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More British 15-34s stream music than listen to BBC radio (says the BBC)


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British broadcaster the BBC has published its latest ‘annual plan’ report setting out its creative plans for the year, and its wider strategy. There are some interesting bits on music.

Like this: “For the first time, in October-December 2017 we estimate 15-34s listened more to streaming music services than all BBC Radio (5 hrs vs. 4 hrs 30 mins a week)” explains the report, as part of a section on competition from online providers.

Similarly, 16-24s “spend more time with Netflix than all of BBC TV” according to the report. The BBC also claims that “music streaming has gone from around 10% to around 30% of listening” among young adults in the UK.

Figures recently shared by the UK’s Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) suggested that between 8.1 million and 8.3 million Brits had a music-streaming subscription at the start of 2018 – a figure that doesn’t include people only using Spotify’s free tier or other free services like YouTube and SoundCloud.

Meanwhile, industry body the BPI reported that Brits streamed 68.1bn songs through audio-streaming services in 2017, up 51.5% year-on-year. That does include Spotify’s free tier, but not YouTube.

What isn’t mentioned in the new BBC report, however, is anything about the BBC’s plan – originally announced in September 2015 – to launch “a new music discovery service” based on its existing Playlister site.

At the time, the corporation described a service that “would make the 50,000 tracks the BBC broadcasts every month available to listen online, for a limited period” with playlists curated by the BBC and by listeners.

The announcement led to a swift warning from BPI boss Geoff Taylor that any such service would need to be properly licensed.

The popularity of streaming now could be an incentive for the BBC to press ahead with its own strategy, necessarily more limited than full on-demand services like Spotify and Apple Music, and with careful attention to the views of rightsholders.

Stuart Dredge

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