What we've been up to in 2009
My role is to look after the central BBC Introducing site, and things have come on leaps and bounds online since the start of the year. In February, we launched the new upload tool. It's been a runaway success thus far, with Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt declaring us 'the new John Peel' in Broadcast magazine, which is overwhelmingly flattering.
Thousands of new artists have uploaded tracks, many bagging themselves airplay on our UK-wide family of local and national BBC Introducing shows and some even earning a slot on our festival stage.
So far in 2009, the BBC Introducing stage has been to Radio 1's Big Weekend in Swindon, Glastonbury, Sonar and T in The Park. Next weekend, we'll be at Reading and Leeds, with a massive line-up chosen by a listening panel that included Zane Lowe, Steve Lamacq, Neil McCormick (The Telegraph), Jeff Smith (Head of Music, Radio 2), Alan Raw (presenter, BBC Humberside) and Neil Pengelly (Festival Republic, promoters of Reading and Leeds).
If you're interested in the selection process, Neil tweeted his thoughts on all 65 bands on our longlist, rounding them up in an excellent article on the Telegraph Culture blog.
In July, we unveiled a whole new section on the site with advice for aspiring artists and bands. There are over 100 videos from established acts and music industry experts, plus detailed text guides to all corners of the business and downloadable PDFs. Here's a brief taster:
It's something that will continue to grow and we hope you find it useful. 6 Music's Tom Robinson - who contributed several insightful clips to the site - has written about it on his own blog, and there have been some nice reactions on Twitter:
Finally, and perhaps most excitingly of all, some news from Radio 1. Starting this week, a selection of unsigned artists chosen by BBC Introducing will be played by daytime Radio 1 DJs like Greg James, Edith Bowman, Jo Whiley and Nihal. This is a big deal for the artists chosen, since their music will be reaching a potentially enormous national audience. You'll see the chosen artists listed on the Records Of The Week section of the Radio 1 playlist. We're kicking this new initiative off with some of the bands from our Reading & Leeds line-up, so keep your ears open in the coming weeks. I'll also blog about each of the selected tracks here in due course.
Richard Banks is Producer at BBC Music Interactive