Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to the most common questions asked about BBC Introducing
What is BBC Introducing?
BBC Introducing was created in 2007 to support unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar musicians. We've brought all of the BBC's supporters of unsigned music together under one brand to nurture and give great exposure to the freshest artists across the UK. Your music could be played on our family of local and national BBC Radio shows, broadcast throughout the UK every week.
Every summer, you'll find the BBC Introducing stage at major events and festivals like Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds, T in the Park and Radio 1's Big Weekend. We also invite the very best new acts to record sessions at the BBC's world famous Maida Vale studios, many of which are filmed or recorded and made available online.
NEW - Why can I only have three unlistened-to tracks on my profile?
As of February 2013, there was a limit placed on the number of unlistened-to tracks you are allowed on your profile. That limit is three tracks. If you have more than three tracks that are still to be listened to or try and upload a fourth, you will be asked to delete an exisiting track on your profile to make room for your new material.
This does not affect tracks on your profile that have been listened to or previously broadcast. They can stay on your profile.
We put the change in place so we can be really honest about our commitment to music makers. The reality is it only takes a small number of tracks for a producer to appreciate what an artist is about, and we want uploaders to give us only their best work. With fewer tracks to listen to, producers can listen to more artists and hopefully therefore play more tracks on their shows, put forward more artists for festival stages, Maida Vale sessions and other opportunities that arise on the national networks.
We also think that the process of being selective is a good exercise for music makers. The Uploader is your window of opportunity to really impress our producers and it shouldn't be wasted. Before the Uploader existed one of the most common routes for unsigned artists to get their music heard was by posting a demo CD to a DJ. While the technology has changed, the importance of making a great first impression hasn't, so it's vital you put forward your best work, like you would on a demo CD.
How do I get featured on the BBC Introducing website or blog?
The BBC Introducing website and blog showcase the best bits of what we're doing on air, online and on stage all year round.
Uploading music to us does not automatically create for you a public profile page or guarantee you exposure on the BBC Introducing website.
Other bands featured on the site include those we've filmed performing on the BBC Introducing festival stage or recording a session at Maida Vale in recent years. These bands are chosen by a panel of radio show producers and presenters, so by uploading tunes to them via this site, you're giving yourself the best chance of being heard and considered for one of these slots.
Artist pages on the BBC Music website are driven by an open source database named MusicBrainz. If you or your band exist in MusicBrainz and you are played on the BBC, you'll automatically end up with a BBC Music artist page (like this). So it's a good idea to make sure you have an entry in the MusicBrainz database. Read more about adding your band to MusicBrainz (you will need to register for an account).
From time to time, we also choose to highlight interesting and exciting bands or artists on the BBC Introducing site or blog. Artists are chosen for these features by the BBC Introducing online team, radio programme producers, presenters and the blog editor.
How are bands selected to play on the BBC Introducing stage at festivals?
The BBC Introducing Stages at festivals throughout the UK are there to give aspiring new bands and artists the opportunity to play at some of the biggest festivals in the UK and sometimes internationally!
Not only might you get the opportunity to play the festival but we also aim to record and film your set for broadcast across BBC Radio, online and TV.
The line-ups are chosen via suggestions from all the BBC Introducing shows across the BBC. These suggestions represent who they see as the hottest artists from their patch at that time and is normally representative of the tracks they are playing on their show, some of which are submissions that have been uploaded via this site. So if you haven't already uploaded your tracks to BBC Introducing, do it now! We treat each stage individually, so producers and presenters can tailor their suggestions depending on the festival.
We then get a panel to listen to all the suggestions and decide upon the final line up. These vary from festival to festival but previous panel members include: Huw Stephens, Steve Lamacq, Emily Eavis, Gary Lightbody, Head of Music at Radio 1, Head of BBC Introducing. They all listen and send us their top rated and from this we get our final line up. At some events, we also take suggestions for bands from the festival promoters and local organisations.
So if you do make a stage you can see that before even playing you have hit the radar of some pretty big names in the industry.
How are artists chosen for the BBC Introducing slot on the Radio 1 Playlist?
Since January 2011, there has been a weekly BBC Introducing spot on Radio 1's daytime playlist. You can see the current selections on the Radio 1 website. Head of Music George Ergatoudis has written in detail about this opportunity on the BBC Radio blog.
The process for playlist selection works in a similar way to our festival stage process. Any songs uploaded to us by UK artists or bands are eligible. Tracks uploaded are first listened to by presenters and producers working on your local BBC Introducing radio show. Local teams make recommendations to a panel inside Radio 1 that consists of DJs like Huw Stephens, producers of In New Music We Trust shows and members of the Radio 1 playlist team. Their shortlist is then passed onto the Radio 1 Music Team who make the final decision as to who makes it onto the playlist.
How do I get in touch with BBC Introducing?
You can contact the producers of this website and the uploader tool with comments, suggestions or queries through this page. We can't respond to every single email, but we guarantee your message will be read.
If you want to get in touch with your local BBC Introducing radio show team, you'll find a link to their site on our shows page. There you should find a contact form or email address. Please note, due to the volume of music we receive every week, we cannot provide individual feedback on every track uploaded to us.
What is the upload tool for?
If you're an artist or are in a band, BBC Introducing invites you to upload your music, so that it can be heard and possibly considered for airplay on BBC radio shows all over the UK. We first launched the Upload Your Music section of the BBC Introducing site in February 2009.
How do I get started using this system?
When you first use this system, you need to go through the following steps:
1. Sign In or Register a membership account with BBC iD
2. Click on one of the "Go to your profile" links
3. Click Create a Profile, then fill out the profile page with information about you/your band.
4. Upload your first track.
Once your profile is set up, you will not need to do it again. From then on, you can simply Sign In to your BBC iD membership, click "Go to your profile" and upload more tracks. You can update your profile information whenever you like.
What are the Terms and Conditions?
The terms and conditions for submitting music on the BBC Introducing Uploader are available here.
When I submit music to you, does that mean you own it?
No. When you agree to the Terms and Conditions and upload music to us, you aren't signing over any ownership rights.
Do I have to live in the UK?
Yes. You can only upload music to BBC Introducing if you're based in the UK. You'll need to enter a valid UK postcode, so that we can work out which Introducing radio show is closest to you.
If you're based outside the UK and still want your music to be heard by the BBC, you can of course send a demo CD to your chosen programme or DJ, or email them a link to a site where they can hear your tunes. You should find the relevant contact details on the radio station or programme's web pages.
Why do I need to register?
We need to store certain details about you as an artist, such as your name, location and email address. The system stores this information so that you don't have to repeatedly re-send it when you upload more tracks. Registering also helps us to keep in touch with you about how your music is progressing once we receive it.
BBC Online has a registration system called BBC iD that everyone who makes sites on bbc.co.uk can tap into. It lives on a different server, which is why it looks slightly different.
I forgot my login details - can you help?
If you can't remember the username or password which you set up to log into your BBC iD membership, please read this advice from BBC iD.
What information do I need to provide and why?
When you create your artist profile, there are a number of fields for you to fill out. This is your opportunity to tell us about yourself, your band and your music. You can tell us as much or as little as you like, but bear in mind it helps our DJs and producers get a feel for who you are and what you're all about. Some of the information you provide might therefore be read out on air if you get broadcast, so make sure it's up to date.
The Artist Name and Postcode fields are mandatory, but all others are optional. If you want to, you can provide a contact phone number. This will help our producers get in touch with you if they want to invite you to record a session or to do an interview on air.
If you have one, telling us your 9 digit PRS for Music ID number (also known as a CAE number) will make it simpler for us to tell PRS for Music what royalties you are owed if your tracks get broadcast. For the same reason, we request the name of the songwriter(s) for every track you upload. Just to be clear, you don't need to be a member of PRS for Music to upload your music to BBC Introducing. It won't affect your chances of being played if you're not. Other services are available that you can help collect any royalties you are owed.
Remember you can sign back in and edit your profile any time you like to update or remove the information you've provided.
How do I delete my profile from the system completely?
If you want us to remove all of your tracks and your complete profile from our servers - for instance, if your band has now split up - that's fine. All you need to do is contact us to ask us to remove your profile.
Remember, the email address you use to Sign In to BBC Online will still be registered separately, unless you choose to also delete your BBC iD membership account. You can do that here.
Can I upload a cover or remix?
Generally, no. We can only consider original material for airplay on BBC Introducing shows or podcasts, so please don't upload covers of songs written by someone else.
If you've remixed a song, you can only upload it to us if you have obtained all the correct clearances and permissions for any samples you have used from the original writer(s) and copyright holder(s). There's more advice about sampling in our advice pages.
Can I upload songs which feature swearing?
While you can upload tracks with swearing or adult content, it makes it tricky for our radio shows to play the tracks on air without first having to edit them. So, if you have clean radio edits that you can upload instead, please do.
Is there a limit to the size of file I can upload?
Yes - each MP3 file you upload must be less than 25MB in size.
In what format should I upload music?
Please upload your music in MP3 format only (filename must be *.MP3). Any other formats will be rejected. Remember, your music may end up being played on a BBC radio show, so try to send the highest quality MP3s you can. The bit rate of your tracks should be 192kbps stereo or higher - ideally, 320kbps - at Constant Bit Rate (CBR).
If you've got your songs recorded on an audio CD, you'll need to 'rip' the contents of the CD onto a computer using software like Windows Media Player or iTunes. Check the program settings first - we recommend first ripping from CD to WAV, so that you have a fully quality digital version of each song.
I uploaded the wrong thing - can I edit or delete my tracks?
Yes. For any tracks you have already uploaded, you can edit the title, songwriter names and any comments. If you uploaded the wrong MP3 file, you can delete the track completely from your profile, which will also remove it from our system.
Remember, you can only upload three tracks in any 30 day period. If you upload a track and delete it before it gets listened to by anyone, your limit will be adjusted accordingly so that you can replace the track with another.
However, if you upload a track and it has been listened to, deleting it from your profile will not increase the number of tracks you have left to upload that month.
Why can I only upload 3 tracks per month?
The 3 tracks per month limit is designed to keep things fair for everyone, and to make sure that BBC producers aren't overloaded with more music than they can listen to. We reckon most bands/artists know which three of their tracks are the best, and those are the tracks we want you to send us. Think of it like a virtual demo tape. Remember, you don't have to upload three at once; you can split your tracks over the 30 days, if you like.
In January 2013, there will be a limit imposed on the number of unlistened-to tracks you can have on your profile. For more information on this and how it may affect you please read our blog post on the subject.
It says my track is a duplicate - what does that mean?
If an exact match of the file you're trying to upload already exists in our system, you'll see a warning message and you will not be able to upload the track again. First check your profile page to see which tracks you've uploaded already - for each track, you can see the filename of the MP3 you submitted next to the green 'Uploaded' icon.
If the track you're trying to submit is deemed to be a duplicate, but you don't see it listed on your profile page, it's possible you uploaded it previously when signed into a different profile (using another BBC iD membership). If you're in any doubt, drop us a line and we'll look into it for you.
Where can I see the tracks I've uploaded and their status?
You can see the tracks you've already uploaded on your profile page. Just Sign In to your BBC iD membership and click on "Go to your profile". You'll see a list of your tracks at the bottom of the page, below your profile information.
Next to every song you've uploaded, you'll see its status - Uploaded, Listened, Broadcast or Problem. Whenever the status of your track changes, we'll automatically send you an email. You can expect a notification email from us if:
- Someone listens to one of your tracks
- We discover there's a technical problem with one of your tracks
- One of your tracks is broadcast on any BBC Introducing radio show
- We need to remove your track from our system (to keep our servers happy, we periodically remove old songs that were listened to but never broadcast and which have seen no activity for a long time)
What happens when I submit my music?
Once the upload process is complete, you'll see the track appear on your profile page. Using the postcode you give us when you register, we automatically notify your local BBC Introducing show whenever you upload a track. If there isn't a show based in your home town, don't worry; we'll notify the show closest to you, based on your postcode.
We also notify the specialist national programme team you chose on your profile. Currently you can choose between Friction on Asian Network, DJ Target on 1Xtra and Radio 3's Jazz on 3. Please ensure your music is suited to the programme you select - if in doubt, listen to the show to hear the kind of music they play normally. If none of them suit your style of music, select 'No Preference'. You can change this preference setting in future by editing your profile, but this will only take effect for any future uploads, not those you've already submitted.
You cannot choose to notify Radio 1 or BBC 6 Music about your music when you upload tracks. This allows us to carefully select and filter songs upwards through our family of shows via recommendations between DJs, and not bombard the team at Radio 1 or BBC 6 Music with every track in the whole country.
Who will listen to the music I upload?
Presenters, producers and assistants working on our local and national radio shows around the country all have access to listen to the music you upload via a system at our end.
Your tracks are most likely to be listened to first by someone working on your local BBC Introducing show or the national programme you chose to target when you registered. As soon as this happens, we'll send you an email to let you know.
We also have a special team of music-loving staff which who have volunteered from around the BBC to help listen to the tracks uploaded every week. Members of this panel don't work directly on a show, but it's their job to spot the very best tunes and flag them up immediately to radio show teams for airplay consideration. The decision to broadcast your song still rests with show teams. If your track is listened to first by a member of this panel, we'll let you know via email.
Will I be told if my music is played on air?
Yes. If one of the songs you've uploaded to us gets broadcast on the radio, you should receive an email from us and the status of your track will also be updated on your profile page. This may take place after the show you've been played on has been broadcast.
How long does it take to listen to my music?
Because of the volume of music submitted through the Uploader we advise artists that it can sometimes take up to 6 months to get heard. If you have been waiting longer than this, please get in contact with us through the Contact page.
I've not received a response, is that a bad sign?
No, not at all. If you uploaded tracks to us a while ago and they haven't been listened to yet, don't lose heart; because of the vast amount of music we get sent every day, sometimes it can take a long time before a DJ or producer listens to your track. Don't worry, your music won't 'expire', it will be stored in the system at our end so that BBC Introducing teams can listen to it in due course. As soon as someone does listen, you'll receive a notification email and the track status will be updated on your profile.
How can I improve my chances of getting airplay?
There's no easy answer here. Obviously, we can't play every track that we receive. So try not to be too discouraged if your tracks are listened to but don't get broadcast. There are plenty of other avenues out there to explore, and in the Advice section of our site you'll find loads of short videos from industry experts and established musicians that might give you some pointers about other ways to get you and your music noticed.
Remember, first impressions count. Think of your profile in our system like a demo CD. You wouldn't burn off unfinished songs to CDs, bung them into envelopes with zero information, then post them out to A&R teams and radio producers around the country... would you? Hope not. If the first thing a producer hears is a badly recorded demo, it might put them off considering the tracks you upload in future. On the other hand, if the song isn't good enough quality to broadcast, but shows the making of a cracking tune, the producer might get in touch with you to ask for more. Weigh this up - and if you really want to upload tracks which aren't quite polished yet, you might want to consider emailing your local show in advance to warn them and explain your approach.
So, think carefully about what you submit. Make sure you're 100% happy with the tracks you've recorded before you upload them to us, and fill out your biog on your profile with a decent amount of info about you and your music, enough to give our radio teams a flavour of what you're all about and something read out on air.
Want more advice? Over at BBC Surrey, Melita Dennet from BBC Introducing: The South has put together a page of tips and things to bear in mind before uploading your tracks to us.