BBC Radio 1/1Xtra head of music Chris Price has told Music Week about his support for the BBC's plan to take on streaming services at their own game with a BBC music discovery service.
The BBC first outlined its ambition to launch its own music streaming service back in September 2015, with director-general Tony Hall saying, “We have developed a digital music proposal with the music industry, which builds on BBC Music’s Playlister. It would make the 50,000 tracks the BBC broadcasts every month available to listen online, for a limited period."
Pursuing this new avenue is, notably, something that Chris Price seems particularly keen on.
"You probably heard about our proposal for a BBC music discovery service, which to me feels like a very natural and necessary evolution of linear radio," said Price, when asked about where he sees Radio 1 in five years. "Taking the music we already curate across our linear networks and surfacing it in new ways for new audiences to discover. I’d really love [that service] to happen, what the music industry and audiences need right now is a fair deal and a market-maker and that’s the role that a BBC music discovery service could play. At the moment, radio and streaming, rather than being the strong marriage it ought to be, are like two nervous teenagers eyeing each other across a High School prom. A BBC music discovery service sitting between the two could play matchmaker."
Price stressed any BBC service would be fully licensed. The launch of a streaming service would be the latest additon to a host of new initiatives since Price replaced George Ergatoudis. Other changes have included moving the Radio 1 playlist to Fridays, scrapping the In New Music We Trust playlist and the recent, well-received launch of the Brit List, designed to boost new UK talent, as Radio 1 takes on increased competition, particularly from streaming services.
In this week’s issue, Price also talks about how changes to the networks’ music team and policy will help the BBC take on increased competition and the state of the charts.
You can read the full Big Interview only in this week’s edition of Music Week.