BBC’s clas­si­cal ar­chive goes on­line in bat­tle with stream­ing gi­ants

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Danny Wiser

THE BBC is putting its clas­si­cal mu­sic ar­chive on­line, the di­rec­tor gen­eral is ex­pected to an­nounce this week, as the cor­po­ra­tion fights com­pe­ti­tion from stream­ing ser­vices.

Per­for­mances from BBC or­ches­tras and choirs, as well as the Proms and the Young Mu­si­cian com­pe­ti­tion, will be avail­able on iPlayer and a new au­dio app called BBC Sounds.

The move is part of a year-long sea- son on BBC Four, BBC Two, Ra­dio 3 and on­line look­ing at 100 years of clas­si­cal mu­sic in Bri­tain.

At a launch event for the sea­son on Thurs­day, Lord Tony Hall, the di­rec­tor­gen­eral of the cor­po­ra­tion, will say: “In an age of ever-grow­ing plat­forms and so­cial me­dia shar­ing, these his­toric and re­cent per­for­mances will be re­turned to the pub­lic as their right­ful prop­erty.

“In time, you will also be able to find them by us­ing voice ac­ti­va­tion tech­nol­ogy to make your own jour­ney through clas­si­cal mu­sic.” A BBC in­sider said: “Record­ing, cre­at­ing, broad­cast­ing and doc­u­ment­ing great clas­si­cal works is one of the things the BBC does that other broad­cast­ers just don’t do on this scale, and the pub­lic owns these record­ings by virtue of the li­cence fee.”

Lord Hall last month used a speech at the Royal Tele­vi­sion So­ci­ety to call for a level play­ing field be­tween pub­lic ser­vice broad­cast­ers and the likes of Net­flix and Ama­zon. He said the BBC was fight­ing Net­flix and Ama­zon with “one hand tied be­hind its back”. Stud­ies have shown Net­flix is spend­ing $8bil­lion (£6.1bn) a year on con­tent, Ama­zon is spend­ing $5bil­lion and Bri­tain’s pub- lic ser­vice broad­cast­ers com­bined, in­clud­ing the BBC and Chan­nel 4, are spend­ing £2.5bil­lion.

Lord Hall is ex­pected to warn at­ten­dees at Thurs­day’s event that, un­less ad­di­tional re­sources are found, there will be tough choices ahead for the BBC as what it cur­rently does is un­sus­tain­able.

The di­rec­tor-gen­eral urged cau­tion last year re­gard­ing the threat from on­de­mand global gi­ants such as Ama­zon.

The BBC now ap­pears to be in a bat­tle to hold onto its flag­ship drama, Bod- yguard, af­ter Net­flix took an in­ter­est by ac­quir­ing the in­ter­na­tional rights for the se­ries.

Mean­while, Lord Hall has been praised for his work to change the gen­der im­bal­ance at the BBC. On Wed­nes­day, Zoe Ball was named as the first fe­male host of the Ra­dio 2 Break­fast Show, re­plac­ing Chris Evans.

Lord Hall will soon have to over­see the search for re­place­ments for David Dim­bleby and Ed­die Mair who will ap­peal to a wider and younger au­di­ence.

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