Radio 1's Big Weekend online

Tuesday 3 May 2011, 19:15

Ben Chapman Ben Chapman Head of Popular Music, Radio and Music multiplatform

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#R1BW (picture shows Snow Patrol at Radio 1's Big Weekend 2009)

The Royal Wedding is tied up, done and dusted... and the music was my highlight. It was emotional, it had some new music (to my ears at least) bringing together hundreds of millions of people all listening and enjoying the same moment together. Whether you attended in person outside the Abbey, Buckingham Palace or lining the route, or whether like most of us, you joined in via the TV, radio or internet it was about people coming together to celebrate a single live event.

In part the music was powerful because we all knew it the came from the personal choices that the happy couple had made and it meant something deeply to them. An intriguing insight because, if you are married, you know the music choices as with many other wedding decisions, had probably been hard fought.

Only 40,000 people can attend Radio 1's Big Weekend, making their own choices on the day, which stage to wander to and which artists to see. The rest of the audience can obviously listen on the radio, watch all the stages live online or navigate through the 60+ videos available later on. Our research tells us that they are normally seeking out what they know they already like.

Personal choices in music are what make Radio 1 breathe. The expert view (i.e. our DJs' passion about a tune), combined with a populist, audience viewpoint (charts, sales, audience research and comment) - make Radio 1 in 2011, I hope, just as valuable as ever. It represents the friend (our DJ) and the family (the listeners) coming together. Interestingly, it is reported that these are still the most popular ways in which music choices are decided. Family. Friends. Radio.

Big Weekend gives our DJs a place to curate music in the digital space as well as on air. We are starting with six of our DJs at Radio 1's Big Weekend and their selection of photos, video and favourite artists that mean something to them. Our users' choices will also be reflected for the first time on the site via rankings of the 'Most Viewed' and 'Most Shared' artists.

Encouraging presenters and audiences to curate and discuss their personal choices is a really important part of what BBC Music does online. It harnesses the BBC's role as a trusted guide and helps us build deeper relationships with our audiences on the BBC and in their digital social spaces. Radio 1's Big Weekend site and projects like Music Showcase feature elements intended to make discovery of those personal music choices even easier for our audiences. Radio 1's strength in social spaces means the conversation we can have about personal choices in music is ever more meaningful - keep your eye on #BBCR1 and #r1bw on Twitter and on BBC Radio 1 on Facebook, on the weekend of 14th May.

We are also experimenting with location based services on site, building our own check-in service using Facebook. One of the motivating factors is to understand the safety and privacy issues around young people using check-in services but still allowing them the freedom to brag in a meaningful way to their friends that they are stood in front of Lady GaGa. It also allows us to begin to understand how mobile will help us in the future, what an individual's proximity to others means, whether they are famous or simply a friend at any live event.

Ben Chapman is Head of Popular Music for Audio and Music Interactive

  • To find out more about the Big Weekend visit the Radio 1 website
  • The Twitter hashtag is #R1BW
  • Follow Radio 1 on Twitter @BBCR1
  • Picture shows: Snow Patrol at Radio 1's Big Weekend 2009

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