Morgan Heritage nominated for ‘Best Reggae Album’ Grammy

Reggae favourites and Outpost clients Morgan Heritage have been nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in music – the coveted Grammy. The roots reggae quintet stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Luciano and Jah Cure in the running for the ‘Best Reggae Album’ category 2015, for their standout LP ‘Strictly Roots’.

The album, which features artists including platinum-selling dancehall phenomenon Shaggy (a previous winner of the award), Jamaican sensation Chronixx and previous Grammy nominee SOJA, received coverage on The Guardian playlist and saw Outpost secure premieres on Complex and Clash. It also garnered support from the likes of Q Magazine, Don Letts on BBC 6Music and plays across Capital Xtra, as well as support from BBC Radio 1Xtra DJs David Rodigan, Seani B, Trevor Nelson and MistaJam.

Past winners of the award include Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Sean Paul and Damian Marley.

‘Strictly Roots’, which reached No. 1 on the iTunes reggae chart, is available for purchase from the following outlets:

iTunes and Google Play: http://smarturl.it/StrictlyRoots
CD: http://smarturl.it/StrictlyRootsCD
Official Fan App: http://smarturl.it/royalfamily

Morgan Heritage Grammy for socials

Outpost attends the 13th annual Urban Music Awards

For 2015’s 13th Annual European Urban Music Awards, the Outpost Media team could be found making merry at Porchester Hall in Bayswater after being nominated in the Best Music PR Company category. With a reputation as the No.1 R&B, Hip-Hop, Soul and Dance Music awards ceremony in the world, it’s no surprise that competition was stiff.

Hosted by UMA founder Jordan Kensington and X Factor’s Kiera Weathers, the event kicked off with a VT from Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wishing all the nominees luck, and was attended by celebrity guests including Bianca Gascoigne, Miss Great Britain, MC DT (DJ Pied Piper), Kiss DJ Neev (who took home Best Radio Show 2015) and the stars of Sky 1’s Desi Rascals.

However, it was of course grime sensation Stormzy who stole the show – having recently starred alongside Outpost’s own Muzi in a documentary for Noisey, he appeared in person on the night to accept his award for Best Male Act 2015 (as well as pause to take a snap with Outpost’s own M.D, Mel).

Mel and Stormzy (EDIT)Meanwhile, the inimitable Lady LeShurr bagged a record three awards for Best Female Act 2015, Best Hip-Hop Act 2015 and Best Music Video 2015, which she joked cost her absolutely nothing to make, in between a peppering of incredible performances from some talented acts.

Highlights of the night included Zara McFarlane, who won Best Jazz Act 2015 (just sneaking ahead of Outpost’s own Julia Biel, who was also nominated for the award), and Big Narstie, this year’s winner of Best Grime Act 2015, who took a shine to Outpost’s Mel and Federica at the after-party at Turntable in Chancery Lane.

Hugs from Big Narstie (EDIT)
Despite losing out on the Best Music PR award, Outpost is proud to have been nominated at such a prestigious event, and sends its warmest congratulations to all of the winners. Bring on 2016!

Good news comes in twos: Outpost November Newsletter II

With all cylinders firing at Outpost in the run up to the festive season, we thought we’d spoil you with a new update on the successes of our ever-evolving roster of talented clients, from the sensational tones of MOBO Award nominee Julia Biel to the stunning new video from TOYS, featuring ‘Blue Is The Warmest Colour’ knockout actress Adèle Exarchopoulos.


Campaign Focus: Artists

Julia Biel

julia

‘Best Jazz’ MOBO Award nominee Julia Biel is preparing to release her new ‘Licence To Be Cruel’ EP, which features her distinctive vocals and gloriously individual approach to melody and phrasing. With a performance at The Royal Albert Hall, a premiere on Prefix Magazine and the backing of the likes of Hype Machine and Musical Melting Pot, who also conducted an interview with the Jazz sensation, Julia’s tracks have been causing quite a stir online. She has enjoyed plays on David Rodigan’s BBC 1Xtra show and a spin from Shaun Keavney on BBC 6Music, whilst she is also nominated for ‘Best Jazz Act’ at the Urban Music Awards, joining Outpost’s own nomination for ‘Best PR Company’.

Prefix Premiere: Julia Biel “Licence To Be Cruel” (Son Lux Remix)
Julia Biel: MOBOs, Writing, & Memories [Interview]
Vote for Julia and Outpost in the UMA Awards


MuziMuzi

South Africa’s hottest young DJ/Producer has been exploding back onto the music scene with his blistering new ‘Fire FX’ EP. In the past Muzi has been praised by huge names like Foreign Beggars, Jakwob, Diplo, and The Prodigy as well as Red Bull, i-D, Rinse FM and Skrillex’s label OWLSA. Now the electronic sensation has been making waves with a recently released Noisey documentary alongside MOBO Award winning grime heavyweight Stormzy , filmed in South Africa after the pair met at Nando’s Music Exchange, which Muzi co-hosted with UK chart-topper Example.

Noisey Documentary: Stormzy


nombeNoMBe

November sees the return of multi-talented artist and producer NoMBe, with his new single ‘Kemosabe’. Having garnered praise from the likes of Complex, Majestic Casual and Indie Shuffle, his recent single ‘California Girls’ sent him straight to #1 on both the Spotify US Viral Top 50 and the Hype Machine popular chart. ‘Kemosabe’, which premiered on Wonderland Magazine, has already featured on the likes of Hillydilly, Hypetrak, and Run The Trap, as well as being included on Spin’s  ‘Singles Mix’. It even reached #2 on the Hype Machine popular chart in its first week, only being pipped at the post by Coldplay’s new offering.

Hillydilly – Songs of the Week
Hypetrak: NoMBe – Kemosabe
SPIN Singles Mix


toysTOYS

French director Louis de Caunes’ accompanying short film to TOYS’ new single ‘Fire’ was produced by ‘Blue Is The Warmest Colour’ knockout actress Adèle Exarchopoulos, who also stars alongside real-life partner, Parisian actor and model Jérémie Laheurte, and has seen huge success online with a premiere on i-D and a feature on Nowness, to name a few.

i-D Video Premiere: Toys – Fire


phantomPhantom

Finnish electronic duo Phantom are preparing to release their new single ‘Over’ on 27th November through VILD Recordings. Taken from their forthcoming debut full-length LP, the track follows in the footsteps of their hugely successful previous releases, which brought them attention from the likes of the xx, Majestic Casual, The Guardian, Drowned In Sound, and Edith Bowman.


 

termineYouth Control

Outpost Media is once again working with exciting Finnish record label, Youth Control, to release the debut EP of the hugely exciting new wave indie-rock meets electronica duo Terminé‘Sideways’ EP features 3 unique genre-blending original tracks, as well as two undeniably infectious remixes, one of which comes courtesy of disco powerhouse Roisto, whose previous work with Outpost received  premieres on the likes of Thump and Magnetic Mag and was playlisted on Spotify.


 

fifiFifi Rong

Artist, producer and songwriter Fifi Rong, known for her vocals on Madeaux, Phaeleh and Tricky, as well as her recent studio work with Skepta, is preparing to release her new EP, ‘Violently Silently’, on 4th December. The perfect follow-up to her previous releases, which have been praised by the likes of Fortitude, Clash, Fader and The 405, Fifi will showcase the release with a special EP launch at The Garage in Highbury on 24th November.


 

soniaSonia Stein

Atmospheric pop singer-songwriter Sonia Stein has revealed her latest single ‘Baggage’. Already drawing comparisons with the likes of Lana del Rey and Kate Bush, her haunting sound has previously been featured on Clash, Notion, and Wonderland. Co-written and produced by multi-instrumentalist Ben Jones, who has worked with Kelly Rowland and Tinie Tempah, the track has already seen interest from Kaltblut and i-D.


bloshBLØSH

November sees the return of Oslo-based electro-pop duo BLØSH, with their new single ‘Give It Away’, produced by Grammy nominee Øyvind Gundersen. The pair’s infections indie-pop sound has already won them support from the likes of JaJaJa Music, Indie Shuffle, Hillydilly, and Amazing Radio in the past.


8888 Killa

One of Dallas’ most exciting hip-hop artists 88 Killa is gearing up to release his dangerously addictive debut EP, ’88 Karats’, set to drop on new independent record label DEFDISCO, whose impressive roster features the likes of hip-hop heavyweights Public Enemy. Killa is a co-founder of the Brain Gang Misfits hip-hop collective, credited as the pioneers of the new ‘Dallas Sound’, whose members include Justus (who recently featured on Dr. Dre’s third studio album, ‘Compton: A Soundtrack’), Blue, The Misfit, female rapper Sam Lao and fellow DEFDISCO signee Ish D.


emilieEmilie Ramirez

Up and coming Danish singer/songwriter Emilie Ramirez is releasing her debut single ‘Tranquilizer’. Armed with an experimental style spanning hip-hop, trap, soul and R&B, the single was mastered by music industry legend John Davis, known for working with heavyweights like Lana Del Ray, HAIM, FKA Twigs and U2. In the past Emilie’s sound has received praise from the likes of Fred Perry Subculture and looks set to make waves on its release this month.

Outpost November 2015 Newsletter

With the promise of Christmas not far on the horizon, the final weeks of 2015 are shaping up to be an exciting period for Outpost, with a bulging roster of releases from some of our incredible artists in an eclectic range of genres, as well as numerous live performances across the country.

To top it off, we are also delighted to announce that we have received a nomination in the Best Music PR Company category at the 13th Annual European Urban Music Awards, taking place on Saturday 21st November 2015 at Bayswater’s Porchester Hall. Outpost is amongst some of the biggest names in the music industry nominated for awards, with Tinie Tempah, Katy B, Fuse ODG, Stormzy and Rita Ora all tipped to be the front runners in their respective categories. With almost 200,000 fans submitting nominations this year, we are honoured to have been shortlisted, and would love to have your support! Voting runs over at http://urbanmusicawards.net/united-kingdom/voting/ until 15th November.


Campaign Focus: Artists

sofiSofi de la Torre

Berlin-based alt-pop artist Sofi de la Torre’s ‘Mess’ EP continues to be a huge success, adding to her ever-swelling list of backers such as The Sunday Times by garnering additional support from the likes of i-D, Wonderland and The 405. Lead track ‘Mess’ has already racked up close to 300,000 plays on Spotify and was featured in their New Music and ‘Buzz’ playlists, whilst sultry new cut ‘London x Paris’ is receiving staunch support on the Hype Machine. November will see the long awaited release of the full EP, which will be celebrated with a special launch show at the world renowned Rockwood Music Hall in NYC on 19th November.


stuffSTUFF.

This month brings with it an eclectic country-wide STUFF. tour to celebrate the UK re-release of their eponymous debut album. The experimental 5-piece have received the backing of tastemaker and BBC 6Music DJ Gilles Peterson and BBC Radio 1’s Phil Taggart, as well as support online from the likes of Notion, Okayplayer, and Clash. The tour will see the group travel across Britain for 6 gigs, which includes performances at Brighton’s hottest new venue; The Joker, London’s legendary Servant Jazz Quarters, and culminating in a show at Liverpool’s legendary Kazimier.


galaxieLe Galaxie

November 27th will see the hotly anticipated international launch of Le Galaxie’s progressive synth-wave techno-pop album, ‘Le Club’. Pegged by Hot Press as ‘Ireland’s outstanding party band’, the build up to the release of their big-label debut has seen premieres on Clash and Billboard as well as features in M Magazine, The Life of Stuff and many more. The release will be celebrated with a headline show at Electrowerkz in Islington on 25th November.


aucanAucan

November 20th will see the release of Italian trio Aucan’s highly anticipated debut LP on hot new label Kowloon Records. Already making waves around the world with their post-rock experimental-electronic tones, their debut album, ‘Stelle Fisse’ is truly an outer space opus. With lead track ‘Disto’ having already premiered on Clash, the Yayamoto Kotzuga remix of the same track has been picking up posts from the likes of Twisted Male Magazine, Highness TV, Promo Magazine and on the Hype Machine.


Campaign Focus: Events

STUFF. – Friday 6th November @ Servant Jazz Quarters, LONDON

STUFF. – Saturday 7th November @ The Old Malt House, BRISTOL

STUFF. – Sunday 8th November @ HiFi Club, LEEDS

STUFF. – Monday 9th November @ The Kazimier, LIVERPOOL

Snowpoet – Sunday 15th November @ Union Chapel, LONDON

Daudi Matsiko – Tuesday 17th November @ The Waterfront, NORWICH

Daudi Matsiko – Wednesday 18th November @ O2, SHEFFIELD

Sofi de la Torre – Thursday 19th November @ Rockwood Music Hall, NEW YORK

Daudi Matsiko – Thursday 19th November @ Manchester Academy, MANCHESTER

BRNS – Tuesday 24th November @ Electrowerkz, LONDON

FIFI RONG – Tuesday 24th November @ The Garage, LONDON

Le Galaxie – Wednesday 25th November @ Electrowerkz, LONDON

Daudi Matsiko – Wednesday 25th November @ ICA, LONDON

BRNS – Thursday 26th November @ Gwdihw, CARDIFF

Daudi Matsiko – Thursday 26th November @ ICA, LONDON

Le Galaxie – Saturday 28th November @ Mutations Festival, BRIGHTON

BRNS – Saturday 28th November @ Mutations Festival, BRIGHTON

Squareglass – Tuesday 1st December @ Birthdays, LONDON

Daudi Matsiko – Thursday 3rd December @ Jam Café, NOTTINGHAM


Campaign Focus: Labels

squareglass

South-East London based electronic label and artist collective squareglass are currently celebrating their hugely successful first year, which has seen releases endorsed by the likes of The 405, i-D, DIY, XLR8R, Notion, Dazed and Clash, with a boutique limited edition 7” square vinyl series of cherry-picked releases in the four different colours of the squareglass logo. The release includes Bunki’s ‘SKTCH’, the visuals for which premiered earlier this year on Complex UK, as well as a number of intra-label mixes, and a live video from former Guardian ‘Band of the Week’, Semi Precious. They will also be celebrating their 1st anniversary with a special show taking place at the aptly named Birthdays in Dalston on 1st December, with Ballerino and Bunki performing alongside label-friends Emperor Yes! and Tryptych.


DEFDISCO

Emerging set-up-for-sync record label DEFDISCO, who boast the likes of Public Enemy, ex Arctic Monkey Andy Nicholson’s Card Gang imprint, former EMI band Lovestarrs, Texan singer/songwriter Kaela Sinclair and leading Dallas hip-hop producer Ish D on their roster, this month announced the brand partnership phase of their ‘record label for the 21st century’ business model. Following our work on Andy Nicholson’s Sticky Blood and emerging producer Hekky, Outpost are working with Def Disco across print and online to maximize the news as well as secure coverage for Lovestarrs’ current Kickstarter campaign.


Artists we’re also working with

This month we have also been working with a number of other talented artists, such as Danish experimental pop singer/songwriter Kill J, who has seen huge success with the release of her new track ‘You’re Good But I’m Better’, which premiered on The Fader and reached No. 1 on the Hype Machine Most Popular chart, and No. 3 on the Twitter chart. Kill J also received plays on Huw Stephens’ show on BBC Radio 1, Amazing Radio and Mamiko Motto’s NTS Radio show.

Ugandan-born Nottingham-based singer/songwriter Daudi Matsiko, who has received praise from the likes of BBC 6Music’s Gilles Peterson and BBC Introducing, is releasing ‘The Lingering Effects of Disconnection’ EP, and New York based indie-rock group Loose Buttons, whose last release received premieres on Clash and Noisey, are preparing to release their new single ‘Crowded Room’. Meanwhile, alternative folk collective Snowpoet, whose debut EP received praise from the likes of Earmilk, 1883 and Louder Than War, have just released new single ‘Mermaid’ ahead of their debut album on Two Rivers Records in January 2016.

We are pleased to be working once again with BRNS, a mesmerizing Belgian experiment in dusk, dance and the fullness of sound, who will be embarking on a UK tour with gigs in London and Cardiff as well as a performance at Brighton’s inner-city festival, Mutations, where Le Galaxie will also be playing on 28th November.

Outpost nominated for Best Music PR Company

uma2Outpost Media is delighted to announce that we have been nominated for Best Music PR Company at the 13th Annual European Urban Music Awards!

Holding a reputation as the No. 1 R&B, Hip-Hop, Sound and Dance Music awards ceremony in the world, past winners in the artist categories constitute a who’s who of the industry over the last decade, including Amy Winehouse, Beyonce, Craig David, Lethal Bizzle, Shakira, and Adele.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the biggest names in music, with Tinie Tempah, Katy B, Fuse ODG, Stormzy and Rita Ora all tipped to be the front runners in their respective divisions, being shortlisted for the award is the icing on the cake for us all here at Outpost as we celebrate our milestone 10th birthday this year.

The star-studded ceremony will take place on Saturday 21st November 2015 at Porchester Hall in Bayswater, and will be attended by media giants such as MTV, BBC News, ITN, The Daily Mail, Metro, Kiss 100 and BBC Radio 1Xtra, as well as being broadcast around the world and locally on London Live and Sky Showcase (Freeview Channel 254, Sky 261 and Freesat 402).

Celebrities from the music industry as well as comedians and TV stars will be in attendance, with last year’s guestlist including Dizzie Rascal, Mark Ronson, Ice Cube, Tinie Tempah, Jonathan Ross, Charlie Sloth and many more.

With almost 200,000 fans submitting nominations this year, you can cast your vote for Outpost at http://urbanmusicawards.net/united-kingdom/voting/ until 15th November.

Canary Wharf Jazz Festival

11873944_10206924036316703_1006016697_nEven though the DLR is quite fun, you won’t really find an Outposter in Canary Wharf during the week, let alone a weekend. But in a largely soulless part of the city lies one of London’s best kept secrets – the Canary Wharf Jazz Festival. The festival happens across three days and sees performances from some of London’s most exciting jazz acts on an outdoor stage at Canada Square Park every August. The city’s financial centre may seem like an unusual choice, but it works well – the stage becomes a musical oasis between the spiritless glass towers. With limited picnic mat space on the green, the festival is an intimate affair, but welcomes guests of all ages, sexes and races. Best of all it’s free, and you don’t really need to know the line up, or be a hardcore jazz fan, as it’s all about breaking down the exclusivity normally surrounding jazz.

Now in its 9th year, the 2015 line-up played host to a variety of jazz-related genres, including salsa and afrobeat. Equipped with a picnic blanket, wine and snacks (from the Waitrose placed conveniently opposite the park) we caught the closing day of the festival to see what surprises were in store.

First on stage was the highly acclaimed Yazz Ahmed, a British Bahraini trumpet and flugelhorn player, and her Family HaflaBand, exploring an interesting fusion of both classic British jazz and the sounds of Yasmeen’s Arabic heritage.

IMG_5027a 11903453_10206924036236701_66871226_naNext were Dylan Howe’s Subterraneans, offering a new take on the instrumental cuts from David Bowie’s ‘Berlin’. With archive footage of goose-stepping soldiers, murky street scenes and flickering crowds on the big screens, the music was dark and gripping, with moments of light from piano solos and well-crafted saxophone and acid-synth harmonies: a cinematic performance complimented with contemporary jazz.

The highlight of the day was definitely the outstanding performance by The Fontanelles. Formerly the band for FELA! at the National Theatre, a musical about the life of Nigerian icon Fela Kuti, their infectious chemistry energised the crowd into a fury of dance, including parents and grandparents – much to their children’s dismay. Staying true to their core sound of Fela Kuti-style afrobeat, they brought elements of reggae, jazz, dub, funk and ska, creating up-beat and exquisitely horn-led dancefloor grooves, and leaving the crowding chanting for an encore.

The Fontanelles set the bar high for the The Neil Cowley Trio, who unfortunately just couldn’t compete – hindered by our tired feet, we were unable to fully appreciate Cowley’s quirky stage presence, rip-roaring riffs and pompus climaxes. Nevertheless, we left happy and content with a new appreciation for the joys of jazz – all in all, a great day!

11911073_10206924036156699_1301845891_n

Dekmantel 2015 by BPM

A project that began with throwing a string of small parties, Dekmantel has rapidly grown into an underground success story as a record label, DJ collective and festival. Thomas Martojo and Casper Tielrooij’s main ethos is to showcase the best local and international talent in the underground electronic music scene: one that has seen them top Resident Advisor’s festival charts in both 2014 and 2015, despite the festival only being in its third year.

Unable to resist any longer, The Outpost team headed over to Amsterdam to get up to speed with one of the most credible house and techno festivals in Europe. To avoid a lengthy review of an overwhelmingly good line-up, here’s a little bpm guide to our highlights. (warning: some bpm’s may overlap)

11800562_10153110026432825_4564588844824789180_n

0 bpm

To set the scene, Dekmantel is based in the lush forests and grassy meadows of Amsterdamse Bos, on the outskirts of Amsterdam. With the Dutch being so friendly and helpful, the festival is easy to get to via public transport, or you can cycle alongside the locals. The forest location is small and easy to navigate: it’s the kind of festival where you can lose your friends and find them dancing around a tree with some stranger they became best friends with five minutes ago.

There are five stages, each with their own vibe; the UFO being the most futuristic with its lights, and Red Bull Music Academy’s greenhouse-like Lab being the most green, with its array of bamboo and illuminated willow trees. Armed with Funktion One sound systems, the sound quality throughout is faultless, while the general attention to detail makes the festival seem so seamless. Issuing tokens as festival currency makes queuing for a drink seem like a bad dream, so with the sun shining and a gin cocktail garnished with a rose petal in hand, we know it’s going to be a good one.

80 – 120 bpm

Despite being largely a house and techno festival, Dekmantel 2015 left no music stone unturned, with a range of jazz, funk and music from around the world. As the night beckoned on Friday, folks certainly got down in the sunshine as well respected jazz and R&B artist Roy Ayers Ubiquity delivered flawless vocals and summery vibraphone solos with his live band, set perfectly in the Lab. Meanwhile, Saturday saw a 5 hour marathon of non-stop dancing to Latin, funk, afrobeat and disco from Floating Points, Hunee and Antal at The Selectors Stage.

first day main stage

120 – 130 bpm

With the weekend promising various shades of house, we had high expectations for Motor City Drum Ensemble following his legendary set at Dekmantel in 2014 – however, it was unfortunately too busy to truly enjoy. On the upside, we were pleasantly surprised by Call Super’s technically impeccable set of unique and interesting music, having never heard of him before. Some of our other favourite moments included dancing to Hessle Audio Trio amongst the foliage at the Lab for 3 hours and ending the festival with a cuddle from Berghain regular and LGBT campaigner Tama Sumo.

second day the lab stage

130 -150 bpm

One thing Dekmantel did not lack was great techno, in all its many forms. Highlights included pounding DJ sets from Objekt, Blawan and the legend Robert Hood – not to mention Nina Kraviz, who gave us a taste of her new music, a mesmerising light show from Marcel Dettmann and Rødhåd, who had all the bar staff going crazy. For those after something a little softer, there was an outstanding performance from Steffi featuring Virginia’s beautiful live vocals: some of the few women on the line up. Most memorable was Sunday’s live set from Recondite on the main stage, taking us all on a beautiful techno journey away from the sad realisation that the festival was coming to an end for another year…

techno

150+ bpm

Verging on the undanceable, Midland’s Arabian melodies and Young Marco’s frenetic African beats epitomised the sheer pace of the festival, which occasionally bordered on unnerving. With head honchos like Ricardo Villalobos and ZIP playing on the main stage early on Friday, Dekmantel certainly threw you into the deep end with little time for warming up. But there was little time for slowing down either, with the party going on long into the night at Amsterdam’s famous cultural hotspot Melkweg. Though tricky to navigate our way there via the expensive and poorly organised shuttle services, we managed to sneak in and throw some shapes anyway.

Overall, Dekmantel certainly lived up to the hype. The day festival stole the show with its wide variety of music and endless energy juxtaposed with intimacy. There was never a dip in interest, forever keeping us on our feet in a magical land of sun and trees…bring on 2016!

 

outside boiler room on third day

Outpost Graduate Trainee opportunity – Publishing and distribution

We’re currently looking for a sharp graduate to join our team on our 3 month paid Graduate Trainee Scheme.

Working in our publishing and distribution departments, you will also gain first-hand experience in our PR department, working across print, online, radio and TV. Training in general office management will also form part of the role.

The scheme is a structured 3 month program including music business, public relations theory and on-the-job training. Depending on the success of the Graduate Training Scheme, a full time position could be awarded.

You must have excellent written communication skills, love music and take pride in doing a Superstar job.

Minimum requirement of 2:1 undergraduate degree or higher. Applications from graduates with 2:2 mark accepted with demonstrable music experience. Work placements for current undergraduate students with minimum BBB at A-Level also available.

To apply, send a cover letter and CV to careers@outpostmedia.co.uk

The Outsight Report #11

Is BBC Radio ‘Under Threat’?

bbc_chart_bigWith the government’s planned reforms to the BBC’s licensing fee, and new competition from Apple Music’s radio service Beats 1, it seems that BBC Radio is under threat.

The Tories claim the proposed changes have arisen out of a concern that the public’s money could be better spent. Alongside changes to the licensing fee, the government has also decided to decriminalise its non-payment and no longer subsidise the fee for over 75’s, challenging the way the BBC spends its money from all angles. Although the reforms will most likely affect funding for television, the sector the BBC spends the most on, there will undoubtedly be changes to radio too.

Amidst fears that this shake up could lead to a ‘much diminished service’, many stars have leapt to the BBC’s defence – including Annie Nightingale, who, as Radio 1’s longest serving broadcaster, holds the world record for the longest ever running radio show to date.

annieWith her commitment to the industry having earned her an MBE, Annie, who has just released her special Masterpiece album on Ministry of Sound, charting her extensive musical journey, owes much of her career to the longstanding establishment. In a recent live web chat for The Guardian, she commented: “The battle is to keep the BBC going… to ensure the future of the BBC. People often ask me why such a small country as ours has such a worldwide influence in terms of how our music is perceived. Surely the fact that we have radio stations such as Radio 1, 1Xtra, 6Music, to nurture new music, has helped this process ever since the Beatles gave us worldwide recognition. Without stations nurturing and playing new music, that culture could disappear very quickly. That really worries me.”

Like Annie Nightingale, BBC Radio is timeless: known for its curation of great music, both by established artists and new musicians, it has informed, entertained and educated for over 90 years.

And yet it is no stranger to cuts –just earlier this year it was announced that BBC Radio 1 was to cut funding to late night programmes as well as coverage of major live events and festivals. While these changes may have a detrimental effect, fears of their impact seem ignorant of the BBC’s strengths: namely, their cultural credibility and relationships of trust – both between musicians and radio producers, and presenters and their listeners.

beatsThe powers of such relationships are what streaming services such as Groove Shark often lack. These fads tend to come and go – something that Apple Music seems more than aware of. Recently launching Beats 1 as a 24/7 radio broadcaster for the entire world, Apple appear to have created the perfect marketing device to encourage people to subscribe to the faceless streaming service incorporated into the company’s latest software update.

zaneHowever, it is a service still in its early days, with only 3 specialist radio presenters: one of whom was poached from Radio 1. In what seems like a fitting homage to his former home, Zane Lowe opened his first ever Beats 1 show with ‘City’ by Spring King, a band that was recently featured on BBC Introducing, thereby inadvertently championing the cultural impact of the BBC globally. Although Apple Music may have the money to attract star guest presenters, to what extent can they nurture new artists in the same way the BBC does?

This is only one aspect of BBC Radio’s culture that makes it so commercially attractive – and undoubtedly, it is the commercial viability of the BBC that has driven the government’s debate about its place in the broadcasting landscape. However, their lack of understanding on the way creative processes work is risking the loss of the culture that makes the BBC unique.

Although unwanted, these changes will push radio to evolve, and ‘force the BBC to do what they do even better’, as Head of Radio 2 Music Jeff Smith notes. To ensure it flourishes in times of uncertainty, the relationships between musicians, PRs, producers and presenters need to remain strong, in order to remind the world what the BBC is capable of.