Researcher, Wes Jay tells Eternity.
“This past year saw almost a quarter of the songs in the Top 100 coming from burgeoning acts including Blessing Offor, Svrcina, Abbey Robertson, Sofyka, Kurtis Hoppie, Adelaide, Jordan St Cyr, Madison Ryann Ward, plus Aussies Sunny, Vanessa Kersting and Evan Brent Downing.
“What was surprising was we saw M22 – a group of Year 11 and 12 students from a Melbourne Catholic school – garner strong interest across the sector, particularly on regional Christian stations. The group made a strong impact with its first release.
“As much as people like acts that are well established, they’re looking for something new. It’s a refreshing change – some eccentricities, quirkiness, brighter tempos, toe-tapping, songs of encouragement and hope, rather than darker stories.”
Jay notes another trend in Australian Christian music: “Collaborations – a mainstay of mainstream music for several years – have also begun to develop. Almost a fifth of the Top 100 this past year was from acts collaborating with others.
“For example, Australia’s For King & Country have learned this better than others, recording with American pop singer/actress Jordin Sparks and Hilary Scott (the co-lead singer of Lady A), plus sister Rebecca St James on different songs. Collaborations give each act the opportunity to grow their fan/support base/career/ministry because they are being exposed to each other’s fans – often for the first time.”
The TCM airplay chart, established in 1999, draws on playlist data from over 25 Christian radio stations across Australia. 2022 marks the 24th year that TCM (or TRAA as it was initially known) has published its annual research of the Top 100 most-played Christian songs and Top 50 most-played Christian acts on Christian radio throughout Australia.