triple j has made a historic change for artists thanks to an update in the rules around premieres.

TIO can confirm that the national youth broadcaster will no longer require an artist to hold off from uploading a song to digital service providers (DSPs) like Spotify when it is premiered on triple j.

Previously, as discussed in this opinion piece by Luke Girgis, radio want to premiere a song before it hits streaming services. Meanwhile streaming services want all music to go live at the same time and don’t want radio to have the jump on them.

“If an artist manager can win favour with radio, it means high rotation and all the fruits that come from it, or if they win favour with streaming services it means massive editorial playlist support and maybe even billboards in Times Square,” wrote Girgis.

“[…] Streaming platforms have huge power to directly monetise masters and want to be rewarded for that with support by the artist they’re enriching. On the flip side, radio (and in triple j’s case) are still the most culturally influential broadcaster in the country for the demographic they serve, so they want to offer their audience exclusives in return for their rare and highly sort after support they give to artists.”

Now, triple j have notified managers, labels and those pitching for premieres that it will transition from premieres to what it is calling ‘First Plays’. If an artist nabs a First Play, they can upload their music straight to all DSPs at the end the hour they are played in.

In a statement issued to TIO, triple j said:

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“As a national broadcaster, we’re in a unique position worldwide where our audiences listen to our stations across different time zones. Supporting artists and our audience guides what we do. We recognise we’re only one part of an artist’s release plan.

“Song premieres will continue across our stations and will now be known as ‘First Plays’,” triple j’s statement continued. “This rewording accounts for the national time zones, and allows artists to have their songs on streaming services soon after we launch them. We’ll continue to give our audiences the best new music first, and help break artists from around the world.”

The impact of this decision on artists and the industry is huge. As Girgis pointed out in his op-ed, managers and those pitching to radio and streaming for early support of a track are “terrified of getting either party offside in fear of having either pull support for the artist”.

The moves marks a compromise here for triple j as the station gives away its exclusivity window. Now, the sole benefit will go to local artists as triple j ensures they aren’t being disadvantaged when it comes to the support they seek from streaming services.

It’s clear that this historic change will only help local artists and their global release strategy. Well done triple j.