BBC Playlister

What exactly is BBC Playlister?

It’s been a busy day for the BBC, with the new(ish) Director General Tony Hall looking to make his mark with a raft of new digital offerings.

In amongst all the announcements was a curious sounding new product/service called BBC Playlister, which comes to us heralding ‘partnerships’ with the big boys of online streaming – Spotify, YouTube and Deezer.

But what is BBC Playlister and will it actually be any good? I’ve read through all the press release bluster to try and get to the bottom of the product and, to be honest, it looks like a lazy attempt by the BBC to try and ‘do something’ with music – something it has neglected badly in the past 10 years or so.

Let me explain…

The BBC triumphantly announced BBC Playlister as ‘a new digital music product that will transform people’s relationship with music from the Corporation.’ But when you peel back the hyperbole, it all boils down to a product that lets people create playlists featuring songs they hear somewhere on the BBC. Or as they put it:

…whether it’s tracks from Lauren Laverne’s Radio 6 Music show, that song playing in the café in EastEnders, or the tune that Anton Du Beke and Fiona Fullerton are dancing to on Strictly Come Dancing, Playlister helps audiences discover and remember more of the music they love from the BBC.

So, what BBC Playlister amounts to is a system that tells you what songs have been played across the corporation and then syncs with Spotify et al so you can make a playlist with those songs on? Is that the best our famous publicy-funded and accountable national broadcaster can come up with? An app that adds an extra step of complexity to a simple task that we can all manage to do quite easily already?

Oh no, wait. We also get ‘recommended tracks from favourite BBC DJs and presenters or popular programmes – helping fans discover more of the music they wouldn’t have otherwise found, and get inside picks from some of the best experts in the world’.

I’m sorry, but if you rely on the BBC to get your new music fix then you’re doing it wrong!

I may be wrong and BBC Playlister might turn out to be a great product to add to my online music experience, but I just don’t see it at the minute. What do you guys think?

Post Author: David Watt