Business News Media

BBC adds twelve new thematic strands to its Sounds app

By | Published on Friday 8 April 2022

The BBC has added a number of new thematic strands to its Sounds app that allow people to navigate the broadcaster’s audio content by theme. Under the Back To Back Sounds banner, each of these strands curates several hours of relevant programmes from BBC radio stations, music mixes from within the Sounds app itself, and some original content.

But what are the themes, you ask? Well, aren’t you demanding. I mean there’s twelve of these new strands, do you want me to go through them all? Every one of them? I’m busy you know. And while they all have names, half of those names don’t really tell what they’re about, so I can’t just list them. But OK, because you asked nicely, and you’re an all round fine person, I’ll explain all the fucking themes for. Here we go. Take a deep breath.

So, there’s The Reset, that features “dulcet tones, poetry and soundscapes”; and Amplified, with indie and rock; and Radio 2 90s, that is presumably self explanatory; and Rap Unlocked, which unlocks some rap, presumably; and Total Rewind, which only actually rewinds as far as 2000 for its R&B and rap tracks; and Artist Icons, which celebrates the music of iconic artists, which is a wide remit if you go with a pretty loose definition of ‘iconic’, which I think they will, certainly quite a few current artists are being deemed sufficiently iconic to be featured.

And then there’s Pre-Party, with also chooses 2000 as its cut off as it delves into the pop archives; and Pop Right Now, which should technically only cover pop released in the last few minutes but apparently will also include ‘modern classics’, whatever they are; Charged Up, which is mainly charged up with dance and pop hits; Soothing Sleep, which will send you to sleep; Radio 1 Anthems, which promises “massive throwbacks and future classics”, but again not older than 2000; and Radio 1 Happy, which is promising “joy throughout the day”, which seems like an ambitious remit to me.

“There’s a huge appetite for on-demand music, with more people streaming music than ever before, and we want to better serve those who want their perfect, long listen soundtrack at their fingertips”, says Jonathan Wall, Controller of BBC Sounds.

“Built with the expertise of our brilliant specialist teams and big names in music”, he goes on, “Back To Back Sounds will bring listeners the best of the BBC so they can enjoy hours of uninterrupted music on BBC Sounds, discovering new artists and tracks as well as hearing their favourites”.

Lovely stuff. Of course, part of the remit of BBC Sounds is to engage younger audiences who don’t necessarily tune in to much AM/FM radio – and don’t necessarily have much affinity to linear radio brands like Radio 1 or 6 Music – which makes re-organsing BBC content in this way a logical thing to do. And also is why several of the Back To Back Sounds strands prioritise music from the last 20 years, rather than the 20th Century, because young people hate old music, as you all know.

Though, of course, the commercial radio sector is already pissed off that the BBC is using the Sounds app to launch new thematic channels and brands, avoiding the kind of scrutiny a new BBC radio station would be subject to because they are online only and mainly repurpose existing content. Which means innovations like this will no doubt garner more criticism from the Corporation’s commercial rivals, and their supporters in the political community.

For the music industry, on one level it’s good if the BBC engages younger audiences to which it can then champion and promote new music and new talent. Although it also increasingly puts the Beeb more in competition with the likes of Spotify, which pump a lot more money into the music industry than traditional broadcasters. And that could lead to more debate about how the music industry is licensing services like BBC Sounds.

So while these innovations may be popular with users, they could create some future challenges for BBC bosses. But hey, if any of that gets them down, they can always tune in to Radio 1 Happy for day-long joy.