Artists say a music industry without BBC Introducing would be an ‘industry void of soul’

BBC Introducing shows across the UK are facing proposed cuts that would mean local shows would merged or be axed by the broadcaster.

Last Friday (13 January), local presenters announced the news that they were being faced with redundancy and urged listeners, artists and industry professionals to share their stories.

“THE BACKBONE OF BBC INTRODUCING... If you’ve appreciated our network of local BBC Introducing shows across England and the Channel Islands over the past 15 years, here’s a chance to say so” wrote 6 Music presenter Tom Robinson on Twitter alongside an online form.

Local BBC Introducing shows currently help support new and emerging talent by accepting submissions from regional areas and reviewing songs for radio play.

This enables emerging local artists to gain exposure and radio play, with the potential for their music to be fed into BBC national radio.

The introducing shows are responsible for championing artists such as Arlo Parks, Little Simz and Blossoms in the early days of their careers.

There are currently 39 local BBC radio stations in the UK.

Since the announcement was shared, artists have been expressing their thoughts on the proposals.

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“Not only dobbcintroducing support and promote new artists, they also train the future workers of the radio industry. Regional diversity is integral to balance within the industry,” Mercury Prize-shortlisted band Yard Act wrote on Twitter.

“Removing local shows presents less opportunities for local voices to break through nationally.”

“All of this starts at a grassroots and regional level. It doesn’t matter where it goes, it starts with tireless and passionate DJs and producers being engaged within their area’s music scene. The broader local shows become, the more budding music will be missed. @bbcintroducing

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The Howlers band agreed: “A music industry without @bbcintroducing is an industry void of soul! To all the staff at BBC introducing facing redundancy, we have worked with over the years, we wouldn’t be here without you!”

The band posted the caption next to an image with text which read: “The BBC putting all BBC Introducing staff on redundancy notice is everything that’s wrong with the UK music industry.”

“What reason could you possibly have to let go of the hardworking grassroots champions of emerging music during a living cris under a government that neglects the arts in its entirety.”

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“Many BBC radio presenters are BBC local radio graduates. By altering the @bbcintroducing system, the beeb runs the risk of cutting off a successful pipeline of talent development, for presenters and producers,” wrote singer-songwriter Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. “This alone should be reason to keep/expand it.”

“When you factor in the artistic implications too, it’s a no brainer,” they continued. “For 15 years, it has become the pathway. There is no need to change it, if anything it needs to be further resourced. It is regional, representative and the future of talent.”

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Leeds band English Teacher posted their thoughts to Instagram: “The man wants to de-fund the most democratic thing to happen to new music discovery and to that we say eff off.”

Their guitarist, Lewis Whiting also told NME: “It’s the main thing local bands strive for: you can see that, from the past, local BBC Introducing airplay has produced results and made bands’ careers more tangible. It gave us a future.”

On Tuesday, Music Venues Trust shared an open letter to the Chair of the BBC, Richard Sharp, writing: “BBC Music Introducing is a fundamental cog in the machine of the grassroots sector.”

The letter continues: “[The changes] would be a fundamental blow to the health of the entire grassroots sector. New and emerging artists already face significant obstacles to breaking into the music industry, challenges that are amplified for those artists and musicians living outside of the major cities.

“BBC Introducing has been essential in providing access routes into the industry, with local and regional opportunities available right across the country,” they added.

When contacted for comment, a spokesperson for the BBC told The Independent: “Our new local radio schedules will be announced in due course but they will not compromise the essence of BBC Introducing. We‘re committed to maintaining dedicated support for discovering and sharing the work of new talent at each of our 39 local radio stations.”

They continued: “Local radio will continue to celebrate local artists and be an entry point for talent. We need to acknowledge the changing listening habits of audiences and the intention is to reach even more people. Every local radio station has a place on BBC Sounds which has a fixed Introducing slot featuring prominently with more content than radio schedules could ever accommodate.”

“We also regularly feature Introducing tracks and artists on breakfast shows and that will continue too,” they added.