back to article Music biz unites to save 6Music

Two wings of the music business which rarely agree on much have come together to condemn the BBC's apparent desire to snuff out BBC 6Music. In a letter to the BBC director general Mark Thompson, the BPI and indie association AIM say the closure of the station is bad for new music. 6Music plays four to five times the amount of …


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  1. irish donkey
    Thumb Down

    unique role that the station has in supporting new artists and in nurturing UK talent

    because if you stop supportting then we will have to start supporting it the way that we have always claimed to but never really.

    Does this mean that if you get fined for illegal downloading you can claim a discount as its the TV License payers that are supporting NEW MUSIC,.

    thought not!

    As for the BBC its the unique way its funded which allows it to be so good. Tell them to go away the BBC is supposed to be independant and I as a license payer would like it to remain that way.

  2. phuzz Silver badge

    Growing Audience

    By the sound of it, this little flap has introduced 6 Music to quite a few of the 80% of adults who'd never heard of it, in fact, coupled with the fairly healthy review it had recently from the BBC Trust, you could almost think that this was a bid to get some publicity...

    It is a great station though, if you like music then you'll find at least one show that plays the sort of thing you like, and quite well hidden, they also have some good comics.

  3. EvilGav 1

    To the BPI . . .

    . . . put up or shut up.

    If this station is such a wonderful avenue for your new music, then pay for the damn thing, instead of expecting tax payers to foot the bill to advertise "talent".

    The other radio stations in the UK have become so formulaic thanks to the interminable interfering and back-handers you keep handing out, to ensure the already established (and therefore more likely to sell more singles) get more air-time.

    You rigged the game this way and now it's not playing the way you want, you want the general public to foot the bill.

  4. Brutus

    I like 6Music

    If only because it doesn't have that bloody moyles character on it. It's a far better station to use for the radio alarm-clock than the commercial offereings, not least because it frequently figures a real, live astro-physicist on the Friday show!

    On a more general note, I thought one of the raisons d'etre of the Beeb was to provide programming that wouldn't be found on commercial stations (TV or radio), so I'm somewhat confused as to why they want to kill off 6music and Asian Music Network. OK, I'll agree that AMN is bloody expensive (as pointed out in earlier stories by Andrew), but it exists because the BBC was accused of not catering the asian population. You know, sometimes it seems that the BBC just can't win ;-)

    1. Anonymous Hero

      @Brutus - me too!

      Dunno what I'd do without my weekly dose of freakyness from Stuart Maconies freakzone. The shows on Radio 6 are eclectic and aimed at folks who actually like to listen to music rather than those who like to have some noise in the background whilst perming hair or polishing nails.

      Since I started listening to R6 in 2004 I've discovered and listened to such a wide range of artists and sounds that would be impossible to find being broadcast anywhere else.

      It'd be very sad to see this station go off air,it's a beautiful oasis of quality music broadcasting compared to the pool of Radio 1 14-18 chav shit and middle of the road keeping-it-safe Radio 2.

      If they kill radio 6 then that would be the death of music radio in this country for me, there's nothing else like it.

  5. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Tired formulaic radio

    That seems to be what the average Joe wants to listen to, otherwise 6music would have been more successful.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    The solution is simples

    Swap 6 Music and radio 3.

    Put radio 3 on DAB only, (and give it a budget of £3.5 million instead of the total GDP of several african nations that it currently gets for it's 1089 listeners)

    Put 6 music on FM where Radio 3 used to occupy, and give it a decent budget, and watch as the listener numbers rocket.

    Lets face it , no one listens to 6 music cos it is on DAB only, not because it is rubbish, and no one listens to radio 3 beacuse it is S**t and all it's output is done better on radio 2 , 4 or classic FM. Infact were this plan to be executed, there would be lots of money saved and everybody wins, (apart from the 1089 radio 3 listeners, and no-one cares what they think anyway)

    1. Campbeltonian

      Competing with Classic FM?

      I couldn't agree more, although partly because I'd love to hear the howls of complaint from die-hard Radio 3 listeners when the audio quality drops due to the move to DAB.

      It also makes a mockery of the idea that the BBC's services that compete with commercial offerings are being purged. 6music doesn't have any competitors and is facing the axe, yet Radio 3 competes with Classic FM (the holder of the only national commercial FM licence) and is going nowhere.

    2. strangefish


      You are quite wrong, some people do listen to radio 3 and unfortunately for your otherwise excellent and erudite plan, they are all in Whitehall so they don't care what anyone else thinks

  7. Anonymous Coward

    The BBC's Responsibility?

    I'm one hundred percent behind saving 6music (where else could I have listened to Rolf and The Beatles in a shared session back in their hey-days), but since when was it the BBC's job to spend our money running stations and channels to promote commercial arts and artists that the recording industry is too cheap or clueless to support? In the past century the recording industry has had any amount of time and oodles of money to throw at a commercial radio station that played music the 6music way, but they industry instead happily focused on the few and tried to shove the rest the music off the airwaves.

    Lets hope that 6music is saved because you'll never get such a wonderful and diverse music loving choice anywhere else.

    1. Bassey

      Re: The BBC's Responsibility

      > since when was it the BBC's job to spend our money running stations and

      > channels to promote commercial arts and artists that the recording industry

      > is too cheap or clueless to support?

      Err, since it was first created. It's called the BBC charter and the BBC exists almost entirely to create/promote output that the commercial sector either can't or won't (due to the risks involved).

      The question is "since when was it the BBC's job to create mindless junk to COMPETE with the commercial sector?". This is what they do but it is not what we pay them for.

  8. censored

    Which is it...?

    Is it a service that encroaches on ground that should be open for the commercial sector, or is it a unique, niche station whose output isn't matched anywhere else?

    Can't be both....

  9. Roger Barrett
    Thumb Up

    This can only be good news

    I hope...Not really sure what else I'd listen to, Radcliffe & Maconie in the evenings on R2, but the rest of the time, my lovely looking Marshall AMP DAB radio is on 6 Music (Sorry just had to say I owned one, the volume goes up to 11!)

    There was an article in the Independent on Saturday about this, although they quoted a listening figure of 700,000 not the 30,000?

    It does seem odd that to try and open the market to more competition, they want to close the two stations with the lowest listening figures, as has been said already getting rid of the expensive DJs on Radio1 would produce enough spare cash all by itself!

    I dont think getting rid of Radio 1 is the answer though, perhaps I'm nostalgic, but I think there is to much heritage in the name, okay yes that makes me sound very nostalgic and I'm only 32.

    Cost cutting and capping wages right across the BBC is whats needed, it started with Jonathan Ross and should continue across all radio and TV stations, if people leave then fine, they can go and work for the competition and if they take listeners/viewers with them that should appease some of these commercial stations.

  10. Vulch

    The John Peel Channel

    Without the man himself, 6music is about as close as anything comes these days.

    Thumb Up

    Sunday Sunday

    Sunday afternoons on 6Music are brilliant.

    Huey Morgan (of the Fine Young Criminals) playing New York-esque chilled-out stoner music, followed by Jarvis Cocker doing his, er, thing, followed by Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone (plz change the name though) playing a sort of avante-garde version of the John Peel show.

    6Music is precisely what the BBC should be funding, and should be on FM as another poster has mentioned.

    No commercial operator produces anything like it, or ever probably will - the commercial operator who said they'd buy it up lock stock and barrel should put up or shut up and start their own 6music-like station. There's nothing stopping them but their own realisation that they couldn't really make a go of it and would end up sacrificing everything the sation stands for to the demands of their advertisers, turning it into yet another commercial Radio 1 clone.

    1. DuncanL

      ..(of the Fine Young Criminals)...

      Erm, that's the Fun Lovin' Criminals, and not the Fine Young Cannibals, who you are getting confused with... Though it might be an interesting collaboration...

        Paris Hilton


        I knew I got my wires crossed somehow, but couldn't figure it out.

        Anyhow, Huey is a fine (not-so-young-anymore) DJ, and 6music is showing it's got the sort of integrity many other stations lack by employing real musicians (as opposed to just rent-a-gob-professional-DJs) who want to share their love of music with their listeners.

        Guy Garvey's another good example.

        1. SynnerCal

          I'm annoyed

          I've never bothered much with R6 - mainly catching snatches of it as I channel skipped from R2 to R4 to R7, (to me R1 is for the brainless yoof, R3 for the 'waiting for god' group and R5 for white van man). And I wasn't that impressed with the five minutes or so that I caught - sounded like Radio 1 1/2.

          So, I'm kinda shocked to find out that this does sound like a station I'd like - was a big fan of the old Tommy Vance/Alan Freeman rock shows - so I guess Bruce Dickinson's would may be good. And then to find out that Huey Morgan (imho the only guy who can outsmooth Old Blue Eyes) is there too, is the cherry on the cake. Bl**dy brilliant, I find something other than the local commercial stations that might be worth listening to, just as they're about to close it!

          I'd agree with the folks that are saying to swap it with R3 on FM. DAB was always sold on better sound quality (it is actually - when you can get a signal - at least on the expensive Blaupunkt set that I've got in my car) so having the classical stuff delivered by the best quality medium makes sense - unless someone's going to argue that the record-like hiss/crackle adds to the enjoyment?

          So if the Beeb are looking for suggestions, here's mine - (a) give R6 a reprieve for a year and see if the listening figures improve; (b) never mind the R1 drivel - try publicising R6; (c) speed up the increase in DAB coverage they were promising.

          Here's a thought - the Beeb are supposed to be public owned - in which case aren't they supposed to take on the wishes of the great British public - naive I know, but it's a thought.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real problem?

    Six music is good, it's certainly better than Radios 1 & 2, so why is nobody listening?

    Easy. The vast majority of people listening to radio are still listening on FM. Yes I know the pro digital-switchover lobby would have you believe that everybody listens on DAB, the internet or through their TV but lets get real. Through your TV? Do you know anybody who does that on a regular basis? On the internet? Nah, most people I know use the likes of if they are online and fancy a bit of music. DAB? Well if you can get a decent signal (so that's listening in the car out then) and you actually want to replace your perfectly good FM receiver. I suspect that many people would switch from radios 1 & 2 to 6 Music if they had the means to do so.

    Move 6 onto FM and I suspect it's audience would be larger than 1 & 2 inside a year.

    1. Bassey

      Re: The real problem

      > Through your TV? Do you know anybody who does that on a regular basis?

      > On the internet? Nah

      Don't know how unusual it makes me but to answer your question I do it all the time. 6Music is currently on here at work, streamed over the internet. And I strongly suspect the wife has 6Music playing through the TV at home - she often does as Lauren Laverne is on at the moment and she is a big fan. We don't own a DAB radio as there is no signal where we live - so the internet and Freeview are our only gateways to digital radio.

      I only really listen to FM in the car and then it is usually either Radio 4 or, when the weather is bad, local radio for the traffic updates.

  13. Dale Richards


    I've had some exposure to 6Music via digital TV, and while I think the content is good enough to be the saviour of radio, I simply don't listen to the radio when I'm at home. Like a lot of people, I listen to the radio in the car and at work. It's no good having 6Music on DAB only - if I'm going to listen to it then it needs to be on proper radio. Stick it on FM - either of Radios 3 & 5 can bugger off right away. Stick Asian Network on FM while you're at it, I'm sure it'll pull the listeners in once it's on a platform people can actually receive.

    It's absolutely retarded for the BBC to put 6Music on DAB then complain about listener figures. It's like building a website that only renders in Lynx then wondering why you don't get many visitors.

    Or if we really must have a tired car analogy, it's like building a car that only runs on goat urine then... wondering why all your... customers... erm... smell so bad?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Radio 5 still resides in cold crackly old AM not toasty warm FM

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    put it on FM

    As the commenter above mentioned, the reason nobody listens to 6music is because it is only on DAB/internet and as we know, people either don't use DAB or can't receive it where they live/work. Put it on the FM band where it belongs and it will pick up countless listeners.

    Maybe then it would show that there really is a big interest in this sort of thing and other stations will follow suit and stop playing that xfactor guff all day long.

    1. Roger Barrett

      While I try not to bash DAB

      I do have to agree that one of the causes of 6 Musc is low number is probably the low uptake of DAB radio, I have bought 3 (bedroom, kitchen and one for my mum) but maybe I'm an outsider. The two main places I listen to the radio though are in the kitchen and in the car, if car makers could be persuaded to start fitting DAB as standard to new cars I'm sure listening figures would increase.

      While a move to FM might be advantageous for listening figures, one of the things I like about DAB is the ability to show the track that is playing, its a feature not every show uses, but listening to a station like 6 Music which plays tracks not always recognisable, it is a good to have.

      If DAB uptake could be increased, much to Mr Orlowski's I think we'd see an increase in listener numbers for 6 Music and probably the Asian Network as well.

      1. Dale Richards
        Thumb Down


        " of the things I like about DAB is the ability to show the track that is playing..."

        That's one of the "benefits" of DAB the marketing types are throwing at us, but in truth this has been possible on FM since the 80s:

  15. Dibbles

    Great spin from the Beeb?

    There's an interesting theory doing the rounds elsewhere that this is a fantastic bit of PR from the BBC. Early last week it announced just how over budget its infrastructure/ rebuilding of its London offices is - with the total project in the vicinity of £2bn, or roughly 15m TV licence fees. A couple of days later, it was leaked that it was considering shutting up shop with 6Music and Asian Network, and cutting its web output. Which not only draws attention away from the Beeb's profligacy, but then gives them a very easy rebuttal to the naysayers who claim that the licence fee needs to be cut or shared among other broadcasters.

    And meanwhile Project Canvas trundles on unchallenged...

  16. Havin_it

    Make up your mind!

    "Indie association AIM is celebrating the first UK independent number one album in 20 years (Vampire Weekend's Contra on the XL label). Former major label act Prodigy signed to former folk label Cooking Vinyl recently."

    Can I just observe that up to "Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned" [last-but-one album], The Prodigy's UK label was ...

    XL Recordings.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And can I just point out that the Prodge are bloody awful these days

      seems like Liam hasn't had a single new idea in 20 years

  17. Anonymous Coward

    "Audience Figures"?!?!

    You know what annoys me the most about these situations? Whether something is kept going or not is based on audience figures.

    Apart from iplayer streaming, how do they KNOW for certain how many peole are listening? Yes, some families in the UK have a black-box that sits and registers what is watched, and this information is sent to the appropriate people. But those figures are than extracted and they just guess how many viewers/listeners this would mean if they scale the results upwards.

    But what sort of family will allow one of those boxes to record what they watch/listen to? I know I wouldn't, and I bet most of you reading this wouldn't allow it either. So I don't believe the figures are representative of the different classes in the UK,and certainly the figures cannot be reliably upscaled to state: "Well right now, wth our upscaled guesstimates, there are 20,000 listeners" - because that is just pie in the sky nonsense!

    Nobody knows how many 6music listeners there are, period. The same as nobody knows whether the figure of 24.3million viewers for one of those Only Fools and Xenophobic Stereotype Horses episodes is actually true!

  18. Tanuki
    Thumb Down

    Let's see the colour of your money.

    If the assorted musos think there's a need for a national radio-station to showcase their new talent, let the record-companies fund it out of their A&R budget rather than expecting to get a free ride courtesy of the licencce-fee-payer.

    Coat? Mine's the one with the DAB-radio-that-doesn't-receive-anything-here in the pocket.

  19. Richard Porter

    Put it on VHF

    It's obvious to us. Why isn't it obvious to the BBC? DAB is a dead platform.

  20. SlabMan

    Radio 3

    @Campbeltonian - I know it's off topic, but I have to say that Radio 3 is to Classic FM what 6 Music is to Radio 1. Mundane prattle, limited playlists, too many jingles, etc, etc. It's not impossible that someone might enjoy both Radio 3 and 6 Music - me for instance. Classic FM, on the other hand, comes a close second to Radio 1 in provoking me to feelings of murderous rage. Radio 1 is what they play to the queues awaiting processing at the entrance gates to Hell - forever.

  21. Bassey

    Easy solution

    There is a very simple solution. The BBC charter should change (arguably, go back) to providing services that the private sector either is not providing or is struggling with. You can instantly get rid of BBC1, Radio1 and Radio 3 as they are all covered ad-infinitum by the private sector. 6Music, BBC2 & BBC4 plus Radio4 all provide content not really available elsewhere. The others would have to make their own case. You also remove the "Ross" factor. The BBC would not have been allowed to compete for his signature. The very fact they competed showed the private sector was willing to sign him and anyone wishing to avail of his "talents" could have watched him on Sky or ITV. The public gained nothing by the BBC artificially inflating his value.

    It's a very simple solution that gets real benefit for the license payer. Your average brain-dead can get all the soaps, reality TV, cooking and decorating programs they wish from the commercial channels. Meanwhile, the BBC can focus its considerable talents on doing what it (used to) do well. Producing thought-provoking, intelligent programming that would be considered too big a risk for the commercial channels. You could probably halve the license fee and still see an increase in quality.

  22. deshepherd

    R6 to FM

    This may happen ... but not as a straight move. One of the recent reports on the BBC output, I think, said that R2 needs to become "more distinctive" from commercial stations ... and as, from what I've read, R6 is actually run out of the R2 organisation then maybe they'll spin this as a move of the "distinctive R6 programming" into the R2 FM mainstream ... I suspect they'll then get an even bigger backlash from the increasingly alienated "Terry Wogan brigade" asking for their old R2 back!

  23. Jonesisdying

    The BBC's DG online

    Mark Thompson blogs about the BBC Strategy Review: and more details here:

  24. SlabMan


    Not Radio 3. That service is NOT provided by the private sector. Classic FM is classic-lite aural wallpaper. Radio 3 is (mostly) for listeners who really listen. Not just classical music either. It's one of the few stations that gives air space to world music and jazz.

    Feel free to come back with a comment illustrating how you don't like any of the above kinds of music, therefor they don't matter.

  25. MrHorizontal

    6Music needs to be unleashed, not gagged

    Here's a controversial statement: what really is the difference in the audience of Radio 3 and 4? One is classical music and the other is talk. Radio 1 is general rubbish and Radio 2 the rocker generation plus Wogan.

    6Music is the only station that actually appeals to a wide audience and it's limited numbers are purely down to the fact that DAB is a stillborn technology.

    My opinion? Think of merging more of Radios 3 and 4 together, and use those savings to keep 6Music and pump it out on FM. That said, Auntie will see Radio 1 figures decline, but 6 Music increase, which may lose Radio 1's influence over the commercial stations like Capital, but in doing so Auntie will get a big boost in their moral currency and relevance, both of which have waned drastically in recent years.

  26. Incatatus

    Radio 3

    To those of you bashing Radio 3, and assuming that its content can be provided by the commercial sector, you obviously know sod all about classical music. If all you want to listen to is anodyne ad music interspersed with gibbering idiots prattling inanely then by all means head to Classic FM.

    Radio 3, whilst going a bit overboard on the atonal and obscure, is consistently intellectual and is the only outlet for certain forms of music, for example the magisterial early music show. Also it is the only place where every Prom concert is played (and the reason the concerts exist) -easily the worlds finest classical festival and a wonder of this country in its own right.

    I agree that six music should be saved, but stop bashing Radio 3, it is the last bastion of what the BBCs creators had in mind when they set it up.

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