Established in 1995 as a radio talent search and evolving in the 2000s to a thriving digital community, triple j Unearthed has kicked off the careers of countless successful Australian musicians. With over 170,000 tracks from 85,000 artists, it’s the spot to meet your new favourite Australian artist.
The legacy and community of triple j Unearthed continued to thrive even as their outdated and unstable website eroded. Creating a new digital home for young independent artists carried unique challenges. The artist’s space needs to be easy to manage yet flexible and customisable enough to properly represent them. Artists need to be in the know yet not overwhelmed; from competitions they're eligible to enter through to tips on cracking into the industry. Most importantly there needs to be a sense of community - where artists feel they are given a platform and a chance to be heard.
A robust platform which makes it easy to discover emerging independent Australian artists - while still honouring triple j Unearthed’s heritage as a rich, hand-curated community. A place where we can showcase the biggest while still supporting the smallest artists. The website features were our first step towards the realisation of our research findings. This research began long before the redesign and included several rounds of interviews with internal station and product staff, music industry representatives and of course dozens of in-person concept research sessions with artists and fans to better understand their needs and aspirations.
Unearthed provides life-changing opportunities for independent Australian artists by giving them a chance to build a grassroots community of support. Songs can be rated and reviewed by fellow artists, fans and industry experts. Every track is listened to by a member of Unearthed staff, and the best are then played on triple j radio, some going on to feature in the Hottest 100 and playing at major festivals like Splendour In The Grass. Unearthed is one of the few platforms that can kickstart and propel an artist’s musical career, while also providing audiences with a fresh source of undiscovered talent.
In addition to articles offering industry advice and stories from other musicians, artists have a shareable destination for their work. Artist profiles are used to showcase their songs and artwork, links to socials and a display of reviews they have received. Additional information is available such as the artist’s hometown, bio, and band members; but deliberate effort has been taken to elevate the information which artists value most to create a focused space, all based on tested learnings derived during user research. The experience of finding these artist pages is suited to music fans and industry people alike – offering plenty of opportunities for organic discovery through browsing, or fast navigation via a purpose-built search component. The curated content on the homepage (featured artist, artist spotlight and track of the day) are frequently updated, meaning that more artists get their time in the sun plus the taste-making curatorial hand of the triple j Unearthed staff is not diluted by algorithms.