Boiler Room (music broadcaster)

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Boiler Room
IndustryMusic & Entertainment
FoundedMarch 2010
FounderBlaise Bellville
Thristian Richards[1]
HeadquartersLondon, England
Area served
Key people
Blaise Bellville (CEO)
Thristian Richards (host)[2]

Boiler Room is an online music broadcasting platform based in London, commissioning and streaming live music sessions around the world.[3][4][5] Founded in London in 2010, Boiler Room has now hosted shows in around 100 cities worldwide.[6][7] It has regular operations in London, Amsterdam, New York City, Berlin, Lisbon, São Paulo, Mexico City, Kraków, Tokyo, Sydney, Lima and Los Angeles and produces about 30 to 35 new shows each month.[8][9] Its music programming originally focused on electronic music such as garage, house, techno, dub but expanded to include grime, hip hop, classical, and jazz.[10][11][12]

According to The Guardian, by 2015 Boiler Room had streamed over 3.5 billion minutes of music, with audiences of up to 400,000 watching.[5] Boiler Room increased in presence significantly between 2017 and 2018 due to a number of marketing communications and new initiatives including a series of documentaries. Since 2018, Boiler Room has launched 4:3 by Boiler Room;[13] System,[14] an initiative created in partnership with Gaika that uncovers and celebrates the impact of migration on music: borderless cultural movements that grow from underground subcultures to worldwide mainstream success;[15] Contemporary Scenes,[16] exploring underground collectives, artists and subcultures from across the world; and Low Heat,[17] a series of parties and films celebrating new artists.



In March 2010 Blaise Bellville invited Gilles Peterson affiliate, Thristian "Thris Tian" Richards and the founder of NTS Radio, Femi Adeyemi, to record a mixtape for his online magazine Platform. This led to the creation of Boiler Room.[18][19][20] The first Boiler Room session was recorded using a webcam duct taped to the wall of a disused boiler room, and the session was broadcast live online on Ustream.[21][22]

During this period, Boiler Room developed their format of filming a DJ facing the camera a projected visual backdrop of the Boiler Room logo overlaid on old rave video footage, with Time Out noting: "the artists are, after all, the sole attraction at Boiler Room: attendees are positioned behind the decks in a bedroom DJ style set-up so that the selector is always the main figure in view.".[23]

2010–11: Expansion[edit]

Boiler Room's first session in March 2010 turned into a weekly show, becoming a Ustream "Supported Channel" and getting widespread press recognition, with coverage from the BBC, Fader, Time Out, Hypetrak, and Dummy Magazine, who noted that "from a small room in Dalston to a globe-spanning brand, in just over a year Boiler Room has emerged as one of the most important broadcasters in underground music."[24][25][26][27]

In its first year in 2010 Boiler Room featured performances from mostly electronic musicians and DJs including Theo Parrish, Jamie xx, SBTRKT, Hudson Mohawke, Jamie Woon, Mount Kimbie, Falty DL, James Blake, and Ben UFO.[27][28][29][30][31][32] London based record labels Young Turks and Hessle Audio, as well as hip-hop collective Livin' Proof, hosted Boiler Room takeovers in 2010.[28][31][33] Radiohead hosted a Boiler Room takeover in October 2011, featuring sets by Thom Yorke, Jamie xx, Caribou, Lone, and Illum Sphere.[34]

Boiler Room first began international shows in August 2011 with a run hosted in Germany by Michail Stangl, a Russian-born music curator and DJ.[35][36][37][38] Shortly thereafter, Boiler Room expanded in the United States, starting with broadcasts in Los Angeles headed up by Sofie Fatouretchi,[39][40][41][42] an Austro-Iranian artist and musician.

Present day[edit]

The early focus on the underground music scene and electronic music in London has broadened. Taking in hip hop, jazz, experimental, classical, world music and talk-based podcast formats.[43][44]

2014 was defined by a push into classical music, launched with German prepared pianist Hauschka,[45] and followed by broadcasts from St Johns Church in Hackney featured Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and Julia Holter.[46] A broadcast within the Pula Arena in Croatia[47] saw Nils Frahm perform.[48]

Boiler Room partnered with music festivals including SXSW, Sónar, Dimensions, and Dekmantel.[49][50][51]

Boiler Room launched in China with a show in Beijing in April 2016 followed by a show in Shanghai with Disclosure in May 2016.[citation needed]

Boiler Room's first full-length documentary, on Atlanta based collective Awful Records, launched in June 2016.[52] Boiler Room has since continued producing TV shows and documentaries aimed at telling stories tied to the people, artists and culture.[53] This includes shows like Gasworks, a 20-minute, grime-focused talk show starring Alhan Gençay & Poet[53]

In 2018 Boiler Room launched 4:3, a platform for film, documentary and music videos, with Amar Ediriwira as its creative director.

In 2019 Boiler Room announced the Boiler Room Festival,[54] in Peckham in London. Showcasing a different underground scene each day, the multi-event programme will feature emerging artists from contemporary jazz, rap, bass and club.[55]


In 2018 Boiler Room received a number of award wins and nominations for its marketing and content:


  • Gold Lovies – Best Music and Culture Platform[56]
  • Peoples Choice Lovies – Best Music and Culture Platform[56]
  • Digiday Media Awards – Best New Vertical[57]
  • The Drum DADI Awards – Best Digital Strategy[58]
  • The Drum DADI Awards – Best News Media Website[58]
  • Webbys – Best Music Website[59]

System and Migrant Sound[edit]

  • Webbys – Social Content Series & Campaigns – Migrant Sounds[60]
  • The Drum Content Awards – Best News Marketing Strategy – System – Highly Commended[61]
  • Drum Marketing Awards – Best Music and Entertainment Campaign – System[62]
  • The Drum Awards – Best Media Content Marketing Campaign – System[58]

Contemporary Scenes[edit]

  • Webbys – General Social-Music for Social – Contemporary Scenes[60]

Individual and team awards[edit]

  • The Drum Digerati – Stephen Mai (Top 100 in Digital)[63]
  • Campaign's Power 100 – Stephen Mai (Top 100 in Marketing)[64]
  • Jodie Nicholson – Alternative Power 100 Music List[65]
  • Video Team of the Year – Digiday Media Awards[57]


Boiler Room broadcast Run the Jewels live in 360° format December 2015 before the technology was widely available.[66]

According to Wired, Boiler Room is "developing a content suggestion algorithm that challenges viewers' tastes, rather than pandering to them."[9]

It is building what is claimed to be the world's first purpose-built virtual reality music venue, in collaboration with virtual reality company Inception, set to open in 2017 in London.[needs update][67][68][69][70]

Notable events[edit]

A number of notable musicians and cultural organisations have worked with Boiler Room to celebrate key releases and other one-off events.


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External links[edit]