BBC Music Introducing
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BBC Music Introducing is BBC Radio's platform supporting unsigned, undiscovered, and under-the-radar UK talent. It gives artists the opportunity to be played on Local BBC Radio and nationally on Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, 6 Music, the Asian Network and Radio 3, as well as playing Introducing stages at festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and Radio 1's Big Weekend. Since launching in 2007, Introducing has helped launch the careers of Izzy Bizu, George Ezra, Jack Garratt, Florence + the Machine, Ed Sheeran, Jake Bugg, Catfish and the Bottlemen, James Bay and Little Simz.
In 2010 BBC Music Introducing was awarded the best new platform to discover music at the BT Digital Music Awards. In May 2011, BBC Music Introducing won the Gold award for Best Use of Multiplatform at the Sony Radio Academy Awards. In 2017, BBC Music Introducing celebrated its 10th anniversary with a live concert at Brixton's O2 Academy with George Ezra, Slaves, Rae Morris, Everything Everything, Nao and more performing live on BBC Radio 1.
Since 5 January 2013, every BBC Local Radio station across England and the Channel Islands broadcasts a BBC Music Introducing programme at 8pm on Saturday evenings. It also broadcasts in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Friday (Scot), Saturday (Wales) and Monday (NI) nights. There are more than 190,000 registered artists and 470,000 tracks uploaded to the BBC Music Introducing website, who get played weekly across Introducing shows on BBC radio, each reflecting its local music scene around the country.
The initial idea was to introduce a BBC new music discovery proposition consistent across all local and network radio. BBC Music Introducing was created and selected as the brand name by Jason Carter, the former Head Of Live Music at Radio 1, who was the brand's figure-head up until 2017, when Introducing's Production Manager Rachel Coomber took over as Editor. Introducing's creation followed research via a pan BBC music steering group. It was developed as a property that could be added to existing show names, or used as a signpost for features within programming.
BBC Music Introducing was launched in 2007, and by this period many BBC local radio stations had launched a weekly local music show to share and champion local artists. As shows such as The Box Office on BBC Three Counties Radio, The Download on BBC Radio Oxford, The Friday Session on BBC Hereford and Worcester, Raw Talent on BBC Radio Humberside and The Weekender on BBC Radio Nottingham and South Live on BBC Southern Counties Radio proved popular there was interest in developing a more coherent structure and brand for new music on the BBC. These shows soon turned into the earliest BBC Music Introducing shows.
In September 2010 all BBC local unsigned music shows that had not renamed themselves as part of the 'Introducing' were re-branded.
On Wednesday 4 October 2017, BBC Music Introducing celebrated its tenth birthday by holding a four-hour gig at the O2 Academy Brixton which was live on BBC Radio 1 and hosted by Annie Mac and Huw Stephens. Introducing alumni including George Ezra, Nao, Everything Everything, The Big Moon, Declan McKenna, Slaves, Rae Morris, Blossoms and Jake Bugg performed at the live showcase. South London grime artist Yizzy also performed on the night, and was the winner of Introducing's Future Fund – an artist grant launched in partnership with PRS for Music Foundation.
On Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 October, BBC Music Introducing hosted Amplify – a mass-scale conference composed of masterclasses, workshops and performances at ExCeL London. It featured talks from key figures in the music industry including Huw Stephens, Steve Lamacq, Jamie Cullum, Twin B, Annie Mac, DJ Target and Jo Whiley. The event subsequently continued in 2018 named 'BBC Introducing Live' taking place at Tobacco Dock in London.
BBC Music Introducing has hosted a stage at festivals since 2007. In the last ten years Introducing has been present at Glastonbury Festival, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Latitude Festival, T in the Park, Radio 1's Big Weekend, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Reeperbahn, 6 Music Live, Winter Jazzfest in New York, South by Southwest and more. In 2017 BBC Music Introducing was present at Creamfields and the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), focusing solely on DJs and electronic acts for the first time. Previous acts to have played the Introducing stages include Jack Garratt, Ed Sheeran, George Ezra, Bombay Bicycle Club, Little Simz, Blossoms, Loyle Carner, Slaves, Rosie Lowe, Glass Animals, Soak, Viola Beach, Catfish and the Bottlemen, James Bay, Royal Blood and CHVRCHES.
A national network
The 38 Introducing shows on BBC local radio are a hub to showcase the wealth of new music being discovered across the regions. From here, artists are forwarded to BBC DJs to play on national radio, and they can also be put forward to play festival stages by their local show. Every week the BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra music teams feature an Introducing artist on their playlists. Previous Introducing artists of the week have included Tom Grennan, The Sherlocks, The Big Moon, Mahalia, Willie J Healey, Isaac Gracie, Declan McKenna, Pale Waves, Shy Luv, Mullally, Isaiah Dreads and Alicai Harley.
In February 2009, an upload tool (now internally referred to as Peel, named after the late John Peel) was launched on the BBC Music Introducing website to allow users to upload their music direct to Introducing producers and presenters. Artists or bands enter their postcode at the point of registering and notifications about any songs they upload are sent to BBC staff working on their nearest Introducing radio show, which can then be forwarded to the likes of BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 1Xtra or BBC Asian Network.
The earliest success stories include Florence and The Machine, who Introducing took to Texas in 2008 to play at SXSW festival, and Ed Sheeran who played Glastonbury Festival for the first time in 2011 on the BBC Introducing stage. Introducing has also helped push the careers of the likes of Marina and The Diamonds, Ellie Goulding, The 1975, Chip/Chipmunk, Låpsley, JME & Skepta, Rizzle Kicks, Stornoway, Alt-J, TCTS, Wretch 32, Ward Thomas, Gabrielle Aplin, Years & Years, Circa Waves, Saint Raymond, Don Broco, AlunaGeorge, Becky Hill, Devlin, The Ting Tings, Will Heard, Moko, KStewart, The Sherlocks, London Grammar, Oh Wonder, Fickle Friends, The Amazons, The Shires, Aquilo, Nothing But Thieves, Jacob Collier, Jerry Williams, Matt Maltese, Jordan Max, IDER, Glass Animals and Pulled Apart By Horses.
Starting in 2014, the BBC Music Awards have celebrated the best in British music. Since the inaugural ceremony, the BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year award has been presented to an artist who has made a significant impact with the aid of BBC Music Introducing.
- 2014 – Catfish and the Bottlemen
- 2015 – Jack Garratt
- 2016 – Izzy Bizu
- 2017 – Declan McKenna
- 2018 – Tom Grennan
- 2019 – Celeste
- 2020 – Arlo Parks
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