DISCLAIMER: Just to be clear, this article isn’t a dig at either triple j or ARIA.

triple j is the ONLY national youth broadcaster in the country, and the below findings show that other platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and FBi Radio – which are trying to demonopolise the Australian music market – aren’t as impactful at breaking artists, or nurturing careers… yet.

Whether the broadcaster likes it or not, triple j is still the most powerful tool to break an artist, and ARIA is – and will always be – a reflection of the local music market as a whole.

When Amy Shark, Courtney Barnett and Gurrumul dominated the 2018 ARIAs last week, two things were made clear: the Australian music industry has never been more diverse, and you do need triple j play to win an ARIA.

Of the 20 ARIA Awards that were handed out (not including the Fine Arts and Artisan awards), just one act has never received triple j airplay.

That act is global hit factory 5 Seconds Of Summer, the Sydney four-piece who picked up three ARIA Awards last week for the publicly voted (!) categories Song Of The Year and Best Australian Live Act, and for Best Group.

5sos at 2018 arias red carpet
5 Seconds Of Summer. Credit Ash Mar

Acts who picked up non-artisan trophies including the likes of Amy Shark (who won three), Gurrumul (who won two), Pnau, Ruel, Hilltop Hoods, Courtney Barnett, Vance Joy, Kasey Chambers and Dean Lewis are all played on triple j.

ruel-jplay stats
Ruel’s triple j airplay. Source: J Play

Note: Naturally, we didn’t include the ARIA Awards for Music Teacher of the Year and Best Children’s Album in our calculations, for obvious reasons.

It should be said that Gurrumul and Kasey Chambers do offer some hope for artists who are yet to air on triple j, or who are no longer played on the station.

According to J Play, which showcases the artists and songs that are played on triple j, Kasey Chambers received no airplay on triple j in 2018, while Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu has been played just twice so far.

triple j plays of ‘Djarimirri’ in 2018:

gurrunmul-jplay-2018
Source: J Play

Gurrumul was posthumously awarded ARIA Awards for Best Male Artist and Best Independent Release for Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow). The two wins brought his 2018 tally to four ARIAs after he picked up two Fine Arts Awards for up Best World Music Album, and Best Cover Art for Caiti Baker’s work.

More than that though, Gurrumul confirmed our appetite for music in Indigenous language. He made Australian chart history with the winning LP by releasing the first Indigenous language album to debut at #1.

However, the sobering reality is the three acts with zero and very little triple j play in 2018 (5SOS, Kasey Chambers, Gurrumul) only make up around 10% of the overall ARIA winners list.

As mentioned previously, the findings aren’t due to something triple j and ARIA are or aren’t doing, it’s an unfortunate reality of the local recorded music market, where the only tool that has a consistent track-record at breaking acts in Australia is a lone-player.

At this point, the only cure to a monopolised market – however unintentional it is – is patience. If the local industry is to follow other global markets, then it’s only a matter of time until streaming platforms take a larger slice of the pie and the work they’re currently doing to break acts is felt the world over.

2018 ARIA Awards With Apple Music Recipients

Apple Music Album Of The Year

Winner: Amy Shark – Love Monster (Wonderlick Recording Company)

Best Male Artist

Winner: Gurrumul – Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) (SFM/MGM)

Best Female Artist

Winner: Amy Shark – Love Monster (Wonderlick Recording Company)

Best Dance Release

Winner: Pnau – Go Bang  (etcetc Music)

Best Group

Winner: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Youngblood (Capitol UK/EMI)

Breakthrough Artist

Winner: Ruel – Dazed & Confused (RCA Records/Sony Music)

Best Pop Release

Winner: Amy Shark – Love Monster (Wonderlick Recording Company)

Best Urban Release 

Winner: Hilltop Hoods – Clark Griswold (feat. Adrian Eagle) (Hilltop Hoods/Universal Music Australia)

Best Independent Release 

Winner: Gurrumul – Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) (SFM/MGM)

Best Rock Album 

Winner: Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel (Milk! Records/Remote Control Records)

Best Adult Contemporary Album

Winner: Vance Joy – Nation Of Two  (Liberation Records)

Best Country Album 

Winner: Kasey Chambers & The Fireside Disciples – Campfire (Essence Group Entertainment. Marketed and distributed by Warner Music Australia Pty Ltd)

Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album 

Winner: Parkway Drive – Reverence (Resist Records/Cooking Vinyl Australia)

Best Blues & Roots Album 

Winner: Tash Sultana – Flow State (Lonely Lands Records/Sony Music)

Best Original Soundtrack or Musical Theatre Cast Album

Winner: Jimmy Barnes – Working Class Boy: The Soundtracks (BLOODLINES)

Best Children’s Album 

Winner: Justine Clarke – The Justine Clarke Show! (ABC KIDS/Universal Music Australia)

Public Voted Awards

Apple Music Song Of The Year

Winner: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Youngblood (Capitol UK/EMI)

Best Video

Winner: Dean Lewis – Be Alright (Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)

Best Australian Live Act

Winner: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Meet You There Tour (Capitol UK/EMI)

Best International Artist

Winner: Camila Cabello – Camila (Syco/Epic/Sony Music)

Music Teacher of the Year

Winner: Scott Maxwell (Grant High School, Mount Gambier SA 5209)