BBC Playlister out of beta

Monday 18 November 2013, 09:30

Chris Kimber Chris Kimber Executive Product Manager

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Five weeks ago we launched a beta version of BBC Playlister, our new online music product, and I’m pleased to say that we have now removed the beta label and have released the first full stage of Playlister. There are two main changes that we have introduced since the beta launch: presenter playlists, and integration with our native BBC iPlayer Radio app.

At the heart of BBC Playlister is the ambition to transition the BBC’s music curation from being a purely broadcast offering to a fully digital proposition. This means music recommendations from our trusted guides, our music experts, delivered in a way that’s appropriate for the digital age. Our new feature, Presenter Playlists, aim to do just that: allowing well-known names from the BBC to actively curate a selection of music choices that the user can sample and add to their own playlist.

We also allow you to “follow” a presenter which means we can present a more personalised experience when you visit Playlister. So far we have 12 presenters involved, and we aim to increase this number over the coming months, to cover a wider range of music and tastes. Today we have presenters from Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, Radio 3, and Radio 6Music.

presenter playlists.jpg Presenter playlists

The second major change is that we have integrated BBC Playlister functionality into our BBC iPlayer Radio native applications for iOS and Android. Now you can add any piece of music from a live or on-demand stream directly to your personal playlist from within the app. You can also view your playlist and export to two of our partners, You Tube and Deezer, and we’re working to bring this functionality to Spotify users soon.

This is the first time we have enabled log-in to BBC iD from within a native app. Today we are using a web view to do this, but in future we’re looking at alternative ways to allow even better integration between a native app and your BBC iD account. The advantage with this is that we are now on track to start making the app more personalised, and allowing that personalisation to work across devices. So, for example, if you add tracks via your mobile phone using the app, you can then view, explore and export those music tracks via your laptop or desktop later.

We’re watching how people are using BBC Playlister so we can learn how to improve the product. One interesting thing we’ve seen is how certain TV programmes use music which seems to capture lots of interest. Peaky Blinders  on BBC 2 was one such programme, where distinctive music was used, and many people added tracks from that progamme to their playlist. Another is that our Most Popular view is being viewed far more than our Recently Played view. We’re also seeing many more desktop users than mobile up to now, but we think that may change now that Playlister is part of our iPlayer Radio app.

We’ve seen alot of positive comments about BBC Playlister, particularly on Twitter. With on-air promotion starting this week on Radio 1, 1Xtra and Radio 6 Music, we hope to receive much more feedback via our Feedback email address , via Twitter, or please leave a comment below.

Chris Kimber is Executive Product Manager, Radio & Music, BBC Future Media

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