Why can’t there be a Triple J for Canada?
Quick explanation for those not in the know: Triple J is an Australian radio station (and, apparently, magazine) that focuses on what can only be described as ‘good’ music as well as being very dedicated to the Australian music scene. Sorry, dedicated isn’t a good enough word…DEVOTED more like it.
Since 2007 I’ve been enamoured by their Triple J Hottest 100 list, an annual list of the 100 best songs the station has played in the year as voted on by fans. Before the US found Kings of Leon, they were topping the list. Before Mumford and Sons ever blipped on Canadian radio, they topped the list. My favourite discoveries come from the list.
They also run a series of events showcasing international and local artists, touring not just to major cities but to smaller venues as well.
They have a site called Unearthed…it’s exactly what you think it is: indie bands upload their songs, and the show and podcast plays the best of the songs. The ULTIMATE in independent exposure for young, unique, and unsigned artists.
Triple J has contests to find new artists. They reward great music. They aren’t afraid to push the limits of their listeners.
…so, what’s up with Canada?
The closest thing we have is CBC Radio 2. In discussion with folks in the business, Radio 2 has a very clear ‘sonic’ idea of what they will play. They have darlings. It’s like a ‘hipster star system’ that allows certain kinds of inventiveness but…generally only after an artist is established. When I listen to them I like what I hear but…I don’t get the same newness I feel when I hear Triple J.
Maybe it’s because CBC is the national broadcaster. They are spending Canadian taxpayer dollars. Maybe that’s why they’re so limited.
…oh, wait, Triple J runs under ABC, the Australian CBC counterpart…they spend taxpayer dollars too…
…and they do it better. They even have a contest to reward HIGH SCHOOL BANDS!!!
Guys. We gotta get it together. Sure, radio may be ‘dying’ but Canada has crap loads of musical talent and talent that we don’t have the opportunity to hear. It’s like we’re pretending to be the US, and as a result only US bands eek through and make their way to the airwaves. Trust me, I hear it every day at work and every time I go to a show of independent music. CBC Radio 2…we aren’t all Sarah Harmer and Caribou and Timber Timbre…those are the tip of the iceberg!!
In my opinion, either CBC Radio 2 needs to shift it’s gears (though…they probably feel just fine where they are) or we need to fly Richard Kingsmill and his crew up to give an impassioned speech to some patrons of the arts or some investors. Get a Triple J – Canada in the works!
Wanna know my opinion on why the Canadian music industry is in trouble? It’s because there’s no central way to get music…at least, there’s nothing that isn’t so out of date that I’m shocked we don’t hear more Backstreet Boys or Menudo!
Triple J is ‘music now’ even though it’s twenty years old. Someone needs to take a serious look at the station and shift Down Under to the Great White North. Just my thought.
Do you want to hear more unsigned, or independent, or international talent? Are you an active music listener who likes multiple genres so long as the music is good or inventive? Let me know! Maybe we can start a revolution ;)