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triple j vs the Brisbane Music Scene Part 2

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If the original breakdown by city was revised to take out Washington’s debut album, Brisbane would have achieved 14 Feature Albums over the eight years, 6.82% of the total number of Australian Feature Albums, equivalent to 6.85 Feature Albums per million population. Based on the albums/population number, this would take Brisbane down the rankings and below the 7.31 albums/million population for Canberra. If Darren Hanlon is also removed from the list, further reducing the number of triple j Feature Albums to 13, it would bring the percentage down to 6.34% of the Australian total and 6.36 albums/million population. This would shift Brisbane down another couple of places, below the 6.71 albums/million population for the Central Coast and the 6.65 albums/million population reported for Adelaide.

This would make the revised table:

City Total Population Albums per million pop RANK
Collie, WA 1 7,084 141.16 1
Fremantle 3 28,105 106.74 2
Lismore 2 30,086 66.48 3
Albury 1 53,507 18.69 4
Melbourne 75 4,077,036 18.40 5
Perth 25 1,696,065 14.74 6
Sydney 63 4,575,532 13.77 7
Geelong 2 178,650 11.20 8
Canberra 3 410,419 7.31 9
Central Coast 2 297,956 6.71 10
Adelaide 8 1,203,186 6.65 11
Brisbane 13 2,043,185 6.36 12
Blue Mountains 1 162,000 6.17 13
Townsville 1 185,768 5.38 14
Newcastle 1 288,732 3.46 15
Gold Coast 2 591,473 3.38 16

So why has Brisbane achieved so few triple j Feature Albums over the course of the last eight years and why was there a two-year gap between Featured Albums from Brisbane after the Grates were awarded one for  Teeth Lost, Hearts Won? There are four possibilities.

  1. triple j are right and there were no albums of note coming out of Brisbane between 2008 – 2010. Having moved to Brisbane in 2005 the first few years seemed like a really exciting time. There was no end of good music around when I moved here, but 2008/09 felt like a fallow time before it all picked up again in the last 18 months. The music scene is as healthy as I’ve seen it in the six years I’ve lived here, but maybe triple j were right to have a two year gap from 2008-2010 without a Feature Album from Brisbane because there was nothing worth featuring. It doesn’t really explain why Brisbane is so far down the list compared to the other major cities in Australia over whole eight years.
  2. Brisbane acts just aren’t bothered about triple j play. It’s good if they get it, but it’s not a target or a priority. Maybe Brisbane acts are less careerist than their southern counterparts, playing for fun rather than playing the game and trying to move towards world domination. It’s a possibility, but considering every other question at the Big Sound conference revolves around getting triple j airplay, it seems unlikely. I’m guessing there are very few Brisbane bands going to all the effort of putting out an album and not sending a copy to someone at triple j. I could be wrong though.
  3. triple j don’t have much of an idea about Brisbane’s music scene.
  4. All the usual things said about Brisbane; the always-implied Sydney/Melbourne bias, lack of big player labels, big player booking agencies, publications etc. An overall lack of music industry infrastructure that means Brisbane can ‘compete’ (for want of a better word) on a level playing field with Sydney and Melbourne. It still begs the question, what is Perth doing right?

Looking at the list of Brisbane’s featured albums over the last eight years, it’s easy to predict what the next featured album from a Brisbane act will be. Whether it be good, bad or indifferent, the next Brisbane-featured album will be the new Grates’ album, Secret Rituals, due to be released on 17 June. What’s less predictable is guessing what will be the next Brisbane featured album after that; it’s looking like it might be another long wait. Chances are it’ll be on Dew Process though.

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11 Responses to triple j vs the Brisbane Music Scene Part 2

  1. Pingback: Bourdieu and the (non)genre of Dolewave | youth class culture

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