BBC Radio 1 has been instructed that the music that they play during the daytime must contain 50% of “New Music”.
This ruling was released by Ofcom, which suggested that the radio must focus on airing ‘a significant portion” of the music coming from ‘emerging UK artists.’
The watchdog has also worked on its definition of music and expects that this tightening of the rules would result in a boost in turnover rate of Radio 1 and Radio 2’s playlists.
However, the authority did not work upon the guidelines requested by some other channels, which are BBC’s commercial rivals.
The past system defined new music as any music which was either unreleased or not more than 1 month old. However, as per the new ruling, “A song is to be considered ‘New Music’ for a period of either (a) 12 months from first release; or (b) six weeks from the date it first enters the Top 20 – whichever is sooner.”
The ruling has increased the new music quota from 45% to 50% of the total broadcast, however, for Radio 2 the figure is still 20%. Reportedly, both the Radio (1 & 2) already are playing music over and above the limit – 54% and 28% respectively.
This is the very reason, Global Radio, running Capital, Heart and Classic FM, requested Ofcom to tighten up the guidelines for BBC Radio. The petition said any song that is first played in the station must not be considered new after 4 weeks of its first play.
Another channel Radiocentre, representing Kiss, Radio X and Absolute Radio, also requested that any song must be considered old after six months or after four weeks from the date of inclusion in the Top 40.
However, Ofcom rejected these requests and directed BBC Radio 1 to “severely limit the ability of the BBC to support truly new music”. This was made specific in the case of new and emerging artists.
The authority also offered a chance to the general public to state their arguments, which made the debate more intense and passionate.
“I have a problem generally with the whole ‘new music’ issue,” wrote one correspondent. “It’s no longer music.”
“Simply, there are thousands of small good bands out there and they are not getting airplay when some geek can issue ‘tunes’ which are little more than a software program.”
The new ruling will be imposed on this coming 1st April, and has received a welcoming acceptance from BBC.
“The BBC has always been a huge champion of new music and we are doing more to support new artists,” it said in a statement.
“We will meet the new Ofcom conditions and look forward to continuing to deliver the best and freshest content for our audiences.”
These new guidelines are expected to affect many popular programs including Greg James’ drive-time programme. Time and now, BBC has engaged in developing new and old music and has welcomed all guidelines imposed by Ofcom. This ruling also received a welcoming reception by the radio channel.
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