Music organisations express ‘grave concern’ over future of BBC Introducing

Music organisations have written a letter to the Chair of the BBC Board, expressing their concerns over the future of BBC Introducing, which for years has helped support new and emerging talent.

Denise Chaila

Signed by leaders from the likes of the Music Venue Trust, as well as the Association of Independent Promoters and the Association of Independent Music, the letter urges assurances from the Beeb over the future security of the platform.

Their demands come after learning “that the entire network of presenters and producers has been placed on notice of potential redundancies” due to BBC budget cuts.

Founded in 2007, BBC Introducing has a network of radio stations, festival stages and other means of promotion that it uses to support unsigned, emerging talent in the UK. Artists such as Ed Sheeran, Little Simz and Florence + the Machine have all benefitted from the platform, which helped develop them into the significant names they are today.

Cody Frost - BBC Introducing

Cody Frost playing the BBC Introducing at Glastonbury last year.

Sheeran, for instance, played Glastonbury for the first time in 2011 on the BBC Introducing stage there, whilst Florence + the Machine was given a slot on the Introducing stage at SXSW Festival in Texas in 2008.

And whilst such names are weighty, their BBC Introducing opportunities of course came prior to their mainstream exposure, with the platform specifically designed to take a chance on undiscovered talent. Stars of the future currently use the platform to help boost their profiles and provide them opportunities; emerging artists like Liverpool’s STONE, and singer-songwriter DanDlion, both of whom played the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds festivals in recent years.

“BBC Introducing is a prime example of what the BBC does best that no other broadcaster can do,” the letter from music organisations states. “BBC Introducing programming directly addresses the core aims of the BBC, acting in the public interest, serving all audiences and delivering impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain.”

Writing on the need to preserve the platform, it adds: “We want to impress on you very strongly that [closing or limiting the platform] would be a fundamental blow to the health of the entire Grassroots Sector.

“New and emerging artists already face significant obstacles to breaking into the music industry, challenges that are amplified for those artists and musicians living outside of the major cities.

“BBC Introducing has been essential in providing access routes into the industry, with local and regional opportunities available right across the country. Whatever reorganisation might be required to meet the demands of the future stability and viability of the BBC, it should not be the case that BBC Introducing is the unintended victim of those changes.”

Upon hearing the news, other organisations in the industry have written of their support. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), for instance, has said BBC Introducing “plays an invaluable role in the music industry, promoting & supporting countless UK artists with a platform for their talent”.

Inevitably, support has also come from artists in droves. Pop star Sody has said BBC Introducing “must be saved.. I wouldn’t be where I am without you guys!” Hastings band Kid Kapichi have directed fans to a page on Fresh On The Net, which outlines what it terms as the ‘Backbone of BBC Introducing’, and collates a number of responses from members of the public in support of the platform, and demands for it to be left unscathed by any budget cuts.

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