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BBC Unveils New On-Demand Music Streaming Service

Bbc-logoMaking its entry into the music-streaming arena, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has just launched a new music service of its own called BBC iPlayer Radio. The new service allows users to listen to the BBC radio stations and music offerings live or on demand either through their browser or iPhone. An Android version is said to be coming soon, but there are no plans for Windows or Blackberry versions of iPlayer Radio, and the mobile service will only be available in the United Kingdom.

There had been several reports out that the BBC was working on building a music service, and the network has said they’ve been developing one for a year now.

The new iPlayer Radio provides users with 57 BBC Radio stations that host both live and archived content. Users can save their favorites, watch videos, search for programs (but not artists), and can even set alarms for when their favorite DJs and programs come on. They can also discover what their friends are listening to with the help of a few social integrations as well.

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“Now mobile represents about 18% of our overall usage, with events like Radio 1 Hackney Weekend seeing over 30% of their traffic from mobile devices,” said Andrew Scott, who heads radio, music and audience facing services at BBC Future Media. “Now we have a platform which allows flexibility and personality for each network, but also encourages users to move between the different network sites.”

In a BBC blog post, multiplatform’s and interactive controller Mark Friend also mentioned that 2012 saw a giant leap in the number of people accessing BBC radio stations and events over mobile.

"Last month saw an 88% year-on-year increase in reach to our mobile-optimized sites,” he said.

Since 2007, BBC already has had a similar service available for their television hub available called iPlayer TV, which allows users to access to BBC television content online that was aired within the past week. The service was used more than 196 million times during the three-month summer period alone. This new iPlayer Radio is said to be essentially the music version of iPlayer TV.

BBC’s entry into the music streaming market comes days after French music streaming service Deezer received $130 million in funding from Access Industries (owner of Warner Music) and pervious investor Indivest. With the new cash in hand, the company promises to expand to 200 countries this year (avoiding the United States), and now claims 26 million users. Of those, two million are said to be paying subscribers, which is in contrast to Spotify who claims that four million of its 15 million users are paying subscribers.

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Hypebot.com. Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud

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