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THE VIEW FROM
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Blighty Beat
 BBC INTRODUCING AT RISK?
1/18/23

A number of British trade bodies have written an open letter to the BBC urging it to protect the future of its artist development program, BBC Music Introducing.

As part of major cuts at BBC Radio, every presenter working at every local radio station has been put at risk of redundancy, according to a report in Radio Today.

This places BBC Music Introducing—a platform supporting unsigned, undiscovered and under-the-radar U.K. music talent—at risk, as local radio shows are where acts first get played. The program also provides local gigs, festival stages and broadcasts on nationwide radio stations. Artists showcased through the platform include George Ezra, Self Esteem, Izzy Bizu, Soft Play (who were, until recently, called Slaves) and Jack Garratt.

The letter, signed by orgs including Music Venue Trust, Music Managers Forum, Association of Independent Music and LIVE, expresses “grave concerns” about the possibility of Introducing being scrapped.

Addressed to the chair of the BBC Board Richard Sharp, the letter calls BBC Music Introducing “a fundamental cog in the machine of the grassroots sector.”

“This work is not done by any other broadcaster; it is unique. Its reach extends to every corner of the country and it is especially important in left behind communities, where access to music and music opportunities is already incredibly challenging.”

Cutting local shows “would be a fundamental blow to the health of the entire grassroots sector,” according to the letter. “New and emerging artists already face significant obstacles to breaking into the music industry, challenges that are amplified for those artists and musicians living outside of the major cities.

“BBC Introducing has been essential in providing access routes into the industry, with local and regional opportunities available right across the country. Whatever reorganization might be required to meet the demands of the future stability and viability of the BBC, it should not be the case that BBC Introducing is the unintended victim of those changes.”

The orgs conclude with a call for “urgent assurance” that the BBC Board understands the role of Introducing and a plan for how it will be protected in future.

Other signees include the Association of Independent Promoters, Featured Artist Coalition and the Association of Independent Festivals.