Triple J Doesn’t Play My Band’s Music, And That’s Totally Fine
If you're tailoring your sound for a radio station you've already lost.
A couple of years ago my band posted a song on Unearthed and Dom Alessio played it on Home & Hosed, and it was really exciting. Our music was played on national radio! Dom seemed to like it, and we were all very stoked. Since then though, it hasn’t really been played much since, and any new music we put up hasn’t really gotten much attention besides a couple of Unearthed spins.
And this is completely fine.
Sure we got a small taste of national radio love, and it was really cool for a few days (telling your parents that the band you’ve been wasting your time and money on was played on national radio? Huge win), but at no stage since have we discussed ‘tailoring our sound’ to suite a triple j audience. Not once has someone suggested maybe slowing it down for a more Flume-esque sound. We just decided to keep making music, keep playing shows, and keep having fun with that small pocket of people who also seemed to enjoy the sounds we make.
The second you start questioning your sound, and trying to think of ways it’s gonna appeal to a more commercial/triple j-oriented audience, you’re already fucked. Conversely, if you keep making music that YOU really enjoy listening to/producing, maybe other people will discover you through this crazy thing called the internet, maybe they’ll stumble across one of your shows, maybe their friend will slip their friend a CD they drunkenly bought at one of your shows. Or maybe they won't. That is the nature of the music industry.
It also must be pointed out that I'm not just some triple j fanperson who’s butthurt about everyone attacking Richard Kingsmill and the gang. The truth is I even don’t listen to it all that often. I’d rather listen to talkback radio on AM, but maybe that’s because I’m getting old. For mine they play too much Aussie hip hop and metalcore (goddamn that Lana Del Ray cover to hell), and big-up themselves way too much. But I’m also sure people that do like those genres would hate triple j because they don’t play enough of them, and too much of other genres that maybe I do actually like. And big-upping themselves is infinitely more preferable to the mountain of advertising we're subjected to on commercial radio stations.
But what they choose to play and why they play it is their prerogative, you don’t decide what this radio station does or does not play. They do. You can help, sure. Send them a text about your mate’s band, write them an email saying you love this track or that. Fuck HALF of the music they play is locally grown, and they have an entire digital radio station devoted ONLY to unsigned Australian acts. But if you don’t like what they play, go and support community radio stations, because they damn sure need it a lot more than triple j does.
If you started a band with your mates, and get really bummed out to the point you start thinking about changing your sound when a single you’ve put your heart and soul into doesn’t get played on triple j, you really need to think about why you started a band in the first place. My band will probably never get traction on the j’s, and that is completely and utterly fine, because I get to make music with a good bunch of people, and sometimes I even get to play it to another bunch of people who appreciate it for what it is, which is fucking rad.
The band/writer shall remain anonymous because they don't wanna use this as an excuse to get their name out there a bit more.