Tuesday, 2nd October 2012 by Simon Hilliard
The Telegraph ran an interesting, and seemingly unconfirmed, story this morning regarding a new music service from the BBC, called ‘Playlister’.
It’s billed as a ‘music equivalent’ of the iPlayer, making tracks and albums available to license fee payers for free, on-demand streaming. The BBC is supposedly in talks with existing streaming services Spotify, iTunes and Deezer as potential partners to power the service. This is an effort to “side-step the problem” of licensing content from record labels and artists.
This seems strange, iTunes, Spotify and Deezer are all primarily direct to consumer. 7digital* would be a more logical partner, given the company has an API that allows partners to build digital music download and streaming services and already works with hundreds of partners, Samsung, HTC and Toshiba to name a few.
Going down the partner route is a wise approach for the BBC. It can take a long old time to negotiate licensing deals with individual majors, independent labels and collection societies – even with the clout of the BBC behind you. If the service is to launch in late 2012/early 2013, a partnership seems like the only option – unless negotiations are already near complete.
More interesting is what music catalogue Playlister could potentially offer. The Telegraph’s piece simply says access to “hundreds of thousands of music recordings”, but also notes the BBC has planned to offer a “vast archive of music recordings public in the past, but has always run into trouble clearing the rights.”
So there’s two potential catalogues on the table; one of major label content that could be supplied by a partners and a second of the BBC’s own recordings. There must be a ton of live and ‘unplugged’ style BBC recordings just waiting to be unearthed, which would align to the BBC’s strategy with iPlayer. If this is the plan, what do they need Spotify at all?
As is usually the case with early-days stories, the plan is still being hammered out. The Telegraph notes details are still being “formulated” and the BBC’s official comment is a polite ‘no comment thanks’, “The BBC is regularly in conversation with digital music providers about how we strengthen radio’s position as the number one place for discovering music in the UK”.
It all sounds very early on, but if Playlister goes ahead this could be a big boost for music streaming – giving it the same shot in the arm the iPlayer gave on-demand TV in 2007. Rock on BBC.
* disclosure: my company represents 7digital
Category: BBC, Digital publishing, Technology
Tags: 7digital, bbc, digital music, iplayer, Katherine rushton, Paid content, playlister, spotify, telegraph
[...] week the Telegraph published a seemingly unconfirmed story about the BBC launching a music streaming service. There was talk of potential partnerships with Spotify and iTunes, and the vast BBC archive being [...]
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