UK music bodies express concern over future of ‘vital’ BBC Introducing music discovery platform – Music Business Worldwide


A group of industry bodies in the UK have written to Richard Sharp, Chair of the Board at British broadcaster the BBC, over concerns about the “uncertainty surrounding the future” of the BBC Introducing network.

BBC Introducing is a new music discovery platform that launched in 2007, which has championed various British stars from James Bay to George Ezra, Florence + The Machine, Celeste and many more.

The platform lets artists sign up online, and upload their music, which is then submitted to the BBC’s local radio shows where it’s listened to by the network’s producers and presenters.

According to the BBC, as of the discovery platform’s 10th anniversary in 2017, artists supported by ‘Introducing’ had gone on to release: 14 UK No.1 singles, 68 UK Top 10 singles, 28 UK No.1 albums and 54 UK Top 10 albums.

Following reports online about potential cuts to the network, a group of trade bodies in the UK representing artists, managers, festivals, concert promoters and more, have expressed “grave concerns about the current uncertainty surrounding the future of BBC Introducing”.

They add that they “understand that the entire network of presenters and producers has been placed on notice of potential redundancies, and that the programmes they create may be under threat as a result of wider cuts to the BBC’s network of local radio stations”.

In their letter to the BBC this week, they call Introducing “a fundamental cog in the machine of the grassroots sector”.

Elsewhere in the letter, the trade bodies claim that “BBC Introducing has been essential in providing access routes into the industry, with local and regional opportunities available right across the country”.

They add: “We want to impress on you very strongly that this would be a fundamental blow to the health of the entire grassroots sector. New and emerging artists already face significant obstacles to breaking into the music industry, challenges that are amplified for those artists and musicians living outside of the major cities.

“BBC Introducing has been essential in providing access routes into the industry, with local and regional opportunities available right across the country.

“Whatever reorganisation might be required to meet the demands of the future stability and viability of the BBC, it should not be the case that BBC Introducing is the unintended victim of those changes.” 

You can read their letter in full below:


Richard Sharp

Chair of the BBC Board

BBC Broadcasting House

Portland Place

London 

W1A 1AA

17th January 2023

Dear Richard

The Future of BBC Introducing

We are writing to you as a group of organisations that represent key stakeholders in the live music industry. 

Our work includes consideration of the impact of third party agency decisions on the health, resilience and sustainability of the grassroots music ecosystem. We are writing to you today to express our grave concerns about the current uncertainty surrounding the future of BBC Introducing, the network of programming across the country which throws a spotlight on local and regional artists, venues, communities and music. 

BBC Music Introducing is a fundamental cog in the machine of the grassroots sector. Its network of radio shows across the UK support new and developing music at grassroots level, through local shows on stations across England and the Channel Islands and flagship programmes in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These 32 shows support local artists with local airplay, interviews and sessions and are deeply engaged with local grassroots music venues. They are presented and produced by people with a deep knowledge of local and regional music. They provide local gigs, festival stages and outside broadcasts alongside promotion and awareness raising. This work is not done by any other broadcaster; it is unique. Its reach extends to every corner of the country and it is especially important in left behind communities, where access to music  and music opportunities is already incredibly challenging.  

BBC Introducing is a prime example of what the BBC does best that no other broadcaster can do. BBC Introducing programming directly addresses the core aims of the BBC, acting in the public interest, serving all audiences and delivering impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain.

Despite this, we understand that the entire network of presenters and producers has been placed on notice of potential redundancies, and that the programmes they create may be under threat as a result of wider cuts to the BBC’s network of local radio stations.

We want to impress on you very strongly that this would be a fundamental blow to the health of the entire grassroots sector. New and emerging artists already face significant obstacles to breaking into the music industry, challenges that are amplified for those artists and musicians living outside of the major cities. BBC Introducing has been essential in providing access routes into the industry, with local and regional opportunities available right across the country. Whatever reorganisation might be required to meet the demands of the future stability and viability of the BBC, it should not be the case that BBC Introducing is the unintended victim of those changes. 

Please can we have your urgent assurance that you and the BBC Board understand the vital role of BBC Introducing. We would like to hear how you plan to protect it for the future, and would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you how it can be developed, enhanced and improved to achieve even more for the communities it serves. 

We look forward to hearing from you

Yours sincerely,

Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust

Dave Keighley, Production Services Association

Nathan Clark, Association of Independent Promoters

Silvia Montello, Association of Independent Music

David Martin, Featured Artists Coalition

Jon Collins, LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment

Annabella Coldrick, Music Manager Forum

Kevin Appleby, British Association of Concert Halls

Paul Fenn, Entertainment Agents Association

John Rostron, Association of Independent Festivals

Phil Bowdery, The Concerts Promoter Association

Jonathan Brown, The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers

Jonathan Drury, National Arenas AssociationMusic Business Worldwide



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