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Ofcom confirms Radio 1 and 2 New Music rules

Ofcom has confirmed new rules defining the amount of new music that can be played on BBC Radio 1 and 2 from next week.

In the station's new operating licences issued in October 2017, Ofcom placed new requirements on the BBC to ensure a significant proportion of Radio 1 and Radio 2’s music output was new music.

Following a consultation earlier this year, as a result to changes in which music is consumed, Ofcom said it would amend the definition of new music to reflect how music is now released to the public.

Under the new rules, effective from 1st April 2018, BBC Radio 1 and 2 will play new music based on the definition that:
A music track is to be considered “New Music” for a period of either: (a) 12 months from first release (whether by physical, radio, download or streaming means), or (b) 6 weeks from the date it first enters the Top 20 of the UK Official Singles Chart whichever is sooner.

From April, BBC Radio 1 will be expected to ensure that at least 50% of the music in daytime is new music, of which a significant proportion must come from new and emerging United Kingdom artists. However, Ofcom analysis indicates that both Radio 1 and 2's output is already in line with the rule changes.

This is the first major change to the operating licences of BBC Radio stations since Ofcom took over BBC regulatory functions following the abolition of the BBC Trust. The changes in the definition of new music were opposed by commercial radio operators. Global Radio, the owner of Capital, said that a track should only qualify as new music for four weeks following its first play by the station.