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Triple J Unearthed and the Great Monopolisation of Australian Music

So it has arrived — Triple J's new Unearthed digital radio station. As pitched by the Jster's, this is a fantastic and groundbreaking new exponent for up-and-coming Australian artists whereby their unsigned wares can be broadcasted to the nation. It's so easy, you just upload a song or two and then (if you're handpicked by one of The J Team) you'll find some spins on Unearthed Radio before — fingers crossed — you'll go on to graduate to the big league and get played on Triple J. A positive idea in theory for those bands out there seeking that ever elusive 'break', but the question that must be posed — is this a healthy development for the Australian music industry? And the answer in this writer's opinion is absolutely not.

More often than not Triple J is the make-or-break medium in this country for Australian bands and artists. You hit the high rotation on the J's and you will quickly find queues outside your show at the OAF, rather than twenty mates peppered around the room hoping you finish in time for them to go and get a New York Slice. Perhaps unfortunately, this is just the way it is and has been for some time.

You might think that having a relative monopoly over our national music airwaves might be enough, however a new beast has been developed by Triple J in the form of Unearthed Radio and along with it they have all but issued a memo stating — "if you're an up and coming Australian band who doesn't arrive to us through our Unearthed system you can pretty much get farked cause we ain't playing your music". It can barely be argued that this isn't the gauntlet being thrown down when you think about it. Can anyone name any Australian bands that have come through JJJ and into prominence in the last few years that haven't been 'unearthed'? Now think about then how much emphasis this must mean that bands and labels etc. are generally placing on Unearthed and hence what implications this has for our Australian music scene.

Creating a system like this surely raises issues relating to market ownership and monopolization, which are concepts that when related to a creative outlet (or just about anything for that matter) become dangerous ones. Furthermore, isn't operating with this "if we don't find them and we don't own them, then we're not interested" mentality when it comes to supporting new Australian music also effectively a slap in the face to everyone else operating in the Australian music industry? Where is the role for A&R guys/gals, labels, management, agents etc. in terms of discovery if the only Australian bands that are going to rise to national airplay are pretty much categorically going to come through Unearthed? Doesn't this just create an even more apathetic climate in an industry that should be synonymous with creativity and forward thinking?

A lot of questions but at the end of the day what Triple J are trying to do through the guise of 'Unearthed' is to create a system whereby they can take ownership over emerging Australian musical talent. And so perhaps the most poignant question to ask is why? Why as a branch of the ABC and so in theory an objective organization, are they trying to say to young Australian artists that the only way forward is by signing up to Unearthed and complying with their way of doing things? Market share is one viable reason, but surely as a Government funded station that doesn't need to sell ad space, this is not the only motivator.

Triple J say that Unearthed Radio is innovative and intends to create a platform for unsigned and uncashed bands to deliver their music to the world, and in some respects it achieves this function. However, after all is said and done this function is grossly unnecessary and has so far only succeeded in turning much of the Australian music scene into an overblown battle o' the bands to be adjudicated by the self-proclaimed 'King' (yes I know it's part of his name but it's still self-aggrandizing and lame given his position) and his sidekicks.

The biggest mistake you could make as a band uploading your tunes to Unearthed is to think that you are subjecting your material to an open forum, where if your work is truly great you will succeed in getting it on the radio. On the contrary, you are subjecting yourself to the opinions of a select few Triple J staffers who, given their track records in 'discovering great Aussie bands', have at best extremely questionable taste. Of course, musical opinion is always a murky habitat, but, Art Vs Science, Washington, Little Red etc. Let's be honest, the gaze seems more transfixed on the middle of the mediocre freeway rather than on the hunt for the next Avalanches or The Drones. Further on the point of taste; why is a 50 year old man the designated 'tastemaker' for our national youth broadcaster anyway?

The real tragedy of the whole 'Unearthed' brand is that in the likely scheme of things it has only just begun. The scary reality is that the cycle will more than likely snowball as new bands become more and more dependent on Triple J Unearthed to push them to a national audience.

Or, in a far less likely development, maybe it'll finally drive a deserved tidal wave of negative sentiment from artists and the remaining industry alike into the offices of Triple J before everyone goes ahead and turns their attention to those peeps actually on the hunt for interesting new music (See FBI Radio, RRR, PBS etc). Wishful thinking huh?


Australia's answer to the question - "who is Bradford Cox?"

Nowhere else in the world is there a system like this — where the one avenue really does determine the make-or-break point for bands and that in itself is a pretty nasty concept, only exacerbated by the fact that the bands cutting through courtesy of some Triple J blow work are at best lukewarm. What this effectively means is that as it stands if the next Bradford Cox comes from Sydney or Melbourne a deserved audience will probably never hear from him unless he moves overseas.

A monopoly, an innovation, an abomination, Orwellian, whatever you choose to call it, one thing is for certain — it is here to stay. However that stay should not be without criticism, analysis, and questions such as; Triple J why are you attempting to reign over us as the singular and somewhat tyrannical champions of music in this country instead of simply fulfilling your role as a government funded broadcaster of unique, original and quality Australian music as per the initial Double J ethos statement? At this point in time don't bother looking for a reasonable answer, just change the channel.

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Comments

Sandwich Hutch

Great article... Triple J lost their way many years ago. Luckily we have a fine radio station in Sydney called FBi

8 years ago

readylove

I'm so glad someone wrote an article about this and not just any article. This is so well done and true and important.

8 years ago

heyhey

the revolution will not be televised

8 years ago

flukazoid

As someone who dislikes the bulk of JJJ with a passion, I wasn't expecting myself to take the part of devil's advocate, but surprises happen...

As far as I can see, the entire premise of this article revolves around the following statement, which isn't really qualified:

however a new beast has been developed by Triple J in the form of Unearthed Radio and along with it they have all but issued a memo stating — "if you're an up and coming Australian band who doesn't arrive to us through our Unearthed system you can pretty much get farked cause we ain't playing your music"
Has this actually been established in any way? Because if this is just speculation then it's a fairly wild assertion to make.

Where is the role for A&R guys/gals, labels, management, agents etc...?
To my knowledge, the place of all of these people (love them or hate them) is still alive and well in the process of getting music played on JJJ. Yes, Kingsmill is a dictator - but he still responds to the right voices. Just look at the amount of music hosted on the Unearthed site over the years that never got a single look-in until the act got signed and the wheels started turning.

If that stuff about "no-Unearthed-no-airplay" and the "graduation" process being the only way to get played is true, then yes - it's a pretty dire situation. But I'd need to see proof of that being the case.

At the end of the day my perspective is: if it looks like Unearthed is a monopoly, that's because it is - simply due to the lack of an alternative. In the face of absolutely no other national (mass cultural) platform for exposure of emerging Australian talent, all I really see this as being is Triple J attempting to bring a open-ended point for discovery.

8 years ago

Bucket

Amen Flukazoid, what's stopping unearthed from just being a way for the j's to big-up themselves, while still allowing artists to emerge (really) through other avenues until they are noticed by the J-hoonies and "claimed". I guess thats not a good thing, but its also not a dystopian wasteland of music. Just a big radio-station self promoting.

8 years ago

Jonny Yes Yes

Flukey...

totally see where you're coming from... well argued point/s

essentially they've already said they're only broadcasting coming through the Unearthed site as their source of material - "The music will be handpicked from the wealth of music on triplejunearthed.com - an online community 30,000 artists and 250,000 registered users strong." - I would interpret that as meaning the only way to get onto the station is via the website.....

that's one thing.... but surely with this 30,000 artists to choose from it's safe to assume that the best stuff (in The King's opinion) will filter up to Triple J - making up the majority of their new Australian content.... I believe that's the risk that Whaley speculates as the dangerous flow-on affect from this (correct me if I'm wrong Whales....)

I'm not sure i agree with Kingsmill "responding to the right voices" ... music still needs to put in front of him (currently by A&R people etc) for him to respond....and thus gain any form of rotation... there seems to be a complete lack of sourcing new material (the internet!), as well as a complete lack of variety... because essentially the playlist is still controlled by a handful of music opinions...

the 'monopoly' side of it is a reference more to triple j itself than the unearthed brand in particular.. i understand that Unearthed and the way it operates is a new innovative..... but it also helps strengthen the position of Triple J as THE only way for artists to gain national attention (hence the monopoly).... leading to threatening the role of FBi, RRR etc.... i don't think you can argue that's a good place to be

8 years ago

matthickey

I think you do have to be part of Triple J Unearthed to get played judging from this quote: "music will be handpicked from the wealth of music on triplejunearthed.com" (http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/unearthed/). That said, you have to be on Triple J Unearthed to win Triple J Unearthed competitions, so it doesn't seem like a massive leap in reasoning that you would also be expected to be on there to be played on Triple J Unearthed radio.

For what it's also worth, I know 'The King' has some pretty switched on dudes working under him who are doing the handpicking. Triple J doesn't represent my tastes (or probably those of other readers on here), but it only has power as a tastemaker if it actually has an audience, which means mixing up what the audience want to hear with what the audience should hear. If Triple J need to spin Art vs Science four times an hour so that thousands of people can also hear a Seekae tune every so often then maybe that's a good thing?

I dunno the answer to that. I probs won't listen in so it doesn't bother me how much crap they play, but it would be nice to know that they were using their platform to push the tastes of the audiences a little (at the time of writing, the most recent played according to the website was a Collarbones tune, so there's probably some hope).

8 years ago

Jonny Yes Yes

If Triple J need to spin Art vs Science four times an hour so that thousands of people can also hear a Seekae tune every so often then maybe that's a good thing?


yes... but i also think thats part of a bigger issue... they don't "need" to do anything.. they don't need to encourage advertisers and (as far as i'm aware, correct me if i'm wrong) they don't need to reach specific listenership targets to keep their funding.... essentially they have soooo much freedom, yet stick to the middle-of-the-road attitude...

that's maybe not part of the debate here,, but just something I think was also worth mentioning..

8 years ago

whaley

Well said Jonny my bro.

Flukey - Very good/intelligent comment. In response I'd say firstly; That yes the "if you're an up coming Australian Band...." pseudo quote/echoed sentiment has indeed been quantified by every person involved with the music industry that I've spoken to leading up to the publishing of this article (Yeah research bitches). We obviously won't mention any names for privacy reasons etc.

Also, the lack of roles for A&R guys/gals in my view is based upon the fact that pretty much all decisions to sign new artists to big labels are now based upon the acts having cut through on unearthed and this is purely because (echoing statements made by industry folk) it's too hard to successfully just service new material from unestablished acts to jjj if they haven't come through unearthed. So effectively this would mean if you work for a money making label, that you can;t just go to a show and sign a new band cause they're good you instead have to wait and see what happens with unearthed don't you?

The "no unearthed - no airplay" for NEW Aus bands is true as far as I can see.

I also don't think we should just be content with their being no alternatives, instead jjj should be pushed by the rising prominence of community stations, websites etc.

W

8 years ago

whaley

I love Art Vs Science man. Fuck they're good

8 years ago

Jonny Yes Yes

I love Art Vs Science man. Fuck they're good


wheres the bloody 'like' button?

8 years ago

matthickey

I think that's part of the debate here. My response to that is basically that people like you, me and Joe don't need Triple J or Triple J Unearthed. We're not their target audience and probably shouldn't be.

Triple J have made a move toward the centre in an effort to catch the more adventurous 'Nova listeners' without alienating too many of their existing listeners (whether that last bit was successful is up for debate), and the only way they were going to do that is to play stuff like 'The Flipper Song.' They don't have audience targets for commercial reasons, but they still need a solid audience to actually have any relevance/influence.

It's too simplistic to say that if Triple J played better music then everyone would like better music. If Triple J started playing music closer to what we think of as 'better' then they'd probably just lose a heap of listeners close to the JJJ/Nova margin. I think of their playlists as a combination of induced listening (the crap that makes people switch to Triple J from other mainstream stations) with educational listening (the stuff that The King probably thinks everything should be listening to). It's unfortunate that they need to play a lot of crap to get people to tune in, but that's not entirely their fault.

This is all only looking at the short run. Maybe as Triple J gets the critical mass it needs to maintain its influence it can start to move back away from the centre without sacrificing a shitload of listeners, but they couldn't do that over night.

But the point being debated here is whether it's better to play lots of good music to less music, or less good music to lots of people. Like I said, I don't need Triple J so I'm happy for them to aim for the latter, as long as they're doing it for the right reasons (ie. winning over new people and then using that platform to spread the word and not just for the sake of numbers).

8 years ago

readylove

Yeah they don't "need" to do anything.

They have created this monster audience of super requesting bogans whom they pander too with the AVS's, hilltop hoods etc. But if they just wrote that shit off and started playing the Flaming Lips and Animal Collective on high rotation they wouldn't lose an audience in terms of numbers, they'd just change it to a better class of citizen

8 years ago

flukazoid

Bear in mind that triple j is still subject to performance reviews that pin its achievements on numbers: it's under constant massive scrutiny over its ratings by its employer / funder (the Gubmint), who wants to ensure that it's fulfilling its charter. So, to the Big G, higher ratings = job well done. Or: more bang for funding bucks.

Said whaley:

I also don't think we should just be content with their being no alternatives, instead jjj should be pushed by the rising prominence of community stations, websites etc.
Yes - I entirely agree that we need alternatives. Unfortunately on a national level, nothing exists yet. This is particularly made difficult by radio being geographically bound, and websites not having the same potential for a captive audience - especially in rural areas. Radio's pretty much the killer medium, and triple j are the only ones that have to date been able to have national coverage for that. I'd love to think digital radio could change this, but time will tell.

8 years ago

readylove

And Matt you make some good points but I really don't think it's too simplistic to say that if Triple J played better music then everyone would like better music. I think this is true. Maybe it'd mean they'd gain a different audience in some cases, but I think the numbers would still be about the same

8 years ago

whaley

Flukey - Yeah what you think of digi radio? I can't see it working hey purely because when I'm sitting at the comp the last thing I'd think about is putting on the radio, it's just for car time. I agree though it'd be rad for issues like this if it did work out.

8 years ago

heyhey

I think the success of websites like Pitchfork suggest that there could be alternatives on a national level in Australia (PoA maybe) to jjj these days. Especially in regard to being prominent on "taste making" level - because this is where jjj are just woeful. Embarrassing even.

8 years ago

Jonny Yes Yes

They have created this monster audience of super requesting bogans whom they pander too with the AVS's, hilltop hoods etc. But if they just wrote that shit off and started playing the Flaming Lips and Animal Collective on high rotation they wouldn't lose an audience in terms of numbers, they'd just change it to a better class of citizen


EXACTLY!

8 years ago

flukazoid

Well I guess streaming audio has been around for long enough to prove that it's a nicety but totally not a radio alternative. BUT this may be changing as it's now becoming increasingly common for people to stream audio live over 3G devices, which changes everything for the first time. If we start getting cars with 3G SIMs or some kind of wireless Internet connectivity: boom.

While I was writing that comment about digital radio above, my brain was on a flight of fancy imagining national DAB+ (i.e. "real" digital radio, the other way triple j unearthed can be heard) being relatively accessible to anyone that wants to use it. But then just after posting I realised that it had the same limitations (to my knowledge) as normal FM/AM in that it needs regional towers to broadcast the signal, meaning it's only the ABC that get fully national coverage through their privileges/$$$ as a government broadcaster.

So, the revolution will probably not be live-to-air on radio.

Readylove: I'd like to think you were right, but I'm almost 100% certain it's just not the way of thing. Very sadly.

8 years ago

matthickey

"But if they just wrote that shit off and started playing the Flaming Lips and Animal Collective on high rotation they wouldn't lose an audience in terms of numbers, they'd just change it to a better class of citizen"

In that situation, the Australian music scene isn't any better off. It means the people who could have been (very slowly) turned onto Flaming Lips and Animal Collective run back to Nova and the people who did like those bands and were servicing their needs on blogs/last.fm would come back to Triple J. In that situation the audience breakdown hasn't changed, just the market Triple J reaches.

That makes sense if you're arguing that Triple J should play music you like (and hey, you're paying for it so it's reasonable to argue). But if you're arguing that then you're not really arguing that "everyone would like better music." (Unless you're suggesting that we create an uber-class of awesome music taste - ie. us - at the top and this taste will trickle down, but I doubt that will happen).

I'm not arguing for the sake of it. I wish you were right. I do. I'm just not sure I have the same faith in the public that you do.

8 years ago

flukazoid

if they just wrote that shit off and started playing the Flaming Lips and Animal Collective on high rotation they wouldn't lose an audience in terms of numbers, they'd just change it to a better class of citizen
"better" class? many would call this being in danger of class elitism. education is better than exclusion, but it sounds like you're advocating the latter.

triple j have a government-supplied mandate to provide programming to every demographic of youth in Australia (to whatever extent is humanly possible) and, from what I understand, the "bogans" you mention (who that covers is up for debate) are far more numerous than white middle-to-upper-class AnCo/Lips listeners (this is such a silly class generalisation, but bear with me!) that may have shunned JJJ. not to mention that attitude completely alienates them by considering them an unworthy recipient of what JJJ is trying to deliver.

I fully expect that the great unwashed could be educated into appreciating and enjoying better mass-friendly music but I suspect it would take an enormous amount of effort and the risks would be monumental. It'd be nice if Kingsmill and co took that risk but I'm not surprised they haven't.

And really, is it a case of one class having a more legitimate opinion of what is "good" over another? What is good?

8 years ago

glugger

POLICE STATE

8 years ago

rttayls

Yeh pretty much reckon this article is some of the best shizzzz I've read in years

8 years ago

Spoona

Good stuff, gets people talking at least...

My problem is that success on Triple J Unearthed is essentially driven by bands prepared to pay a cut to 'connected' publishing agencies who have their foot in the door with the Kingsmill entourage, or to bands just out of school who know 400+ mates who are likely to click on a link or download a track blindly when prompted, simply because they're school mates.

Notice that neither option is necessarily any indication of quality or originality, simply a representation of quantity of plays / downloads or how much they paid an agency to dangle their disc in his face.

Last time I checked, before this radio show launched, 5 out of 100 of the top Junearthed acts had been played on Triple J. Let's go through that again, FIVE out of ONE HUNDRED.
This suggests how important the scheme is to the day to day presenters on the actual radio station.

They also fail to print any explanation of what goes on behind the scenes, there's no way of knowing if anyone at JJJ has listened to a track, or get any feedback, which is surely critical in helping new bands develop, rather than just firing tracks into a black hole.

When all's said and done, at a national level, I'm sure this is positive, especially for bands outside of Sydney and Melbourne but they could go a long way to be more constructive and transparent in the decision making process.

FBI have been meeting bands face to face at open days for years, helping them understand what's expected and providing a means to chat with other musicians, build networks, something crucial to nurturing independent talent. It'll take more than a shiny website to do that...

8 years ago

heyhey

The revolution will not be televised

8 years ago

readylove

Snakadaktal - Proof of how shit unearthed judges are. You should just read that name and know straight up that they're fucked and then just not bother. Instead they go on to win?

8 years ago

Witch Cake Baker

You are dead on right Whaley! Good article. And glad you had the balls to say it. So many in the industry are scared to speak up against the myopic, negative approach JJJ are taking.

Here's some additional points:

1. You mentioned; "that pretty much decisions to sign new artists to big labels are now based upon the acts having cut through on unearthed and this is purely because it's too hard to successfully just service new material from unestablished acts to jjj if they haven't come through unearthed."

This is completely true. When labels come across great talent that is not already in the Triple J world, we then have to 'play the Triple J game' of putting the artist up on 'unearthed,' hiding they are signed on a major, etc...because Triple J will only play it if they feel they've discovered it. Why do they discount the full time talent development that A&R, managers, and agents do? And why not be thrilled to be the part of the music community to break an artist at radio by spinning the music - why do they feel they have to be the ones to 'discover the music' all the time..its not their talent, nor their speciality, nor do they financially invest... And worst of all, as soon as that 'discovered' artist gets some Nova airplay, JJJ jump off the artist. Zero loyalty.

2. Triple J Unearthed radio says that they'll play only Unsigned and independent artists. Well, who determines what an indie artist is? Are artists signed to Dew Process independent? Cause that's just a Universal label essentially, funded and marketed by Universal. Or Spunk? That's just an EMI label essentially. Plus, I turned on Triple J unearthed the other day and heard Washington and Boy & Bear. They're not independent artists...they're on Universal. But Triple J 'unearthed them' - so in JJJ's eye, must be OK to do. They can't even follow their own mantra.

3. HIGH Rotation on Triple J equals max 16 spins a week. Know what that means? You'll get played 2 times a day and 3 on the weekend...and that's HIGH rotation. So if you're a band trying to build an audience, you may get played at 3pm and 3am. That does not help break artists. Think back to the days when JJJ actually broke artists, before Kingsmill, they played songs 30 - 40 times a week. Those artists - Jebediah, Something For Kate, Killing Heidi - they actually built real careers and sold real records. That's loyalty. Not this toe in the water dipping of 10 or 12 or 15 spins a week.

4. Let's face it, Australia does not have enough good unsigned and independent music to fill 24 hours 7 days a week. The station, if it actually follows its own ethos, will sound like a big demo bin of crap.

I could go on...but in the end, Triple J have so lost their way that they will make themselves irrelevant in time - which is sad.


7 years ago

Muscle'n Flo

fucking amazing article... i wish i'd written this myself. triple j is the rupert murdoch of our local music industry

my band used to be on unearthed but we took it down once we realised we didn't actually give a shit what "tom & alex" think...

7 years ago

holc

Massive wall of text!

Fucking rad article although I'm not sure which part is better, the article or the debate below it.

I've been sayng the same line to Steve#1(or is he #2? I can't remember) since the online component of JJJ Unearthed was launched and they started basically getting 95% of their new Australian acts from the site. JJJ are no longer content with having that fleeting mention of "JJJ played them first" or "JJJ supported them in the early years" like we'd seen for so long through the 80s,90s and early 2000s, it seems now they have set their sites on basically owning any new Aussie bands coming up through the ranks in a "you'd be nothing without us" kind of way, "we made you". They want to be in the first two lines of the Wikipedia article when the band go platinum, they don't want a press release to go out without the phrase "Discovered by JJJ" somewhere.
And yeah this may drastically improve the size of the audience in the long run and will definitely see quite a few more Aussie home made acts at the top of the charts and making it big in a future market that’s a lot more friendly to dudes/dudettes with instruments. But at what cost...

I say this after having travelled through America and now living in England for an extended amount of time. The differences between the two places and their music scenes and markets are so fucking huge (almost like they're two different countries) and whilst it'd be easier to attribute this to the size of America and how huge it is but for me the massive difference is down to one thing, The BBC, that big massive state-funded broadcasting monolith and it's various branches and channels (sound familiar???).
The BBC have always (well recently, they didn’t really play any rock and roll until the early 70s if that movie with the boat and Danny Deckchair is to be taken as a reputable source) championed 4 lads from the suburbs of Sheffield, they're always playing home grown stuff and as a national station and by far the biggest (BBC have something like 4 or 5 nationally broadcasted stations not including the sports channels and so on) this has lead to a nation where "alternative" music is more often than not very competitve in the charts and it's not rare to see 4 chaps from East London at number 1.
But what's this done to their music scene? It's turned it into one giant, boring , middle-of-the-road (phrase is having its biggest day to date) monolith where there is no variation from area to area and everyone seems so scared of doing anything different, anything unique, showing any ounce of aggression or doing anything mildly offensive or interesting in fear of not getting that BBC airplay, not getting that record deal and not getting that number 1 that now on any given day I can walk around Brighton or London and see countless numbers of 8 piece bands walking along wearing their banjos and mandolins like fucking handbags. These kids don't want to be anyone interesting, they don't want to rock with the system, start a discussion, they want to be fucking Marcus Mumford and marry that small boy who looks like the kid from 2 and a ½ men, what’s his name Carey Mulligan?) or any countless numbers of dicks who regularly use the word "fond". When was the last time you heard anything from England that got you genuinely excited, got you thinking rather than just a response of "meh, yeah it's not bad, I can listen to it". But I mean... atleast guitars are number 1 right...
The last one I can think of was The Horrors when they released Primary Colours and even they followed that up with something that was stripped away of anything that made them interesting in the first place basically because they knew a safe album was a certain number one. Maybe WU LYF in the last year (despite my constant thought that they're just Kings of Leon starting at the third album with a synth).

Compare that to North America where unless your name is Arcade Fire you have no chance of hitting the top of the charts,which may be a bad thing, but where there's no big all knowing national youth network (there's NPR but that has nothing in comparison to JJJ or the beeb) and instead you have 1000s of community stations scattered throughout the country. This has created a massive variance in the music being produced from place to place to the point where each city in America has it's own(somtimes several) distinct music scenes, not just the big well known places, but cities like Minneapolis and even quite a few college towns. There is always someone trying to push the boundaries, create something different, something that will scare the squares yet will have me and Steve#1 listening to with a smile with a few stubbies of MB's on a sunny arfternoon (after our day at our steady secure jobs, which we drove to in our reasonable cars we bought with our carefully saved money). I was in America for 3 months and everywhere I went there was always something awesome I wanted to see, no matter if I was in SF, NY or even some shitty meth town in desert California.
There are always exceptions and this is all a massive generalisation (I mean WARP continue to always produce amazing stuff although you could then argue that most of their big guns are from North America anyway) but I know which way I would like to see the country and the city's music scene that I love go, and it's producing the next Replacements, the next Oh Sees, the next Flying Lotus, the next Arcade Fire(not the next actual Arcade Fire but rather the next band to do something so different and dramatic when it first came out) and it's not producing the next Vaccines, the next Kooks, the next fucking Razorlight or Mumford and Suns. But you know in the last few years Unearthed have given us Hungry Kids of Hungry, Boy and Bear and the Holidays so you know.................... The futures... bright...

7 years ago

ash_showoff

Interesting article and indeed some nifty comments happening here. However, I'm not too sure about the 'you must be live on Unearthed to be considered for spins and rotation' rubbish. We recently serviced two unsigned bands NOT on unearthed and both of them have been supported.

7 years ago

That Guy

I know for a fact of more than one big artist who'd only uploaded tunes to the site a couple of days before 'winning', and were basically 'encouraged' to upload to the site even though they already knew they were being added to the playlist. For the laymen out there: its rigged.

And how could it not be? If they get a track they want to add to high rotation, why wouldn't they have them 'win' an unearthed comp, claiming discovery of the band for years to come? It's still a boys club as much as any other part of the Aus music industry is. A lot of those winning tracks still come thru the regular system...

Whats also as bad - and I'm not sure if anyone's mentioned - is the fact that all tracks on Unearthed must be downloadable - you can't turn the function off. How is this empowering young artists? Why are downloads a necessity?

With 30,000 to go through, where is the time to go through it all? It hardly makes sense.

They should be doing what they'd been talking about doing for a long time - splitting Triple J in half - one covering the younger demographic and another more adult alternative station for 25-35's, bridging the gap up to Radio National. As it stands the station is becoming more skewed to the kids by the day, and it's not smart strategy to leave the older listeners with nothing to graduate to. It seems Unearthed is a really one-eyed initiative without the larger scope of the ABC in mind.

And, as we know, Triple J's only marketing strategy to date is to just keep mindlessly talking about itself, to those who already listen to it.

7 years ago

RARGHFUCKINGRARGH

The part about the only locals to get on JJJ coming up through Unearthed is fucking dead on.

I Heart Hiroshima
Ghoul
Seekae
The Gin Club
Fabulous Diamonds
Naked on the Vague
Eddy Current Supression Ring
The Drones
Alps
Slug Guts
Jack Ladder
Fires of Waco
Break Even
Total Control
Royal Headache


All can sell out rooms up and down this country, but can't get much play on the station. But Nantes gets almost hourly play. (I do like that song though).

It's fucking stupid. Sure there are exceptions, acts that havent come up through this system, but the majority come up through it. And to get any real airplay, you will have to pony up for the recording/mastering/mixing of the track, because unless it sounds amazing, it can't get played.

All of those bands I listed are big, don't get me wrong, but without the push of our Youth Broadcaster, they won't be able to break through to 'the next level'. Seekae in particular. With JJJ airplay, they could easily get top 10 albums, high rotation on Nova etc. Jonti too probably.

7 years ago

Rav

My turn.

One of the issues that has popped up several times has been that of airplay and the amount of spins a record gets for high rotation.

This has been my biggest problem with Triple J in the last few years. Rather than playing decent fucking music, or any goddamn music, there's been way too much talking. Talking from presenters that no-one really gives a shit about/aren't funny/don't know about music/do stupid interviews that don't ask questions anyone gives a shit about.

I've been reading The Big Payback - The History of the Business of hip hop (fucking great book) and in it they share a model for how hip hop stations achieved popularity in the states. The model was a pyramid. The base, was playing music. Lots of music. Then came commentary, then promos and then community.

I think this is a model that JJJ has been fucking up royally for at least the last 5 years. There simply isn't enough music played on Triple j. If the station made a greater effort to play tunes, then there would be much more areas they could slide in artists to give them higher rotation. So rather than hearing the same ArtVS, Jezabels or M83 songs, they could have a greater variation of rotation - high, medium, low, etc. to lesser known artists or new music on JJJ unearthed - rather than the five in 100. That would at least make Unearthed a tad more democratic.

I've also spent a fair amount of time living overseas the last few years and while I was in Canada I discovered Sirius XMU. Sirius radio is the paid subscription radio service with a series of dedicated radio stations. Sirius XMU, to put it bluntly, is fucking phenomenal. It breaks a lot of great music, even before P4K, they barely had much presenter interruption - accept to maybe back announce tracks or make interesting and relevant commentary on it. They'd also get musicians that were releasing albums to come in and guest program the station for a week. They'd also get bloggers (the dudes from Gorilla Vs Bear eg) - ah la Rage. It was fucking incredible. I'm literally hearing music getting played in Oz now that I heard six to 8 months ago on XMU.

Unfortunately this kind of service is a long way away for Australia, but I feel that if JJJ can start a digital service like JJJ unearthed, there's no reason a rival can't be started that plays music we actually want to hear.

And with the streaming technology in ipods and smart phones these days, there's no reason that digital radio can't be as successful as standard AM/FM. It may involve paying for it, but when you're gonna get quality, sometimes forking out some $$$ isn't the hardest thing to convince people to do.

But yeah, great article Sr Whaley. I commend thee.

Fuck Rosie Beaton.

7 years ago

glugger

At least rage is still awesome.

7 years ago

rttayls

Oh man Rosie Beaton makes me wanna cry

7 years ago

ash_showoff

I Heart Hiroshima
Ghoul
Seekae
The Gin Club
Naked on the Vague
Eddy Current Supression Ring
The Drones
Jack Ladder
Royal Headache

Huh? All these bands have been smashed on Triple J.

7 years ago

Jonny Yes Yes

smashed


yeh?

7 years ago

ash_showoff

The ONLY thing that's shitty about Unearthed Radio is:
1. There are no announcers! Personalities / trust in the announcer is the only thing holding traditional radio together in my opinion.

2. I also have issues with the mixed genre roll out... I don't think people want to hear some rootsy track only to be followed by a dudstep tune. Bit weird actually.

"Monopolisation of Australian Music" - but you don't need to be involved/listed to 'make it', play gigs, get on the radio etc...

Healthy discussion though. Nice work Whaley!



7 years ago

ash_showoff

They've all experienced rotation at some point. Yup, smashed, supported, whatever.

7 years ago

rttayls

Actually no. Naked on the Vague smashed on jjj - hahahahahahahaha.

Bro the only band you have listed that have been smashed is Eddy Current. Even the Drones, Jack Ladder and Seekae have seen only moderate spins - very moderate. To say smashed would imply high rotation on the reg eg. Boy & Bear, Mumcunt & Sons etc. Playing an Ernest Ellis or Ghoul tune once on home and hosed at 930pm does not constitute smashed.

7 years ago

ash_showoff

Sorry, Naked on the Vague - thought it was The Naked and Famous. Whoops.

7 years ago

ash_showoff

Rotation man. What else would you expect Triple J to do for them. Geeze.

7 years ago

ash_showoff

Ernest Ellis and Ghoul have both been really well supported by JJJ.... Compared to 90% of all the other rubbish out there, yes, smashed.

7 years ago

rttayls

Don't get that last comment

7 years ago

ash_showoff

You said: "Playing an Ernest Ellis or Ghoul tune once on home and hosed at 930pm does not constitute smashed."

I say: "um, no, incorrect. Both of these bands have had at least one single added (to high rotation) on the station"

What rotation actually means is another discussion BUT you're shooting from the hip when you say these bands have only been played on H&H.

7 years ago

Me

I totally agree with this article, well written.

7 years ago

Me

A friends band couldn't get triple j play and so they signed up to unearthed and now they are "feature artists" fucked.

I don't want to ditch my indie label to sign up to unearthed just to get triple j play.

7 years ago

Spoona

They need to put some embed options on these tracks / pull in social media comments to get a better representation and allow the bands to have more control on the interface...

Let's face it, who out there is bothered enough to sign up for an account to JUnearthed just to listen / download when they can hear a band's stuff on Bandcamp / SoundCloud without any hassles?

Pulling plays and comments from these apps or allowing people to embed their Unearthed tracks in their own site would be far more palatable / professional.

That website is a dead-end and a waste of a band's energy who have already put their tunes somewhere far more meaningful... Somewhere they can also subscribe emails etc in return for free downloads.

7 years ago

Bucket

"ME"

shit I never thought about it like that, unearthed is discouraging artists to sign with indie labels, balls.

7 years ago

flukazoid

Seekae in particular. With JJJ airplay, they could easily get top 10 albums, high rotation on Nova etc. Jonti too probably.
In no way would either of these scenarios ever happen for either artist - JJJ airplay or no (two of my favourite acts, by the way). It's not just exposure that guarantees success - it can be a crucial factor, but not the only one. There's no way my Nova loving neighbours are going to be spinning Gnor regardless of how they get exposed to it.

All this said, I took a look at JPlay and I'm pretty amazed at how little most of that list of acts is actually getting played. They really do deserve more than they get. But there are many far more criminal oversights than many of those artists who at least have a foot in the door with some exposure.

But sometimes it may not be the King's fault: as far as I can tell almost all of the JJJ presenters that matter (Kingsmill, Rowe, Alessio that is) talk frequently in reverent tones about The Drones and it's made absolutely no difference to whether Joe JJJ Listener has any clue who they are. I think at the end of the day, there are some acts that the presenters just can't get the JJJ masses to care about no matter how "good" they think they are.

While we're talking about unfair: The Paper Scissors. Thrashed on JJJ four years back, completely abandoned now. Their new stuff's good, even better than the old songs - Kingsmill just decided he didn't want to play it. Arbitrarily. In a better world it wouldn't matter whether Kingsmill dug it or not: the band would have an opportunity for exposure through other tastemakers and their shows - maybe not on the level of getting high rotation play station-wide, but certainly not a complete shut-out either.

Back to Unearthed: all this talk about the exclusive process of graduation via JUnearthed is disconcerting, and all this talk about labels being unwilling to take risks on new talent is even worse. This is the guts of it. We need more tastemakers. Despite HolC's friggin' awesome rant, at least the UK have multiple (relatively) high profile tastemakers that have done huge amounts on their own terms to give exposure to new talent - it doesn't come down to one guy's opinion that is determined as much by ratings strategies as much as what he thinks is actually good.

7 years ago

Awesome Wells

Great article, so many good points. JJJ have simply created another filter for bands sending them stuff, and then patted themselves on the back for being so wonderful to Aus music.
"We love Australian music, -just not yours".......

7 years ago

Awesome Wells

and RAV - you're right they just talk shit ! 3 hours about one little subject from yesterday, and how its coming up, and next hour, and then repeat from yesterday, then talk about how they just played it.... so fucking painful!
And how does someone get on national radio with a speech impediment ? "Tourwing fwor Twipple J" ..........

7 years ago

readylove

Whats also as bad - and I'm not sure if anyone's mentioned - is the fact that all tracks on Unearthed must be downloadable - you can't turn the function off. How is this empowering young artists? Why are downloads a necessity?
- That Guy

I didn't know this but it's so fuckin wrong! What gives them the right to say to bands that you have to make your music free if you wanna take part? Also, it would effectively rule out any future publishing earnings in terms of radio play - which could equate to a fair amount if it's a 'hit' wouldn't it?

Just another way they are taking ownership over your music

7 years ago

TomFoster

Let's all get naked an urinate on Triple J

7 years ago

Rav

Fuck, even Barnsey hates JJJ - http://www.messandnoise.com/news/4353818

7 years ago

jackr

i would argue this is a terribly written article. as flukazoid points out, the entire premise is built on a presumption that you have to go through unearthed to get played on JJJ, a premise only qualified by non-specific "research" with unnamed industry peeps. whilst there are certainly some aspects of JJJ's program that will highlight unearthed bands, there is no reasonable evidence that suggests it's a prerequisite for airplay.

the other "poignant" question the article asks is why the ABC would want to take "ownership over emerging Australian musical talent". This was also addressed by flukazoid (sharp guy) - they're a government organisation with performance indicators that must be met. they need to succeed, they need to champion talent and they need to see that talent succeed on a national level so the government feels like they're getting a return on their investment.

this is not meant as a defence of JJJ. they have many problems, many of which are outlined in the comments above, but this article's argument is hopelessly flawed.

7 years ago

readylove

No actually. The whole premise of this article is built on the fact that as a NEW and UP AND COMING Aus band you must go through Unearthed to receive substantial/high rotation airplay. If this is such a presumption you name one Aus band coming through in the last year or two to receive such attention on JJJ whom hasn't come through unearthed??

Also, your point under the "ownership over Australian musical talent" quote doesn't in any way validate the station taking said "ownership" which is what they're doing. Yes they may need to see talent succeed as you say/get ratings or whatever. But why do they have to claim ownership and discovery rights over every new Aus band they play? Isn't that the role that community stations have played over the last 30 years while the j's have been in action?

I think there is so much evidence to suggest that being unearthed as a new Aus band is indeed a prerequisite for substantial airplay on JJJ.

So yeah, I'd argue that your comment is "hopelessly flawed", not to mention your grammar.

7 years ago

readylove

Also, do you honestly think anyone in an industry that is almost inarguably controlled by Triple J in this country, would consent to being revealed as a source?

7 years ago

ash_showoff

"No actually. The whole premise of this article is built on the fact that as a NEW and UP AND COMING Aus band you must go through Unearthed to receive substantial/high rotation airplay. If this is such a presumption you name one Aus band coming through in the last year or two to receive such attention on JJJ whom hasn't come through unearthed??"

Amaya Laucirica - Feature Album of the Week - didn't go near unearthed
The new single was recently serviced and it was also added

Eagle and the Worm - high rotation with opening single 'Futureman' - no Unearthed association at the time of servicing

I was personally involved with these two releases. I'm sure the list would go on mate.

7 years ago

rttayls

Yep go on with the list then..

Cause I mean if you're dropping Amaya's feature record at the end of last year when all the permanent j staff were on holiday and let's face it the station is on autopilot at that time cause ratings are lower, as your prime example which disproved the point this articles makes then I'd say it's pretty thin mate.

That's meant as no disrespect to Amaya. Love her stuff

7 years ago

ash_showoff

"Yep go on with the list then.."

Got better things to do. They were two that jumped to mind.

"Cause I mean if you're dropping Amaya's feature record at the end of last year when all the permanent j staff were on holiday"

No. Fail. It was serviced in September directly to the MD.

7 years ago

rttayls

And when was it featured?

7 years ago

ash_showoff

"cause ratings are lower'

Oh, and this is completely incorrect bud.

7 years ago

rttayls

Yeah you're a busy guy huh?

7 years ago

ash_showoff

JJJ featured kanye west's album the week after Amaya's. But who cares when it was featured! It has nothing to do with the direction of this article.

7 years ago

heyhey

Love the article(I do) or hate it, I think it's important cause it's got us talking about this important issue

7 years ago

holc

Eagle and the Worm were massively billed as "Unearthed winners" even from this time last year but definitely the start of this year just before I left. Now maybe like you said their first track was receiving airplay without going through unearthed, why then would they take a backward step and go through unearthed? Were they asked to? Was it seen as something that must be done to get more rotation and more coverage? Why?

Horrible band by the way.

Oh and can we steer away from the whole picking up on other people's grammar thing, internet discussions just turn stupid when this happens.

7 years ago

ash_showoff

They didn't take a step backwards you fool and they weren't asked to to anything.

Triple j is a radio station. That is all. :)

7 years ago

jackr

"poignantly", there's nary a mention of the role jjj plays in the vast expanse that exists outside the big cities and the role this promotion can play for bands who want exposure outside these areas. On the flip side, jjj can provide bands from rural areas the exposure required to play in big cities - a role not really covered by fbi's mo of playing 50% Sydney music (for example). Appealing to rural areas is a significant part of JJJ's policy and goes some way to explaining their often questionable programming. It's not just about "educating" listeners, it's about fostering the music that already has a foothold in those areas and rewarding bands who can be fucked touring there.

7 years ago

jackr

Readylove, couldn't the author at least have used quotes from it's supposed "research" whilst still protecting their identities? Might have made for a slightly more compelling argument.

7 years ago

readylove

Jackr, I think you may have drifted from the point by discussing JJJ's role, I thought we were specifically talking JJJ UNEARTHED here.

7 years ago

jackr

Umm, ok - unearthed provides opportunities to rural music communities that city based community radio doesn't.

7 years ago

jackr

What I think this all stems from is the difference between a body operating federally against state (or local) organisations. If people are concerned about JJJ (in any guise) developing a monopoly, they need to lobby state based funding bodies to improve resources of the smaller players. As long as JJJ is the only broadcaster with such large reach, labels and bands are always going to prioritise them in their approach.

7 years ago

bbt

This a great article and brings to the fore the mutterings about JJJ that goes on behind closed doors. Apart from this writer, none will speak out for fear that they, or their acts, latest record won't get a spin. It is retarding Australian music on the international scene. Considering the mid 80s with JJ, then we had Midnight Oil, INXS, Icehouse etc all go onto considerable international success. JJJ is now import replacement whereas Double JJ were world leaders, and encouraged the bands to be the same.

7 years ago

kestral

Triple j's track record for picking and supporting talent is extremely questionable. It is also hard to decipher whether they are picking "what the kids want to hear" because it is self-fulfilling prophecy that any band pushed by the station will achieve a certain level of success. Tellingly however, very few, if any of the bands "unearthed" or championed by triple j have achieved any amount of success overseas (starting with Silverchair, p-finger, grinspoon, eskimo joe, the living end etc etc).

Instead acts such as cut copy, the avalanches, midnight juggernauts et al have. Of course triple j played these band, and played them a lot; but only after the ball was well and truly rolling overseas. Same with eddy current; only after eddy current were selling out large venues in every capital did triple j give them any coverage.

The recent buzz surrounding the twerps demonstrates the how far off the pace triple j are. As the article mentioned, the more savvy bands may now be actively avoiding triple j and focusing on the internetz and community radio.

The current playlisting is reactionary and incredibly "safe". It almost mirrors the poll-watching that has dominated Federal politics for the past decade. Surely when jjj is in the privileged position to be allocated tax payer dollars to support an art form they should make some attempt to canvas the great breadth and depth of music that gets made in Australia.

The "king" comes across as a self-righteous, sanctimonious wanker. Surely he's had his time.

7 years ago

kestral

another good point made by flukazoid - the idea of a blanket playlist for all shows is bullshit. Presented should be able to playlist at least some of their own shows

7 years ago

kestral

and any station that plays that "nantes" song that is no more than an incredibly bad uncredited cover of "all my friends" should be banned from the airwaves.

7 years ago

jackr

The argument that has sprung up regarding what tripe j should play could go round in circles for a very long time. Much like governing the country, those entrusted with programming the station have both a great honor and great responsibility. Triple J certainly does have a monopoly over national youth broadcasting and has undeniably embraced its responsibility to play a significant portion of home grown content. Much of what is sprayed on the J's is symptomatic of the way any government agency is run and received (e.g. "they don't speak for me", "my tax dollars" etc). Personally, I don't listen to a lot of JJJ (despite living in a "rural" centre) but I am thankful it is run, in principal at least, by an agency not affiliated with corporate, commercial interests and that it is attempting to engage a part of the population that might not otherwise be exposed to reasonable (and often local) music.

7 years ago

jackr

Kestrel, I have also wondered about the "self fulfilling prophecy" thing in regard to JJJ. Some of that shit beggars belief, but i can only assume some of the proud champions of the coastal emo genre spend an enormous amount of time in the tarago.
To revise the last line above, it should read "occasionally reasonable (and often local) music".

7 years ago

melvinsparrow

bit late to the piece, but I've got a few comments:
1. Is it such a bad thing that young/new bands have to go through unearthed to be played on triple j? By basically removing the need for a&r and bigger labels to "discover" new bands, it could only help to encourage more smaller and independent labels to release these bands (after triple J "discovers" the band)...among many others that have gone through the unearthed system, the Jezabels have released their album independently which would have removed some money hungry major label release to be replaced by them probably employing a smaller PR company to promote their album and a smaller indie label to release it, giving a lot more money and control to the band.
Similar with Hungry Kids of Hungary & Art vs Science, who both went through unearthed and who both would've been stupid to sign to a major and instead released their albums independently. I know the PR company AVS uses, a small company of only about 4 employees who would've been insanely busy when their album came out and probably make a tidy little sum from it!
So whilst it obviously isn't a healthy thing for 1 station to be the major tastemaker for Australian music, there is some healthy side effects.

2. It is still possible to get on triple j not via unearthed, if for some reason a new band wanted to. As far as I know, Cloud Control & The Holidays were never on unearthed and both were feature albums, although this was last year before unearthed radio started so it may be more difficult now.

7 years ago

thedfm

Interesting argument but this off hand comment grates me: "What this effectively means is that as it stands if the next Bradford Cox comes from Sydney or Melbourne a deserved audience will probably never hear from him unless he moves overseas."

That's right, the only good music in Australia, whether it's on Triple J or not, only comes from these two cities. What a load. Once again the existing music power structure perpetuated.

7 years ago

Remmy

More air time for local acts is always a good thing. However, Its a shame that this monopoly with have a watering down effect on what we hear long term. Fuck jjj! Fire Kingsmil!

7 years ago

Buns_

Absolutely spot on Whaley.

I appreciate this.

7 years ago

popmedium

Late on the comments but I only just saw this article. Some counter arguments:

- I know a bunch of people from JJJ and not one of them has a desire to be some kind of overlord. I bet if you asked The King he would tell you that he wants relief from the pressure and that competition would be welcome.
- Access to good music in regional areas is a big issue. I've lived in several places where Triple J is all you get and FBi and RRR just aren't accessible. Technological barriers are one thing, but cultural and educational barriers exist too... all of these things influence a persons ability to access decent music and I think Triple J Unearthed goes a long way to bridging some fairly hefty gaps.
- if you ask Dan Zilber if he has trouble picking new music to add he will tell you that the amount of new music he is presented with increases every week and has been doing so since FBi started. Now imagine you're Triple J and you are being serviced by not just sydney bands, but by young acts all over the country at an ever increasing rate. Imagine you're one of three people being serviced too and then ask yourself if Triple J had any choice but to launch a service that helps young bands get their music in to the hands of those who have the power to make or break your career. Servicing is very hard even for people with experience and a decent relationship with Richard. Imagine your a young band with a demo and how heavily the scales are tipped against you when servicing alongside labels and publicists and managers who know the game. I still shit myself when going in to Triple J and I've been doing this for years. Ignore the fact that you have to live in Sydney to have a chance.
- Will Triple J unearthed further strengthen Triple Js grip on the Australian music industry? Most certainly. Is this healthy? In terms of diversity, no, but I don't see anyone else stepping up to the plate on a national level (eat your own shit if you think any of the commercial stations with national reach are going to fill any void). So to me the issues are minimal when you consider the benefits not just for young bands but for music fans in regional or sub-metro areas.

In summary, I disagree strongly with the premis of this article, but I'm glad you got the conversation started.

7 years ago

Willy Wonka

I find the lack of transparency and poorly communicated value proposition about the new Triple J Unearthed radio station's music policy confusing and frustrating.

Stonefield for example. Obviously they're essentially a novelty act. Kind of Hanson-lite. I get it. They won the 2010 Triple J Unearthed High contest in 2010. And they were an Unearthed J Award nominee in 2010. Fair enough. Good for them. But they've since had an EP out through Shock, a single out through Warner Music Australia - and they've played the MCG and Glastonbury.

FFS, they're supporting the Foo Fighters in Melbourne.

So - given that they have clearly now been 'unearthed', on what basis does Triple J continue to allocate them air play on both Triple J AND now Triple J Unearthed? (they were the first act played on the new Unearthed radio station).

Using Stonefield as an example then, what exactly is the criteria for an act getting played on Unearthed?

Do they need to be unsigned? Is it that Triple J think they're great but they can't find space for them? Neither apparently.

My take on Triple J Unearthed is this - regular radio listeners will not buy the current value proposition which is "24/7 demos from bands you've never heard of". And I suspect Triple J knows this, otherwise they wouldn't risk cannibalising the Triple J audience. Only musicians and bands will listen to it. But then only for a few months until they get just as frustrated by the same lack of transparency around the music policy there's always been with Triple J.

More generally, I genuinely believe Richard KingPin and the top brass at Triple J have set Australian music back 20 years. From an international perspective, there isn't really an Australian music "industry". The market in Australia is so small it can only sustain a handful of artists per genre. How many acts on Triple J rotation over the last 10 years have gone on to do any kind of business outside of Australia? If Triple J's remit is to support and promote Australian artists, artists that have the potential to go on and have sustainable careers flying the flag for Australian music world wide, the data shows they have a incredibly piss poor track record.

It vexes me that Richard Kingsmill portrays himself as a weird hybrid between Simon Cowell and John Peel. If he was an A&R guy (especially anywhere other than Australia) he'd have been sacked a very long time ago. The vast majority of Australian artists supported by Triple J have little or no potential for careers outside of Australia. Triple J continue to back the wrong kinds of artists. The station has a very distinctive sound to it's music programming. Tune in today and it sounds like your listening to the same station 10 or more years ago.

7 years ago

irreconcilable

As a majority, I think people that stumble upon this article may be disgruntled musicians looking for some sort of resilience to what seems like the only channel of getting your music out there. Every article that proposes to question the J's position in the Australian music industry has invited meaningful discussion and the organisation have made their day to day direction no conspiracy.
However what is still perplexing, is to hear from musicians first hand speak of the things they or their label have had to do to seconder the support of King. Imagine an ocean liner cruise, all fees covered to ensure full promotion of an act hardly sounds like it fits into a government funded initiative (utilising public money).
Furthermore it seems as though there are too many questionable linkages for the same record company rep over and over again to have produced or been affiliated with the three bands on unearthed promotion clips. Boy and Bear, Stonefield and Art Vs Science. yes daddy is a lawyer and we have a yacht that both me and the king can sail off to find when oceans become stagnant

7 years ago

Tex

Three things:

1) This is fucking excellent. The article was fantastic. One day I'll read all the comments.

2) People that say 'The J's' instead of 'Triple J' wear singlets with long arm holes to the Big Day Out or are Tom & Alex

3) People that still call it '2 Double Jay' are my dad.

Thank you

7 years ago

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