Adult album alternative

Adult album alternative

Adult album alternative (also triple-A, AAA, or adult alternative) is a radio format. A spinoff from the album-oriented rock format, its roots trace to the 1960s and 1970s from the earlier freeform and progressive formats.


The format has a broader, more diverse playlist than most other formats. Musical selection tends to be on the fringe of mainstream pop and rock as well as many other music genres such as indie rock, pop rock, alternative rock, alternative country, jazz, folk, world music and blues. The musical selections tend to avoid hard rock and rap music. Some Triple-A stations bill themselves under slogans such as "World Class Rock" or "Quality Rock". Music selection also includes tracks from albums that are not singles, which leads to the enhanced and larger playlist. Some AAA outlets focus more on classic rock artists, folk and blues while others focus on more contemporary artists & modern/indie rock.

Notable artists

AAA artists take influence from post-new wave British bands such as The Smiths and The Cure, anthemic post-punk inspired sounds of U2, acoustic folk rock (Indigo Girls, Tori Amos, Jeff Buckley, Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple), alternative rock (The Wallflowers, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews Band). The music played has gained significant exposure for artists who are considered more "organic" and songwriting oriented than traditional Top 40 or pop artists.


Triple-A songs sometimes do manage to chart on the Adult Top 40, modern rock, or an adult contemporary chart, since they may first break out on AAA. Additionally, Radio and Records, a news magazine devoted to radio and the music industry, charts stations in various formats including Triple-A. Its sister publication Billboard also began a Triple-A chart using Radio and Records' information on July 10, 2008. Rival Mediabase 24/7 also does a Triple A chart. As of mid-2009, Radio and Records publications were discontinued along with the accompanying charts. As of 2010, Billboard publishes Triple A charts in the magazine and for its premium members on its website. Mediabase also publishes Triple A charts.

Additional charts - including Triple A's only non-commercial airplay chart - are published by FMQB, which also produces the annual Triple A Conference in Boulder, Colorado, USA, an event that grew out of the Gavin Report's Triple A Summit which was first held in 1993. FMQB took over production of the event, rebranding it as the Triple A Conference, after the closing of Radio & Records in 2009.

See also