Ofcom updates definition of new music for BBC


The regulator Ofcom has updated its definition of ‘new music’ as part of the operating licences which set out how much Radio 1 and Radio 2 have to play during daytime hours.

It follows a consultation on the subject over the last couple of months.

Previously, new music had been defined as “music which is either unreleased or it has been less than one month since release date (physical release, not download release)”.

Ofcom has now updated Radio 1 and Radio’2 operating licences to include the following definition:

“A music track is to be considered “New Music” for a period of either:
(a) 12 months from first release (whether by physical, radio, download or streaming means),
(b) 6 weeks from the date it first enters the Top 20 of the UK Official Singles Chart,
whichever is sooner.”

The regulator’s also changed the condition on Radio 1’s licence which said that at least 45% of music played in daytime should be New Music. That figure has been increased to 50% for Radio 1, while Radio 2’s figure remains at 25%.

The changes take effect from this weekend – on 1st April 2018.

As part of the consultation, Radiocentre and Global Radio had both argued that the proposed 12 month period from first release was too long, with Global saying its view was that a track couldn’t be considered ‘new’ for more than six months after initial release. The commercial radio trade body and the UK’s biggest radio group had also argued that tracks should be excluded from the definition of New Music four weeks after they’d entered the Top 40, rather than six weeks after entry to the Top 20.

You can see Ofcom’s full statement on the issue, and read the consultation responses on the Ofcom website here.

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  1. Mr Boltar says

    If only this could apply to BBC Local stations which during the day seem to be little more than Mouldy Oldies FM with the occasionally bit of chat inbetween. It would be nice if occasionally they could play music that someone under the age of 50 would have heard first time around.

  2. Adrian says

    I disagree-quality new music should obviously be played by the BBC but setting a quota is unfair in my opinion.Would the commercial stations like a limit on the times they repeat a song each day and indeed are not restrictions soon to be lifted so that they can play what they like?-at least Ofcom didn’t give in to their demands that the definition of new music be even narrower for the BBC.

  3. Neal says

    Why should the BBC be told what to do by Ofcom when they have single handed allowed the likes of Global to totally decimate local commercial radio in this country? Oh yes sorry because none of them could have survived without being taken over. Pathetic excuse and rubbish. I pay for the BBC not Ofcom. I don’t want all the professional music loving DJ ‘s to be sacked to be replaced by celebrities who just because they are on TV everyone thinks they will be brilliant on the radio Go away Ofcom before you totally ruin BBC radio as well. I keep on going on about the late Roger Scott. Listen to some of his shows on a terrific website his son Jamie has built in tribute to him. His late night Scott on Sunday programe in the last 18 months of his life on Radio 1 shows how it should be done. His thoughts on radio in 1989 on the documentary of his life called Radio Radio so accurate. He saw this rot starting even then.It is the likes of his talent that should be at the top of these organisations not the poor excuse that runs these companies at the moment. No passion for radio or music just legends in their own minds for whom money money money and power rule at the expense of everything. Give this legend a listen Ofcom BBC and you commercial Gods and hang your heads in shame and embarrassment at the complete dog’s dinner you now have at your feet.

  4. MARK LEVY says

    Several BBC Local Radio Stations have their own Introducing shows at the weekend, showcasing new talent, so there is no need.

    1. Mr Boltar says

      So thats a couple of hours a week. Hardly makes up for the dross they play the rest of it.

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