BBC Music Beta

Open source seems to be the way forward at the moment for large UK organisations. February saw the launch of Guardian Open Platform which allows 3rd parties to utilise their API to create useful applications.

The BBC has now launched their music beta called….BBC Music. The new site aims to be an aggregator of data from both internal sources (BBC) and external sources (Musicbrainz, Wikipedia). The aim? Well their intention appear to be entirely altruistic. To create a hub for music whereby info from across the wide spectrum of BBC sites/microsites is pulled together to create a single, consolidated platform for music. They are also “now publishing several hundred thousand pages automatically, which harvest third-party content from Wikipedia and MusicBrainz” (BBC Internet Blog)

What does this mean for us users?

Well essentially its makes it a whole lot easier to browse artists and to then find out more once you have reached your artist’s page.

Say I like the Arctic Monkeys. I go to BBC Music and use their nifty Flash scroll bar to find them. If they don’t appear then I can just choose to view all artists and locate them alphabetically.

Once I have found my chosen artist I am then presented with a whole host of info about them, both from within the BBC and from external sources:

– Latest news stories (from the BBC)
– Biography (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
– BBC Reviews (A mashup of all reviews from throughout the BBC on this artist)
– Now On The BBC (directs you to where they are currently appearing on BBC Online)
– Played by (Which DJ’s have played that artists music)
– Played on (Which BBC channels have played music by that artist)
– Members (Who’s in the band)
– Links (to: Official Homepage; Fansite; Wikipedia; IMDb; Myspace & MusicBrainz)

Thats a lot of information and great for users of BBC online to be able to find out so much, about so many artists. They are constantly adding new material and acknowledge that the site is very much still in the beta phase.

The one concernI had was that all of this information could be obtain by purely going to an artist’s Myspace? so what was the point? they responded by saying “you’re absolutely right. We know that our users rightly expect an artist page to contain audio – it’s what happens everywhere else on the web, isn’t it? And we’re on the case – there are technology and rights issues to consider here, but we think there’s a way round it. Watch this space.

So could BBC soon be a contender for Myspace? With the API to such a large amount of info being opened up…watch this space!

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3 thoughts on “BBC Music Beta

  1. Hi Rob,

    We’re not interested in being a competitor with MySpace. (If I’d been answering that question I’d have given you a diffrent answer from the one you quoted!) We think it’s important for our pages to be up to a similar standard to what our users expect from their usage of the web, but that is just about getting the basics right. For that reason, we think audio clips are important. But the primary function of our artist pages is to aggregate what we the BBC have to offer. Offering biographies, clips etc is a way to add value and ensure that any page a user can navigate to offers a satisfactory user experience.

  2. Hi Matthew,

    While I realise that you have no intention of competing with Myspace – from a user perspective (i.e. me) the offering is similar. An online platform to research existing and new music. The BBC may not wish to commit what would be a huge amount of resource by allowing for streamed music. I was rather hoping that the API would allow for 3rd parties to use the aggregated data towards their own music streaming service.

    Don’t get me wrong I think its brilliant that you have done this at all and what you have is a service/resource that I and many others will find hugely beneficial.


  3. Pingback: Getting Involved – 5 BIG Brands That Comment On Blogs « Social Media Mashup – The Social Media blog

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