Guest Blog: How changes to the BBC could affect the UK new music scene

It is terrifyingly difficult to get a break as an independent artist these days. The market is over saturated, content is moving faster than ever and an “exclusive” is over before it even began.

Radio is still a hugely important part of breaking through as an artist; it is the one place that ensures that the listener is engaged, doesn’t lose interest and follow some click bait mid song.

Let’s be honest - sales of music are pretty abysmal. Where once I used to cover costs of recording, touring, rehearsing, marketing and releasing an album through sales, I am now dancing with glee if I manage to cover the costs of just the recordings alone.

I survive as a musician on syncs and royalties from air play and live performances. I have been lucky to have had the support of the BBC over the years both with radio plays and TV usage and I don’t believe that I would be where I am if I hadn’t had their support.

They pay fairly for plays which is vital for survival - but they also offer the opportunity for unsigned, independent artists to gain exposure. Commercial radio stations are not as forthcoming with regular play for acts that are not on major labels or large indies. The BBC offer artists the chance to get a foot in the door, to find new fans and to breakthrough in this already impossible industry. What would we do if it were to go? I honestly feel that I would struggle to get my music out there in the same way.

I now also lecture in music business, teaching new and upcoming artists how to release their music or get “market ready”. I encourage them to upload to BBC Introducing as a way to be heard. Apart from some online stations, there are very few options radio wise for new artists that have no management or deal in place, but nevertheless possess a huge amount of talent. Streaming their music, uploading to iTunes or - if they are lucky - having a blog cover their track, is not going to be enough to garner the interest that they really need (or the income) to break through.

I for one am wholeheartedly behind the BBC, not just for what they do for musicians, but for all creatives that are being offered a platform to expose their talent and to be justly rewarded.

It would be a huge loss to the arts world if we were to lose this champion of new music, and an even more difficult place for an independent artist to survive.

imageAbout The Author
Under various guises, both solo and as frontwoman of the acclaimed ‘6 Day Riot’, Tamara Schlesinger has enjoyed chart success, extensively toured the UK and North America, achieved acclaim from major press, synced her music to domestic TV shows (Skins) and even Hollywood films and trailers (Scream 4, 127 Hours). Her latest album, 'Marching to Another Beat' under the guise of MALKA is out now.

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