Radio 1's music team gears up for new era

Chris Price

BBC Radio 1/1Xtra head of music Chris Price has told Music Week about how a raft of changes to the networks’ music team and policy will help the BBC take on increased competition, including from streaming services.

Radio 1 has suffered a number of high-profile defections to digital services such as Apple Music and Spotify in recent years, including Price’s predecessor as head of music, George Ergatoudis, now Spotify UK head of content programming. But those departures mean Price – who took over as head of music role last March – has had the opportunity to reshape the music team.

Price – who appears in Music Week’s Big Interview slot this week – said he has made the team structure “fit for purpose” by beefing up the headcount and bringing in Matt Fincham and Ryan Newman as editors, Sarah Beaumont as producer and Mel Lewis and Jade Style as assistant producers. One further AP will also be appointed, with the new team and structure allowing Price himself to spend more time on strategy and industry relations.

“The Radio 1 and 1Xtra team has never been more important than it is right now - both to audiences and the music industry,” Price said. “By devolving a bit of creative and editorial and management to those guys it allows us to work smarter as a team. It allows me to have bigger, more meaningful conversations with music industry partners and be a better competitor in this global marketplace in which we find ourselves.”

Price has also announced other changes; trimming the all-powerful Radio 1 playlist committee from 12 to 10 people as well as the return of the DJ-picked Tune Of The Week to shows, in favour of Track Of the Day. According to Price, this will allow presenters to “select one song or artist that they're super passionate about and play their song every single day of the week”.

These changes follow a raft of new initiatives since Price replaced 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 Spotify, the state of the charts – and why he’d like to take on streaming services at their own game, with a BBC music discovery service. You can read the full interview only in this week’s edition of Music Week.

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