Chris Scaddan, Head of Music at the ABC, said the government-funded broadcaster is looking to roll out a triple j Unearthed-style platform across multiple genres.
Speaking at Music Australia’s Contemporary Music Roundtable in Sydney today, Scaddan said it’s all part of his vision to deliver on objectives of diversity across different genre and demographics.
“[We’re] finding things that have been successful for the ABC, and growing those,” he told interviewer Tracee Hutchison, a broadcaster, journalist, author and Music Victoria Board member.
“Unearthed is a really good example of something that’s an efficient way of servicing artists from the ground up. That’s working at the moment for contemporary music, for younger artists and younger audiences.”
Unique to the ABC’s national youth broadcaster triple j, Unearthed has kickstarted the careers of many of Australia’s proudest exports, including Flume, Courtney Barnett and Tkay Maidza.
After delivering a mini-keynote at the Roundtable today, Scaddan said if a version of Unearthed were to roll out for genres like jazz or classical, it would give anyone who uploads their music direct access to an audience of potential fans.
“There’s got to be a way we can expand on [Unearthed] to make it more relevant in more genres and for different demographics,” he said. “[…] The way that that’s filtered, the way that that’s curated, is really important.”
Scaddan used the opportunity to address comments that triple j playlists have a gender diversity issue. He said 50% of what’s featured on Unearthed is from women.
“[The team behind Unearthed] have got a very keen eye to make sure people from different cultural backgrounds are being represented with the music that they’re making,” he said.
If the platform is replicated on the ABC, it would address any policy and charter obligations around coverage of the arts. But it probably won’t be called ‘Unearthed’.
“Having something like that, that stretches beyond just the younger emerging and contemporary artists, could be really valuable – whether it’s called Unearthed or not, I don’t know,” said Scaddan.
“I think Unearthed is intrinsically linked to triple j and to younger artists. But the concept can be there, and the ABC can filter it through everything it does.”
Organised by Music Australia, the three-day 2017 Contemporary Music Roundtable was held at Customs House on Circular Quay.