This has been a big week at work, at BBC Audio & Music interactive, where we released to live our first version of the BBC music showcase. I have to say I'm very proud to have been involved in this project for some time, and extremely pleased that it is finally out in the wild. It's been quite a journey, politically, technically and strategically.
Some background. The idea of a pan-BBC aggregation of music content is not a new one. In fact, the roots of this thinking go back the best part of ten years - I remember talking about the concept with Simon Nelson, Simon Hopkins and Dan Hill amongst others back in the early days of the journey to take the BBC's radio and music content online. The idea has developed loads since then, but the influence of Simon Hopkins and later Matthew Shorter and Tom Scott can't be underestimated.
So what is it and why is it important? What we've released so far, which is just the start, is an aggregation of all BBC music content that is not full length programmes. Our radio station sites and iPlayer cover that angle fairly well, but what we haven't cracked until now is getting those nuggets of great content out of their full length programme home to expose them in new ways. That content could be a live music session, or an artist interview, or a single artist feature, a DJ mix or a live concert. The BBC creates this kind of content in droves, but it's almost impossible to find what you are really interested in unless you know exactly what was broadcast and at what time. Now we can pull all those special moments out of their original context and offer them via genre, via a curated collection, via artist search, via most popular, latest in, and about to expire. In other words, these unique pieces of content are now accessible, findable and aggregatable.
That's just the start. The next stage is a development of the idea of curated collections mentioned above: we want to tap into the world class talent that the BBC employs to generate human powered recommendations, then use a service like Echonest to deliver onward journeys through music both on and off bbc.co.uk. This is where the BBC has a fairly unique place to play in the increasingly busy music discovery space.
This is good news for traditional radio, because at last we are doing something which takes the fantastic content that is generated every single day via linear broadcasts, and offering it in an appropriate manner for the medium. This is truly a mash up of traditional broadcast media with digital media. I believe that it's projects like this that will help traditional media brands move successfully into the fully digital world.
Huge props must go to the technical and editorial teams who conceived and delivered it, especially Matt Coulson, Andy Puleston, Ant Smith, Nick Humphreys, Sacha Sedriks, Richard Berry, Andrew Hilton, Chris Lowis, Nigel Smith, Pete Marsh and Yasser Rashid.
Have a play with the Music Showcase and let me know what you think. Remember it's still in Alpha mode so expect to see lots of small updates over the coming weeks and months.
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