Youth radio station Triple J and members of the Australian music industry have hit back at claims made in a Fairfax Media report published over the weekend, which suggested Triple J has had a homogenising effect on Australian music, forcing artists to cater their songwriting to the station.
“We obviously play a lot more Australian music and a much wider range of genres. Plus we’re always trying to find new sounds,” Station Manager Chris Scaddan told theMusic. “Commercial radio has different audiences and different imperatives. It’s hard to compare the two.”
“We’d much prefer bands to go out and find their own style. There are so many exciting new artists out there at the moment, doing their own thing and making something quite unique, it’s really exciting,” he continued, saying the station’s focus is on “good music” and not a particular ‘sound.’
In the Fairfax report, an unidentified 27-year-old Melbourne musician said that his songwriting process has been distracted by anxiety over whether a particular song will suit Triple J’s allegedly rigid tastes. “It definitely affects bands Australia-wide,” he told Fairfax. “I feel like you shouldn’t have any sort of worry or any other thought except, ‘I’m going to make exactly what I want to make’.”
But Wonderlick Entertainment’s Gregg Donovan, who manages Boy & Bear and Airbourne, told theMusic that Triple J is not to blame for artists who feel the need to cater to Triple J. “I think that artists pandering to Triple J is their own problem and not an issue with Triple J it self,” he said.
“One of our most successful acts is Airbourne,” Donovan continued. “Triple J have never played them and they’re doing incredible business overseas. We knew that they were not a Triple J type artist and we acted according (sic) when planning their tours and releases.”
Boy & Bear meanwhile garner massive support and airplay from Triple J, but as Donovan says, “we still plan our releases based around a flat earth mentality.” According to Donovan, “If we get the jjjs (sic) support then great, if we don’t then we move forward with our plan. It’s not [their] responsibility to make you successful so we should all stop blaming them if they don’t get on board.”
“All over the world artists are worried about getting their music on this station or that station, but all the good artists don’t give a shit,” continued Donovan. “I believe that if you chase radio you’re not being true to yourself…and by the time your music is produced, mastered and released that sound has probably moved on…and you will be too late.”
Scaddan added that Triple J’s criteria are not as rigid as some believe. “We play a wide variety of genres that work for young people, but we avoid sounds that are overtly commercial – traditional pop and R&B, soft rock – that sort of thing…we always judge it on the strength of any song,” he said.