BBC has to play more 'new' music, says Ofcom

Ofcom has told Radio 1 DJs to ensure that they plays more new hits and less old music in a bid to keep up with changing trends.

Radio 1 used to have to ensure at least 45% of the songs it played in the day time were new releases, to comply with regulator rules.

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But after a public consultation, Ofcom today (Tues) announced the Beeb would now have to make sure at least half of the songs played during the day are new.

The amended BBC Operating Licence - which comes into force on April 2 - is designed to make sure the stations "remain distinctive", the announcement said.

However, an Ofcom has also redefined what counts as "new music", citing a need to keep up with an increase in downloads and streaming and "reflect how music is now released".

Radio 2 DJs still only have to play 20% new music, under the new amended licence which was written after consultation with the BBC.

'New music'

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The previous version of the Ofcom licence defined new music as tracks which were unreleased or were physically released in the last month.

Under the new rules, 'new music' can now include tracks released physically or digitally in the last year, or which entered the top 20 singles chart in the last six weeks - meaning that the broadcaster could, if desired, forego the broadcasting new releases in favour of tunes already familiar to listeners.

The new rules also see an increase the proportion of 'new music' which Radio 1 is required to play in daytime, from 45% to 50%.

"This closely reflects Radio 1's performance over recent years, and as such reflects Radio 1's longstanding distinctiveness," said a BBC statement

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It added: "The BBC's contribution to the UK music sector, through broadcasting on TV, radio and online and broader activities such as live events and talent initiatives, is huge.

"The BBC's music radio stations lie at the heart of this contribution, particularly Radio 1 and Radio 2, which offer significant exposure to artists due to their reach and position as trusted guides for audiences."

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