Almost exactly a year ago, we wrote about British broadcaster the BBC’s plans to launch a digital music service called Playlister.

At the time, the Beeb’s official comment was “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”. A year later, those conversations have come to fruition.

BBC Playlister is launching in the next few days as a website and mobile site, enabling people to create playlists of songs they hear on the BBC’s radio and TV channels, then export them to partner services including Spotify, Deezer and YouTube, with more to follow.

There will also be recommendations in the shape of playlists from DJs, presenters and shows, including a separate BBC Playlister app on Spotify. The BBC says that in time, Playlister will also be integrated into its BBC iPlayer Radio mobile app.

“Working with partners such as Spotify, YouTube and Deezer, we will once again transform our audiences’ relationship with music and the BBC,” said BBC Director-General Tony Hall yesterday in a statement, ahead of a press event today to dig deeper into the new service.

However, YouTube’s director of content partnerships in Europe Ben McOwen Wilson nails the significance of the move best with this: “The BBC is a hugely influential and powerful curator of music choice across generations and across genres.”

It’s always been simplistic to see new digital music services as sweeping away traditional media like radio, especially as it’s become evident how important trusted curators will be to the former.

Partnering with Spotify, Deezer and YouTube sounds like an elegant way to blend the old and new worlds, and it should also be seen in the context of the BBC helping its mainstream audience discover music services, not just music.

But that’s the theory: we’ll now have to see how good Playlister is in practice. Stay tuned.

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