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BBC to challenge Spotify in streaming music?

The BBC is developing a music streaming service that could rival and complement Spotify. The corporation hopes to exploit the huge archive of unique recordings in the BBC library and offer a free streaming service to UK licence-payers.

The success of the iPlayer has inspired the BBC to look at new ways of marketing their content online. The BBC’s music service, provisionally called Playlister, will offer a music equivalent of iPlayer. The BBC are discussing the idea with other online music services such as Spotify, iTunes and Deezer.

The biggest obstacle will be clearing the rights to the music, although the BBC’s international reputation might smooth the path for session and live music to be freely available for the first time since it was initially broadcast.

The BBC has an unrivalled archive of unreleased music, dating back to The Beatles. The opportunity to hear classic and rare sessions from the John Peel Show, as well as TV performances from The Old Grey Whistle Test and Later would also appeal to a broad audience of music obsessives.

Existing services such as Spotify might not see Playlister as a direct threat, as the BBC would be offering a different range of music, and it could even extend the audience for online streaming services.

A BBC spokesperson said: "The BBC is regularly in conversation with digital music providers about how we strengthen radio's position as the number one place for discovering music in the UK." Rumours suggest that Playlister could be up and running before the end of the year.

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