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Tim Davie Tim Davie | 12:00 PM, Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Pianist Paul Lewis at the piano during the BBC Proms.

Welcome to the new BBC Radio Blog where I and others will be making regular posts on a wide range of topics affecting the national radio stations and music programmes across the BBC. It is a chance to hear directly from myself and the team, and, like the best speech radio, we hope to provoke debate and reaction. Please do leave comments and suggest topics that we should cover.

September in the BBC Broadcasting House HQ is a time when we reflect on the BBC Proms season as well as on our coverage of a host of other festivals and outside broadcasts such as coverage of the Mercury Awards. For many of our teams, it is a momentary pause as they move into a busy autumn of live music featuring such delights as the London Jazz Festival and the Radio 2 Electric Proms, both of which announced their 2010 line-ups last week.

The global boom in live music is a well-documented phenomenon that has continued to buck recessionary trends. The latest PRS for Music Economics report (PDF) showed that after passing recorded music sales in the UK in 2008, live music receipts grew to £1.537bn in 2009, up 9.4%. Recorded music revenues were flat at £1.357bn in the same period. Of course, much has been written about the unique power of communal live events in an increasingly virtual world. Certainly, while I would naturally champion BBC radio and TV as an outstanding way to enjoy live performance, of course there is something special about hearing and seeing the drama unfold live at the event itself. That is why our commitment to supporting an incredibly wide range of live music across multiple genres and sustaining our hours of coverage will be central to my time in this job.

The success of the BBC Proms in achieving record ticket sales in 2010 was reported recently and the festival is perhaps benefitting from the overall trend, although it is dominated by pop music statistics. But I suspect that something deeper is at play. Indeed within the live music numbers there is some evidence that receipts are moving to the biggest pop superstars, while overall sales may be softening. The FT reported a 17% fall in ticket sales in the top 100 tours in the US in the first half of 2010. With this in mind, it makes our spirits soar when we hear that the Proms sold 92% of tickets to over 70 concerts in a venue of over 5000 people.

Personally I think two factors may be at play beyond a general trend towards live. Both of them could suggest that a sustained resurgence beyond pop music may be symbolic of deeper changes:

Firstly, the relative calm of a classical concert is something that I sense that people are beginning to yearn for. To be forced to switch off the smart phone and just absorb something of long lasting resonance, be it of beauty or powerful impact, is curiously precious in an age when instantaneous reaction (tweet, text or instant message) is the norm. Taking it slow is becoming a fast growth sector.

Secondly, I sense a growing but quiet rebellion against the desire to be confined to a fixed playlist or automated recommendations. Of course brilliant algorithms can work wonders for a web service, but when it comes to live performance, or indeed radio stations or museums, we put our trust in great curators and controllers and simply let them take us on a journey. It is this trust in an audience that marks out the great editorial leaders. I think that audiences trust BBC Proms Director Roger Wright and the Proms team. They are hungry to be taken beyond the familiar, to learn and be inspired. I know that by going to see something familiar, I may also make a memorable discovery. Personally, I remember arriving to see Prom 23 looking forward to The Lark Ascending and then getting bowled over by a inspirational work by the little known early 20th century composer John Foulds.

I hope that if you are not a regular fan of classical music or jazz, you may take the chance this autumn of putting your trust in those who are blessed with an innate ability to take us away from the addictive small screen and into a world of more profound discoveries: just click one of the links below and enjoy a concert from a BBC Performing Group or a jazz concert in the next few weeks. Of course, if you can't get to one, BBC radio will be there to broadcast much of what you miss.

Tim Davie is Director of Audio & Music at the BBC

  • There is still plenty to listen to and watch on the Proms web site, including clips of Dame Judi Dench, Simon Rattle and the Last Night. You can also browse the Proms archive for details of what was played at every Prom back to the festival's founding in 1895.
  • The London Jazz Festival web site has a full programme of performances (Friday 12 - Sunday 21 November).
  • The photograph shows Paul Lewis, star of the 2010 Proms. (c) Simon Jay Price.


  • Comment number 1.

    Tim, wise words indeed about the ‘quiet rebellion against the desire to be confined to a fixed playlist or automated recommendations’. Such a pity that BBC 6Music, which many of us had hoped would present a more considered approach to non-classical music than its bigger and more popularist sister stations, is so confined during the daytime hours by such a rigid and damaging approach.

    On recent examination, the most played A/B playlist tracks were repeated on average 17 to 20 times in one week, almost entirely between 7AM-7PM Monday to Saturday. Chances are you’ll hear these on two or three out of four daytime shows. Absurd, and surely something no Radio 3 listener would countenance. Coupled with the fact that the vast majority of these priority tracks are shared with XFM’s playlist, and a significant proportion of the automated oldies are fairly obvious hit singles, it appears you are in direct contravention of the remit to ‘focus on artists or material that is not played much on other radio stations’. Not a happy situation, given that you have a palette of sixty or so years of popular music to choose from.

    It simply is not necessary in this day and age of instant gratification via online purchasing and Spotify.

  • Comment number 2.


    Your comments regarding the "quiet rebellion against the desire to be confined to a fixed playlist or automated recommendations" are music (no pun intented) to my ears.

    Playlist and automated recommendations work perfectly in the commercial sector where the relationship between pluggers, A&R and the radio serves all parties well. The purpose of these stations is to provide 'entertainment' and advertising space. Most of the DJs are "personalities" that do not always have a deep understanding of music and the arts. Nor do they need to have such an understanding.

    For these stations the major label artists fit well. Major labels rarely risk their profits with the unusual nor do listeners of most commercial stations want to hear anything particularly challenging.

    What makes BBC Radio different, in the main, is that it not only entertains but educates and provides quality in this sector. Of the three modern (I don't like the word 'popular') music stations Radio 2 is perhaps the one that is most in need of a playlist as its primary purpose is to provide light entertainment with a familiar musical backing.

    Radio 1 and 6Music however are (or certainly should be) at the forefront of promoting new and innovative music (some of which is picked up by Radio 2 from both directions) Radio 1 is, for the want of a better word, "street", 6Music concentrates on less commercial, more groundbreaking music. Both of these latter stations should and mostly are staffed by people with an impressive knowledge of music and the arts. They should therefore be trusted to know what is and isn't good and what their respective audiences like.

    One final point on the current playlist. The same tracks come around far too often. There are thousands of records in my collection that I've never heard on 6Music even though my taste fits perfectly with that station. And my collection is not packed full of really obscure artists either. So while 6Music is doing a fantastic job (especially the evening DJs like the two Toms, Gideon, Guy and Marc) it is still not having an opportunity to air enough new music.

    By all means have albums of the week, tracks of the day, guidelines regarding types of music to be played and even a recommended albums list. The last of which could be influenced by listeners thus providing an totally unique radio station that is trully in touch with its audience. But the current playlist formula simply doesn't suit stations that have no need to go searching high ratings with a populist mandate.

    The BBC has many gems in its arsenal and with a little work it could have a radio portfolio that is held up as the varnguard of public broadcasting.

    Mike Freeman

  • Comment number 3.

    Thanks for the new blog Tim.

    I was interested by your comment that you sense a "growing but quiet rebellion against the desire to be confined to a fixed playlist or automated recommendations". As an avid 6 Music listener my opinion is that the current daytime playlist strategy is holding the station back from reaching its full potential.

    I'm sure you're tired of hearing from disgruntled 6 Music fans in 2010, but the station's playlist policy is a poor match for its core audience of music lovers who are turned off by the repetition. You also said that "we put our trust in great curators and controllers and simply let them take us on a journey". This is exactly what I look for from 6 Music DJ's and the excellent shows from the likes of Jarvis Cocker (award winning), Cerys Matthews, Guy Garvey, Marc Riley, Gideon Coe etc all succeed because of this fact.

  • Comment number 4.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments LoudGeoffW, Mike, Wivenhoe and cookingwith7. Playlists are obviously hugely important at the music networks (and at 6 Music in particular) so I'm going to ask Paul Rodgers, Editor, BBC 6 Music, to write a post about them here on the Radio Blog. Watch this space.

    Steve Bowbrick, blogs editor

  • Comment number 5.

    Thanks for your reply, Steve – I look forward to it. More than any other popular music station in the country 6Music has no need of a regimented, enforced playlist, and whilst no-one is suggesting that breakfast radio on the station should replicate the far reaches of the music on Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone, a lot more freedom given to the hugely talented staff to ‘curate’ their own shows would be a massive step forward.

  • Comment number 6.

    Some very good points raised by all there.

    One of the other ways the BBC is showing innovation is by ensuring their pay structure provides good value for the licence fee payer.

    Introducing new "performance related" pay (starting with breakfast DJs) means that instead of merely picking up a salary they are now paid solely on results. The results are measured on the BBC ideals of providing "Entertainment, Quality and Education". Obviously, as with any new pay scheme there are winners and losers, but this is clearly a much better way of spending your hard-earned money.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    The lack of an enforced 'playlist' is why BBC Local Radio Stations, BBC Radio Scotland & BBC Radio Ulster 'Folk' programme presenters are able to give us entertaining, informative and widely varied styles of shows. With live guest performances, studio and pre recorded interviews, music from other venues, and even tracks from vinyl we are given an individual take on what the presenter is enjoying, has discovered and their listeners recommend. Long live the freedom this genre of music, in all its guises, gives BBC 'Folk Show' presenters to open our minds and fill our ears with delight. This group of programmes has always encouraged its listeners to 'get off the sofa' become involved in local music sessions, dances and also go to live gigs, concerts and festivals by which means the singers and musicians they feature really earn their livelihood.

  • Comment number 9.


    As Mike and Geoff have already noted, one paragraph of your above blog will stand out to 6music listeners:

    "Secondly, I sense a growing but quiet rebellion against the desire to be confined to a fixed playlist or automated recommendations. Of course brilliant algorithms can work wonders for a web service, but when it comes to live performance, or indeed radio stations or museums, we put our trust in great curators and controllers and simply let them take us on a journey. It is this trust in an audience that marks out the great editorial leaders."

    Many 6music listeners would agree with you. On a daily/ weekly basis we put our trust in Gideon Coe, Marc Riley, the Toms, Stuart Maconie et al, and we are duly rewarded with a a wide-ranging selection of music- often innovative new music, or rarely-heard classics, or archived live sessions, or new acts playing live. It would be fantastic if the controllers of 6 music could be allowed to put a similar degree of trust in their daytime teams, and allow them free rein to demonstrate their talent in putting together a similarly varied mix, without being restricted by a narrow, repetitive playlist. The eclectic Sunday programming shows just how different and interesting radio can be.

    I'd argue that a more varied daytime output, with a greater range of artists and record labels being represented, could only be beneficial for artists and labels. After all, there can't be many people left to be persuaded to buy Blondie's Greatest Hits on the basis of heavy radio play, whereas many of us will buy new music on the basis of having heard it on the radio. (Less so if we've heard it 6 times a day for a fortnight).

    It'll be really interesting to see how this issue pans out, and it's good to see that BBC senior managers are taking the viewpoints of listeners on board.

  • Comment number 10.

    As Station Editor at 6 Music, music policy is not my direct responsibility. However I'd like to offer my thoughts on the relevance of the playlist as it obviously plays such a key role in defining 6 Music's editorial.

    First of all, I think it's useful to note that the playlist is a different entity to 'the core' at 6 Music. The core is the large database of tracks from which music programmers, producers and presenters select tracks to play on air. Presenters and producers often augment these core selections with personal choices, while other shows are entirely curated by presenters and producers.

    By playlist, I mean the group of pre-release songs which are selected weekly by a group of 6 Music management, producers and DJs before being scheduled for rotation in defined parts of the 6 Music schedule. These songs are organised into three sections with A list songs receiving more plays than C list ones. Songs often move up and down the A, B and C lists and typically stay active on the playlist for about a month.

    I do think it is appropriate that 6 Music runs some kind of playlist.

    A playlist is a music playout device which expresses the station's identity. As well as offering some structure to the station's output, it also can express part of the personality of the station. It is a selection of songs which define the station at any particular moment. It also expresses the station's commitment to new music thought to be of interest to the audience.

    In 6 Music's case, it's very important to acknowledge that the playlist is only one component within a broad range of music activity at the Station. It sits there in the mix alongside the core database, live music, archive music, programmes curated wholly by producers and/or presenters, specialist genre shows and requests from the audience.

    It operates at specific times of the day ('dayparts'). Currently, on 6 Music, the playlist does not apply throughout most of the weekend, after 7 in the evening, or overnight. During daytime, there are agreed opportunities for producer and presenter freeplays. Producers and presenters are afforded, within the context of UK music radio, uniquely broad scope and freedom over what music they want to play (see Compare My Radio's data for 6 Music).

    To have a playlist in operation during daytime seems entirely sensible to me. We listen to radio during the week differently to how we listen in the evening, overnight and during the weekend. Weekday listening patterns can be restricted, with limited opportunities to listen, and then only at specific times of day. More digital listening will probably exacerbate this limited exposure. Consequently, people are often only able to listen for short periods of time, and are therefore unlikely to be over-exposed to music which is carefully rotated.

    Paul Rodgers, Station Editor, BBC 6 Music

  • Comment number 11.

    i'm a bit confused about people complaining abut a repetitve playlist - i used to listen to nmeradio all day every day until they junked the on air presenters - i switched to 6 music on a friends advice and even when nme radio brought back presenters, the diversity on 6 music was easily enough to keep me

    like i said, i listen from the moment i wake up until i go to bed so finding a station that doesnt annoy me is actually quite hard eg: i cant listen to xfm for any period of time purely because of the repetitve playlist

    i do notice the odd track thats played 4 or 5 times during the day but generally its not a big deal as freeplay more than compensates and i love the fact that on nemones and lamacqs show they engage with listeners live and also during the day there is a lot of email & twitter interaction - something you dont really get on other stations - especially the commercial ones

    so i'm a happy listener

  • Comment number 12.

    Very happy with Paul Rodgers response. A playlist that largely wouldn't get played elsewhere is crucial to the station's identity and so many new artists have broken through due to gentle repetition by 6 Music which generates the familiarity that will drive listeners to seek more from them.

    We'll all have the odd song that gets on our nerves on 6 but in a world where Radio 2 is clearly becoming more and more about Michael Buble, 6 Music's playlist provides a refreshing alternative that could not exist in the commercial world.

    Gid Coe is where I am as a listener personally but I wouldn't expect 6 Music to totally replace my record collection during the daytime. However, the rot that set in at XFM when "the suits" started meddling and formatting are a concern.

    XFM now describes itself as "at the leading edge of mainstream" whereas 6 needs to stay truly alternative.


  • Comment number 13.

    I like the level of repeats on 6Music through the day. The level for me is neither obtrusive or insulting and it is ever-changing.

    The variety in the evenings is a delight, as are the presenters. As the only music station I listen to with any enthusiasm (and I have tried with many others) 6Music gets the balance right for me - I'm neither insulted by the presenters (ref Sandi Toksvig on the News Quiz the other week - 'It's like listening to someone who has never seen cutlery and then showing them a spoon') nor bored to death, before being introduced to some 'organ music' I have no interest in whatsoever.

    6Music represents a populist stand against the descent into idiocracy that so much of today's radio represents, although if someone could swap Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone for Guy Garvey's Finest hour on Sundays I would be hugely grateful - Maconie's choice of music does NOT sit well with my Sunday dinner.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'd like to back up adeibiza's comments in support of 6 Music's playlist,

    I've been a passionately devoted listener to 6 for over 5 years now, and was one of the folks waving a banner outside Broadcasting House when the station was under threat. It is by far my main point of contact for entertainment from the BBC.

    I listen to at least 25-30 hours of the station a week, usually during weekdays and I appreciate the value of the current playlist structure. I won't lie, I'm very much aware of the songs that are on the A-list, as I'll hear them on several occasions throughout the day. But I rely on the station to become familiar with new music, as well as obscure tracks or beloved and forgotten songs from 20 years ago.

    I'm not a musical philistine, but I do admit having to turn off/down some of the more "challenging" selections from the evening/weekend DJs...I've also made some of my most treasured musical discoveries through the evening selections.

    In comparison, I sometimes chafe at hearing occasional tracks more than 3 times in the same day, but at least as often, I find that something that I hadn't rated very highly on the first few listens has grown on me. I even refer to the playlist when I have something I've heard a number of times and would like to buy or recommend to someone.

    The fuss over saving 6 has proven how much license payers want to preserve access to an eclectic mix of new and old music selected by knowledgeable and distinctive DJs. But I think a carefully-selected and diverse playlist of new music helps keep the station accessible and fresh. For my taste, there could be slightly less rotation of the A list, maybe a bigger C list but I find the musical balance close enough to perfect to wish it were changed.

    I'm another very happy listener

  • Comment number 15.

    Thanks for the response Paul - very interesting to get the inside take on it.

    It's interesting to compare 6 Music with XFM London on Compare my Radio -

    - there is crossover, but not much. Even if you compare daytime alone, the number of shared tracks is small.

    It's also interesting to note that 6 Music's most play track currently gets around 59 plays compared to XFM's which almost three times that!

    Keep up the good work with 6 Music. It's an indispensable service!

  • Comment number 16.

    Paul, have to say to responses appear to come out of a book entitled ‘How to run a Pop Music Station’ by Simon Bates, copyright circa 1980. Read the messageboards, the FB groups. Everyone hates it. I used to listen to 6Music all day, every day at work (back when you had a less rigorously applied playlist of a whopping 42 tracks – remember when it was reduced to make ‘a better understand for the industry’?). Not any longer, thanks to your insistence on reducing that selection and beating us all into submission with twenty or more plays of the SAME track in one week, and the repetition of very obvious oldies via your automated playout jukebox (guess when it chooses Roxy Music, Blondie or the Jam during each show). Thank heavens for iPlayer. Also for Spotify, should people really need to hear that new Manic Street Preachers eighteen times in one week. Wake up to the new technology.

    Oh, and ‘station identity’ via rigorous application of a mandatory playlist? A playlist that overlaps quite significantly with XFM? That’s not what the station’s personality is about, is it – the same twenty or so indie tracks accounting for over twenty-four hours of airplay in one week ? Seems to many like the excessive promotion of industry ‘priority’ acts to many of us. You might want to look at that comparemyradio data in more detail, again - restrict the sampling size to weekday periods and the station’s output isn’t much more diverse than Absolute during that period.

    You response seems to contradict Tim Davie explicitly regarding the public’s increasing disdain for playlist and the automated playout system. Or are only Radio 3 listeners allowed the luxury of a truly eclectic playlist before it gets dark? Popular music listeners not educated enough?

  • Comment number 17.

    Why does the playlist have to be the way to give 6music a daytime identity? Surely trusting the DJ's to use their knowledge and love of music would allow the shows to evolve and over time find their own identities that would both draw in and engage listeners. What sort of identity does playing the Black Mountain single 3 or 4 times during the daytime give the station? The playlist is a throwback to an earlier time and should be ditched once and for all.

  • Comment number 18.

    I love 6 Music – did all the consultation, Facebook, email, petition stuff to help save it – but that doesn't mean I think it couldn't be improved. The single, most effective thing that you could do to make it better is to at least tone down the playlist repetitions.

    I don't object in principal to there being a playlist or fundamentally disagree with the reasons given for having one. However, your assertion that "people are often only able to listen for short periods of time, and are therefore unlikely to be over-exposed to music which is carefully rotated" does not correspond with my personal experience.

    I tend to listen – live or on iplayer – mostly to the evening and weekend shows but also to Lauren's show (or whoever is covering 10 – 1) and bits of Shawn's and Lammo's shows which I guess counts as only listening for short periods of time. I can assure you there are numerous tracks that I've become utterly sick and tired of due to their being overplayed.

  • Comment number 19.

    ne could of course ask why twenty plays of the same Manic Street Preachers single gives the station any more of an ‘identity’ than twenty plays of twenty different tracks recorded by the Manic Street Preachers. Unless the BBC has suddenly adopted the ‘identity’ of the marketing arm of Sony Music UK.

  • Comment number 20.

    Interesting clacque-like responses in favour faster than the normal core Save7/Drop the playlist protesters and intriguing as to the timing of this today.

    4 or 5 times a day for a track is too much. 2 is the tops. If you must define a core current set of music, make it albums, not singles and let the DJs decide what to play from the albums. Allow DJs to individually refuse to play at least one artist if they don't like it.

    How big is the 'core' database? There has been some speculation on thsi and certainly it can seem as if it is the same track that is played from certain artists from the 80s etc.

  • Comment number 21.

    Thank you for your clear and timely response regarding the 6 Music playlist. As an avid listener, I appreciate when management listens to and engages with its audience.

    I have no issue with the concept of a playlist defining the stations identity. My problem concerns the execution of the playlist at the moment and the resultant repetition.

    The playlist as currently implemented assumes the listener in the daytime is only able to listen in bursts. So I really wanted to query this statement you made – “Weekday listening patterns can be restricted, with limited opportunities to listen, and then only at specific times of day”. I have no access to any listening data, but this statement really surprises me. I would have thought that a significant proportion of listeners actually have unrestricted access these days, and can listen to most of the daytime output. This could be the growing number of people who work mainly at home like myself, but could equally apply to other work situations where the radio plays 9 to 5. Lord knows my hairdressers haven’t changed their dial in years, but thankfully I don’t have much hair to cut so I only suffer their choice of station for a short burst.

    My hope would be that 6 Music would consider that many listeners do want to listen all day in the daytime and modify the playlist accordingly so we’re not tempted to switch off so easily. How much effort would it take to limit playlist A songs to 2 times say across the 4 daytime shows? I know that Marc Riley and Gideon Coe go to great lengths to avoid song repetition in their evening shows, and I think this thoughtful approach results in their 5 hours of programming being the best thing the station does in my opinion.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    I rarely get to listen to 6music during the day. When I do I am struck by how mainstream it seems.
    The Core (or whatever it's called) clearly isn't extensive enough. The playlist should be extended to include entire featured albums.

    At present music is driven by the greatest hits culture. Record companies choose the singles based on what has radio appeal. Playlists are based on singles released. The best, most artistic album tracks get overlooked and lost forever. 6Music should rise above this.

  • Comment number 24.

    I have persevered listening to BBC 6Music during the daytime (weekdays) and am sorry to say that the (interminable) repetition of playlisted tracks and paucity of imagination of the “core database” fall far short of what I expect to hear on a ‘distinctive’ contemporary music station. The content broadcast during evenings and (much of the) weekends certainly does live up to the criteria and, to my mind, provides the station an identity of which it can be justifiably proud.
    Mr Rodgers, you maintain that the 6Music playlist can express the personality of the station; in its present form, I would contend it aggravates a large number of listeners. If the playlist is aimed to inspire 6Music listeners to embrace new music, then surely it needs to guard against boring them to distraction. As Mr. Hammond commented: “4 or 5 times a day for a track is too much. 2 is the tops." Furthermore, too much of the 6Music playlist content mirrors that of other stations' playlists; the suspicion that this reflects the influence of industry pluggers at large is difficult to ignore.
    If a playlist is to remain on 6Music, greater care in selection and less rotation of the tracks included might go some way to appease the ‘"growing but quiet rebellion…’.

  • Comment number 25.

    Paul, Thanks for your response but I find it astonishing at the attitude you seem to take to daytime radio. How different you seem to view things to Tim Davie who is totally correct with the statement when he senses "a growing but quiet rebellion against the desire to be confined to a fixed playlist or automated recommendations"

    To presume everyone listens to daytime differently is astonishingly naive - especially for a station like 6 Music which strives for quality and should be doing something different to the other stations. The days are long gone that everyone works 9-5 Monday- Friday and its time the BBC woke up to this.

    I actually agree the station should have a playlist - but the constant playing of the same track four times in 12 hours insults the listeners and drives me - and many others - to hate a song I start off liking!

    The "Core" also disappoints in playing the same 2/3 choices of classics from the past from bands who made many more good records which should equally be played.

    The Trust have stated you should keep 6 Music unique and to put the same tracks on constant repeat - often the same tracks as R1 and R2 i.e. last Manics single - is clearly disregarding this.

    Other than the suspiciously times pro comments following your post - where is the research that the public want to hear the same track played every three hours??

    6Music remains a wonderful station which is why we are all so passionate, but equally frustrated at the laziness of Management's insistence of relying so much on the "A" playlist.

    The stations identity is clear and defined by the quality and breadth of music played - NOT by the constant playing of the same small number of favoured tracks in that particular week!

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    This playlist thing is a classic case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't".

    For a station like 6Music, there's always going to be a more committed/discerning section of the audience that dosen't like it, for understandable reasons (It's mostly mainstream stuff, chosen through a tacit agreement with "major labels" to promote product from their "plug" artists at any given time).

    The other side of the coin of course is that the more casual "daytime" listener (who couldn't give a bean about the airtime stitch-up enjoyed by major record companies) EXPECTS and WANTS to hear some of that sort of content, and would be driven away from the station were it to be "too obscure". Many people DO want to hear the lastet Manics record or whatever without having to resort to another (less appealing) channel.

    Since the station would not survive simply based on it's hardcore "committed" audience, some sort of "playlist" is necessary, however annoying people like me find it.

    I also agree it's necessary to keep a basic anchor "point of reference" during the day and prevent people from "getting caught up too much in their own personal trip" without regard for the real audience at the other end of the broadcast. Yes, that's limiting - but it's also a safety net/risk management/job protection sort of deal. (That sort of stuff is great on web radio, which can be as eclectic and individual as it wants - but probably not on a publically-funded national channel...)

    I actually think the current situation is probably a reasonable "sit on the fence" compromise - there's an element of recognisable mainstream content which keeps casual listeners comfortable, but not to the narrow, excessive, pure commercially-driven levels which drive discerning listeners to 6Music in the first place.

  • Comment number 28.

    I was curious about the thought process that is used to decide to playlist a single song versus an album.

    A recent example of this could be the Jim Jones Revue song "Shoot First" which I think you playlisted last week. In my opinion there are at least 4 or 5 songs on their new album which are as good as if not better than the playlisted song. I would have thought it would make more sense for a station like 6 Music to try and playlist more albums and not focus on single tracks, especially for newer artists where listeners might not be as familiar with their work.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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