Adult album alternative
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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 and tends to appeal more to adults than to teenagers. Musical selection tends to be on the fringe of mainstream pop and rock as well as many other music genres such as indie rock, alternative rock, alternative country, jazz, folk, world music and blues. The musical selections tend to shy away from 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. Within AAA, there are also variations; a classic AAA station (such as WLKK-HD2 or WXMT) focuses on songs from the 1970s and 1980s (the same eras as classic hits, classic rock and adult hits), while a modern AAA focuses on more recent songs.
AAA artists take influence from post-new wave British bands such as The Smiths, anthemic post-punk inspired sounds of U2, 1990s jangle pop (Gin Blossoms, Hootie & the Blowfish, Barenaked Ladies, Goo Goo Dolls), acoustic folk rock (Indigo Girls, Tori Amos, Jeff Buckley, Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple, Jewel), alternative rock (The Wallflowers, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews Band), and the moody electronics of trip hop (Portishead) The music played has gained significant exposure for artists who were ambitious, intellectual, or idiosyncratic, yet still accessible enough to meet the requirements of mainstream radio programmers who wanted more sophisticated music that wasn't loud or overly disturbing.
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 
- List of adult alternative artists
- Adult contemporary, a format with a much more pop-oriented playlist, that is much softer and not too adventurous.
- "Explore: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock". Allmusic. Retrieved June 30, 2011.