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OfCom wonders how new ‘new music’ should be

By | Published on Wednesday 24 January 2018


UK media regulator OfCom has announced it is going to have good long ponder over quite how new ‘new music’ needs to be to qualify as ‘new music’. The pondering is specifically in relation to the new music obligations of BBC stations Radio 1 and Radio 2.

OfCom is now responsible for setting each BBC radio station’s ‘operating licence’, which sets out public service requirements. The respective operating licences of Radio 1 and Radio 2 include an obligation to ensure a “significant proportion” of music output is ‘new music’. But what the fuck do we mean by ‘new music’?

Note’s OfCom: “To date, whether a song qualifies as ‘new’ on these stations has been primarily determined by the date it was physically released. In recent years, however, physical sales have increasingly given way to downloads and streaming services, and we consider it appropriate to amend the definition of ‘new music’ to take account of these changes”.

Sounds like fun. To that end, the media regulator has opened up one of those consultations everyone loves so much. “This licence variation consultation seeks views on our proposals to update the definition of ‘new music’ used to assess Radio 1 and Radio 2’s compliance with their respective requirements and to adjust the associated new music obligation for Radio 1”.

More information on the consultation is available here. Let’s all try to get ‘new music’ defined as “tracks uploaded to the internet yesterday”. That’d make things more eclectic on Radio 1 and 2 wouldn’t it? I mean, unlistenable, but more eclectic.