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How to get Airplay on Triple J Unearthed

Updated on December 9, 2013

Face the Music

This is the first episode of a series on “Face the Music,” the Music Industry Conference that took place in Melbourne, Australia on the 15th and 16th of November 2013. I attended this summit to gather as much useful information for my musician clients as possible. I spent two days running between panels and presentations, often finding it difficult to decide what to attend and what to skip. With 44 different sessions, there was generally four or five running simultaneously. Arts Victoria and the many other sponsors did a tremendous job of hosting this annual event.

Get Airplay on Triple J Unearthed

The Triple J Unearthed Panel

This session was designed to take attendees through the inner workings of Unearthed digital radio. The Unearthed digital services started in 2011, and since then over 5000 tracks have been played.The Panel consisted of 3 of the 7 people who run Unearthed; Ariel Katz (Unearthed Community Producer), Damon Hughes (Australian Music Producer),and Dave Ruby Howe (Unearthed Music Director)The team were very quick to start with a couple of leading statements:-•Unearthed does NOT do any industry favours.•The song absolutely comes first!

Unearthed Inner Workings

Unearthed now has over 45,000 active artist profiles, and receives between400 and 500 songs per week. Given they are part of the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission), every submission has to be screened and moderated before it’s played. As well as assessing the music, this is also because of content and illicit language issues.

Every submission uploaded is listened to by one of the Team. The Team then meet every Tuesday to put forward their favourite uploaded songs for the week. As a result of the meeting, a Juke Box of 20 tracks is created, and these are the songs that are submitted for airplay.

Between 20 and 30 songs are added to the Unearthed play list each week, and this double what Triple J adds.

The Team then filter the songs through to the relevant Triple J DJs, depending on genre and suitable to the relevant show. The Triple J jocks are also trolling through Unearthed to discover their own new Artists.

Every Artist that is added to the roster receives an email from the Unearthed Team.

Profile’s are only deactivated at Artist request. There is no current system in place for deleting old profiles or those without any activity.

Unearthed is designed to give independent music a hearing. It is difficult to check every submission but you are not eligible if you have any major label backing. Independent record label support is allowed

Is there Objectivity in Selection?

To avoid personal taste or a preference for a specific genre influencing the decision to add a song, the weekly meeting results in an agreed selection by the entire team, who’s personal tastes and genre expertise varies considerably. It’s not unusual for the team to take a vote if it’s not clear what should be added and what should be scratched.

Tips for Musicians

  1. Having your song on Unearthed makes it convenient for both Unearthed and Triple J DJs to access and play your tune.
  2. Contact the DJs that play your genre and let them know when you have a new song uploaded.
  3. DJs need information to announce if they’re going to play your track. Make sure you include an interesting bio, photos and a list of your band members.
  4. If the Team think that two or more of your tracks are winners, you’re more likely to be awarded “Feature Artist of the Week,” so upload your best tracks.
  5. Play live does help. The Unearthed Team often see bands at gigs or on the support line-up for events, and then investigate whether that band is on Unearthed.
  6. The Unearthed team are accessible via email, and they recommend Twitter for contact with the DJs. Send the DJs a Tweet with a link to your Triple J profile each time you upload a new track.
  7. Reviews on Unearthed will point the Team to your music. Ariel (Community Producer) reads every review that’s written, so encourage friends, family and fans to review your songs on the website

What’s the Current Music Trend?

The Unearthed Team agreed that there is a currently trend towards Hip Hop and electronic songs. This is followed by a surge in Lo-Fi Indie tracks.

Triple J Unearthed by Sound Music Business
Triple J Unearthed by Sound Music Business


Unearthed run career making competitions. The Team use these competitions as a source of reward for their favourite artists. They do include bands who have uploaded in the past - not just the most current uploads, however if you haven’t uploaded anything within the last few months they do suggest that you send a reminder. Point the Team to your music with a note that you’d like to be considered for competition entry.

2014 Unearthed Website Relaunch

There will be a re-launch of the Triple J Unearthed website early in 2014. The new website will include user profile pages, the ability to upload video content, and better track quality.

Important Note

There is no doubt that Triple J Unearthed provides great opportunity to independent Australian Artists, but I must remind you that when you upload your tracks to this platform you are giving your music away for free, and this must be considered and discussed within your band before you decide which tracks and how many you are going to upload.


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