BBC Worldwide plans to launch its very own ad-supported online music service, offering music lovers access to the broadcaster’s huge archive of audio and video music content.
The move means TV shows like Top of the Pops, coverage of Glastonbury Festival or the Proms, and all-time music classics such as the Old Grey Whistle Test will be made available for free streaming or for direct sale.
As reported by Media Week, the service will launch with at least 1,000 tracks featuring more or less than 300 of the BBCs many shows.
“There are plans to exploit the BBC’s full range of 15,000 separate music programmes, meaning the service could offer around 50,000 music audio tracks eventually and 3,000 hours of video content”, Media Week adds.
It’s a huge step, of course, pitting the company straight into the same market as iTunes, Amazon, and others. A trial version of the service is set to launch in November with target date tentatively aiming for a January 2009 full service launch, though the plan requires BBC Trust approval.
Streaming of assets will be free, but you’ll have to pay to download and keep particular content. All content will be DRM-free, but may carry ads, with Apple’s iTunes prices seen as a benchmark for the pricing model of the BBC’s service.
I have to say, I think this will become one of the world’s most significant music collector’s shops – I can see some of the music-related footage, The Beatles, early issues of Whistle Test and more, becoming heavily-purchased collector’s classics.