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Triple J Week – Thursday 28 October

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Part of the reason to listen to Triple J for the week was to try and get a handle on the amount of cross-promoting it does.  How Triple J gets away with it has always been something that no one has ever been able to properly answer whenever I’ve mentioned it in a music forum.

If Triple J wants to plug its own radio shows that’s fair enough, and it can probably also get away with plugging Triple J  TV programs on the various ABC television channels. The big mystery for me has always been related to its advertising for its magazine, recently renamed from JMag to Triple J Magazine, its advertising of gigs that it’s promoting, and its advertising for its various compilation albums, with the recently released Like A Version compilation album being a good example. These are all commercial ventures and ABC isn’t a commercial company, funded instead by the tax payers. If say Rolling Stone wants to advertise on radio or TV it’s going to be paying a fair dollar to promote itself, same with anyone releasing a compilation album. Triple J Magazine gets that advertising for free, with Like A Version and the Hottest 100 CDs and DVDs getting free national radio promotion.

With regular jingles and plugs throughout the day about Triple J’s gig guide and the shows and festivals that it presents, my inquisitive mind has always been wondering how they decide to ‘present’ one show over another and what’s in it for them. From what I’ve been told (and maybe someone will correct me), when street press ‘presents’ shows it’s usually tied in with buying advertising in said magazine. Obviously Triple J doesn’t do this, so what’s in it for them to relentlessly plug shows for bands like The National, as they have been doing this week? Presumably its access and freebies, which is a lot cheaper than having to pay for adverts on commercial radio.

However, the aim to keep a log of jingles and plugs as well as the songs didn’t go exactly to plan, partly because I kept forgetting to add them to the list, partly because I couldn’t make my mind up whether I should only include the pre-recorded jingles or whether I should have also included each time a DJ plugged it. As a rough guide, each day I was managing (when I remembered) to log in the region of 10 advertising jingles for the magazine, the gigs being presented and the Like A Version CD and DVD, with a load of plugging and giveways throughout the week on top of this.

How Triple J gets away with advertising in the way it does is still something that really interests me, so feel free to comment below if you’ve got any answers.

Do I need to tell you anything about Thursday’s 9am to 5:30pm playlist? I guess the most interesting thing was that acts from Melbourne dominated the Australian songs played during the day, more than twice the amount of songs from Sydney bands.

County Total Percentage
Australia 45 42.86%
USA 23 21.90%
UK 19 18.10%
Canada 6 5.71%
New Zealand 2 1.90%
Sweden 2 1.90%
Belgium 2 1.90%
UK 1 0.95%
Denmark 1 0.95%
Germany 1 0.95%
France 1 0.95%
Jamaica 1 0.95%
Italy 1 0.95%
Total 105 100.00%

A couple of songs from prior to Triple J’s normal Year Zero of 1991 were nice surprises: ‘That’s Entertainment’ by The Jam from 1980 and ‘Slave Master’ by the late, great Gregory Isaacs from 1979 proving that there was good music around before Nirvana.

Year Total Percentage
2010 80 76.19%
2009 9 8.57%
2008 1 0.95%
2007 6 5.71%
2006 2 1.90%
2005 2 1.90%
2004 1 0.95%
2003 1 0.95%
1994 1 0.95%
1980 1 0.95%
1979 1 0.95%
Total 105 100.00%

Brisbane artists were still behind Perth in fourth and a measly four Brisbane bands being played over the 8 ½ hours. The other thing I’ve noticed during the week is Triple J have played more songs from Canada than Brisbane. Triple J loves Canadian music.

City Total Percentage
Melbourne 20 44.44%
Sydney 9 20.00%
Perth 6 13.33%
Brisbane 4 8.89%
Blue Mountains 2 4.44%
Ballarat 1 2.22%
Adelaide 1 2.22%
Lismore 1 2.22%
Elcho Island, NT 1 2.22%
Total 45 100.00%

The four songs played (again assuming that Washington is a Brisbane act) were:

  • ‘Pennies’ – The Gin Club
  • ‘Cement’ – Washington
  • ‘Bad Guys’ – Bleeding Knees Club
  • ‘Coming Around’ – Hungry Kids Of Hungary

10 Responses to Triple J Week – Thursday 28 October

  1. Darragh November 1, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Justin, great series. I wonder if the big wigs in the JJJ offices are reading. Probably not – they only like things from Melbourne and Canada.

    Interested to read a summary at the end of it all – something we that defines the whole week so we can shove it in the radio’s faces.

  2. ed November 1, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Yeah a summary will be on its way, hopefully in the next day or two. Combining the 5 days data has been really interesting.

  3. Darragh November 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Perhaps one of the reasons Brisbane musicians keep moving to Melbourne. Greater chance of JJJ coverage!

  4. chuck November 2, 2010 at 8:43 am

    at first I thought ‘yawn..”
    then I thought.. the stats are interesting….
    then i thought “yawn” again..
    I think JJ and JJJ have done amazing things for aust music, sometimes they go months or years without hitting the mark, but when they do its dang good.
    The tv show “Recovery” always amazed me for pushing the boundaries of ABC policy.. A kids show at 9am on sat morning timeslot playing the music they did… nice 🙂
    But how many aust bands exploded during that time.. custard/ gurge /finger .. all got fantastic exposure.
    Sometimes if the results are good its best not to pick at the machine.. no harm in examining things.. just dont tell the mum and dads listening to radio national what those dirty lil potty mouths on youth radio are getting up too 😉

  5. ed November 2, 2010 at 10:43 am

    If triple j are going months or years without hitting the mark, does it suggest that having a quota that dictates the minimum amount of Australian music that has to be played is a bad thing? There are always peaks and troughs in geographic music scenes. If you dig down enough you’ll always find something good, but I think the scope of music being played on triple j is fairly limited; it’s all very radio friendly. I think triple j’s role primary role model under Kingsmill is definitely the BBC’s Radio 1 and, a lot like the current BBC, as ABC doesn’t rely on commercials to exist it doesn’t need to be as safe as it is in its choices.

    I have limited knowledge of triple j but remember being really impressed when I first started listening in 2004. It’s not as good now as it was then, although everyone else tells me it wasn’t as good six years ago as it was in the past anyway. So Recovery is way before my time as well. It sounds a bit like BBC 2’s Snub TV – being able to come home after school on a Monday, turn the TV on at 6pm and see bands like My Bloody Valentine, Pixies, Spaceman 3, Sonic Youth on a national tv program was an amazing, and is an almost unbelievable thought looking back at it from 2010. It just wouldn’t happen now.

  6. ed November 2, 2010 at 10:51 am

    It is one of the great mysteries though, as how many Brisbane bands have relocated to Melbourne and then gone on to great things (excluding Washington). And even if you can name some bands what’s the proportion compared to everyone who moved away?

  7. Darragh November 2, 2010 at 11:00 am

    What Chuck refers to here is the Triple J of 10+ years ago, which I agree, was an excellent radio station that played interesting music and had interesting shows. Recovery was also awesome – yet it was axed.

    Now its been watered downed, jingle-fied and believes it needs to compete with the likes of Nova and Austereo – when really, it doesn’t. A part of me dies every time I hear the new Kings of Leon track (which really, it doesn’t, since I don’t listen to the station anymore).

  8. Alessandro November 2, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I am surprised to find an Italian song in the Triple J playlists. Can you tell me witch Italian song was played? Thank you very much.

  9. ed November 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    It was ‘House No. 84’ by The Bloody Beetroots. They’ve been played quite a lot out here in Australia

  10. chuck November 3, 2010 at 12:50 am

    4zzz shat itself as jjj went national.. it had no budget (probably still hasnt) to compete with a machine like jjj.
    Im probably missing a big part of this conversation as i only occasionaly listen to jjj now… mostly afternoons at home. I think im a bit old for its target audience… and maybe that’s the point here after all.. Its missing everyones target trying to be a nova/ austereo version of its old self. If im in a car 4zzz is on the dial nowdays.. after many years absence I now think the old Zed machine is in a good place. Thank god it survived those lean years.. . I’m almost ready to resubscribe after nearly 20 years!
    I had a conversation with a JJJ exec once and mentioned that its dance heavy rotation of songs didnt really hit a brisbane audience. This was pre-family / disco biscuit brisbane when hard drinkin city boys never ventured into the valley for fear of getting gay germs.. . The exec told me that dance was huge in sydney/ melbourne and adelaide and brisbane would catch up! The harsh reality is Brisbane is still a small fish in a big pond… Joh shoulda annexed QLD when he had the chance.. Its no going back now.
    I read an interview that had Dave Graney moaning that JJJ would never again play his music.. He had a good run at one point in his career..The imperfect JJJ gives many opportunities but on reflection now agree with the thread here that the chances of playing are getting slim for Brissy folk.. Go hard you hungary kids! play the chance for all its worth while the good times roll!!

    Ed – keep an eye at Rage during January. They often replay old Recovery episodes on late saturday night.. well worth a dvd-r or 2 to see what you missed. Im a fan of the show — have many old vhs tapes kicking about.. but its real gem was how the hell they got an ok from management for that format on a kids qouta timeslot/ budget. They outa put that first submission in the national library as the great rock n roll swindle !

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