Tuesday 25 September 2018

Streaming giants have set their sights on radio, BBC music boss says

Bob Shennan said ‘our competition isn’t even based on this island’.

BBC Broadcasting House (Nick Ansell/PA)
BBC Broadcasting House (Nick Ansell/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Streaming giants have “set their sights on radio”, the BBC’s director of radio and music has said.

Bob Shennan said that the corporation’s radio output was being “reinvented” as it faces competition from streaming services.

He suggested that streaming, rather than commercial UK radio stations, were now the BBC’s big rivals, saying that “whereas in years gone by, my predecessors would… be eyeballing their competition across the UK radio sector, our competition isn’t even based on this island”.

Shennan told the Radio Festival: “The new competitive set is global. Streaming services are the new best friend to music.

“They have transformed the financial fortunes of a sector that was on its knees. But they have set their sights on radio.”

“That’s why we’re reinventing and growing BBC Radio,” he said, while announcing a three-day, music discovery festival to take place later this year.

Shennan said that UK radio had a healthy future, despite the threat.

“I believe BBC Radio – in fact all UK Radio – plays an even more important role in the lives of our audiences and in ensuring the wellbeing of popular and classical music,” he said.

“In a world of global impacts, only radio still genuinely commits to promoting the new.”

The BBC Introducing live event will help musicians “looking for advice on the next step of their journey” and those hoping to break into the industry.

BBC Music Introducing Live – featuring performances, talks and masterclasses – will take place in London’s Tobacco Dock, from November 8-10.

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