BBC tipped to launch Playlister streaming music service


British public-service broadcaster the BBC has had great success with its iPlayer catch-up service for TV and radio shows. Now it seems the Beeb also has some digital music ambitions.

The Telegraph reports that the broadcaster is working on a service called Playlister which, it claims, “will give licence-fee payers free access to hundreds of thousands of music recordings without paying any additional fees”.

The report is confusing, though, because it seems to allude to two separate possibilities. One: that the BBC may be working on a way to make its archives of music recordings streamable. Two: that it may work with Spotify, Deezer and/or iTunes to “side-step the problem” of signing the necessary licensing deals.

The BBC’s comment hints at a third way: “The BBC is regularly in conversation with digital music providers about how we strengthen radio’s position as the number one place for discovering music in the UK”. Something the name ‘Playlister’ would tie neatly into.

The BBC is holding a press event for iPlayer on 8 October, at which more details could be revealed. If we had to place a bet on Playlister’s likely nature, we think clever tech to resolve BBC radio playlists to the catalogues of streaming services, coupled with access to some of its live recordings.

The latter could be offered as a subscription outside the UK, too, like the existing iPlayer TV app.

Written by: Stuart Dredge