The Beeb has developed its own music streaming service

But is it a last-ditch attempt to stay relevant?

BBC Charter Review

The future of the BBC could well feature its very own music streaming service.

The BBC recently released its report on the future or the BBC: British. Bold. Creative. Within the document are plans for a music streaming platform building on its existing BBC Music's Playlister service.

"We must evolve our music offering," the report says, "so that it serves new audience needs and habits and allows us to remain a strong partner and contributor to the UK creative sector. To that end, we have developed a digital music proposal with the music industry."

Using the 50,000 tracks the BBC broadcasts every month across its radio network, it will allow all of them to be accessed via the new service for a limited period of time. That period being 30 days, presumably as that is all they are licensed for on copyright terms.

The idea is to offer curated playlists that will introduce new artists, new labels and new tracks to the public, using the resources the BBC has at its disposal.

Curated playlists

"Audiences would be able to access this music via playlists curated by the BBC," continues the report, "and they would be able to build their own playlists based on the music they hear and love on the BBC."

Interestingly the BBC isn't looking to completely silo this new musical offering within the corporation as it's putting forward the proposal to allow integration with other services.

"Our music product would be the only one in the market which would be fully open and integrated with other digital providers. Users will be able to transfer playlists between digital music products, and access them after BBC availability has expired through third-party providers."

This should mean the work going into the curation of the service won't die after the 30 day period has expired. And it also means that 50,000 track library limit is by no means a stationary target as the library will continually evolve over time.

When you compare it to the libraries of Spotify or Apple Music - with around 30,000,000 tracks each - it does sound rather pitiful, but considering the BBC is talking about putting live and exclusive music at the forefront it could well offer something very different.

Exclusive and unique

"Exclusive and unique live performances would be a big part of our service," explains the report, "whether it's a Live Lounge, a performance from Radio 1's Big Weekend, or a forgotten gem from our classical archive. Tracks will also link back to their original broadcast on the BBC, enabling audiences to discover more long-form radio and television programming."

It would also be focusing partly on unsigned talent, working with the BBC Introducing initiative, as well as promoting classical UK music artists, independent artists and independent labels. "Those who are less supported by the wider broadcast and digital market but for whom there are enthusiastic audiences."

We already have the BBC iPlayer, but will the BBC's newly-suggested foray into digital streaming territories be enough to broaden its user base amidst such furious restructuring and financial threat?

But with a focus on bringing through the lesser lights of the UK music scene the BBC will be adding to the digital music market rather than simply providing another 'me too' product but with a tiny track library.

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