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BBC Unveils New Music Strategy, ‘Strongest Commitment to Music in 30 years’

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The BBC on Monday unveiled an ambitious music strategy, including new shows, partnerships and other initiatives, such as a music awards show.

The U.K. public broadcaster said its plans, which also include a Genesis documentary that will reunite the band’s original members for the first time since 1975 and a celebration of country music, amount to its “strongest commitment to music in 30 years.”

Under the banner of BBC Music, “the strategy is designed to strengthen the BBC’s place as a world leader in music broadcasting and commissioning and enhance the U.K.’s position as a world leader in music creation and performance,” it said.

One key part of the strategy is a new annual extravaganza dubbed the BBC Music Awards on flagship channel BBC One, with the broadcaster overall promising “more primetime music” on the country’s most-watched network.

BBC One, Radio 1, Radio 2 and The One Show will cooperate on the awards that promises to celebrate “the best in popular music from the last 12 months” in London on Dec. 11. It will feature “captivating live performances and collaborations to review and celebrate the year,” the broadcaster said. Awards will include an honor for the British Artist of the Year, International Artist of the Year and Song of the Year.

Said Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC One: “This is a fantastic opportunity for BBC One to collaborate with Radio 1 and Radio 2 and host this unique celebration of music in the U.K. The BBC has always been a destination for new and established musical talent, and by bringing the two together the BBC Music Awards promises to give viewers and listeners an unforgettable night.”

BBC director general Tony Hall and new director of music Bob Shennan unveiled the music initiatives on Monday.

“Today’s the start of something very special for everyone who loves music,” Hall said. “BBC Music is a celebration of the brilliant musical talent across our country. We’ll be joining up music on television, radio, [digital player] iPlayer and online like never before. There’ll be new shows, new partnerships and whole new ways to enjoy music on the BBC.”

Said Shennan: “From the BBC Proms to Glastonbury, music on the BBC already creates a range of amazing experiences that our audiences love. Under BBC Music and in partnership with the U.K. music industry, we will set a new benchmark for quality and scale, with bigger events and more world-class programming delivered in new ways.”

The broadcaster’s digital on-demand player BBC iPlayer will bring audiences “the best live and on-demand music programs from across the BBC, with more music from your favorite artists, festivals and shows, curated in new ways,” the BBC also vower. Later in the year, subject to approval from governing body BBC Trust, BBC Radio 1 will launch a branded space within BBC iPlayer offering such things as Live Lounge performances and big guest interviews.

And starting later this year, bbc.co.uk/music will bring fans more music coverage and content tailored to their music tastes, the said.

Among other TV plans, BBC Two is working on a series with the working title The Soundtrack of the Twentieth Century for 2016. It will explore popular music’s rise and transformations across the 20th century. “From Caruso to Taylor Swift via Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Eminem and many more, this is the story of 100 years of music as only the BBC can,” the broadcaster said.

It also unveiled plans for a feature-length documentary under the working title Genesis: Together And Apart for BBC Two. It will reunite all original members of the band, Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford, for the first time since 1975.

Meanwhile, this fall, BBC Four and Radio 2 will present Country Legends: Nashville And Beyond, a season of programs exploring the history of country music. The coverage will consist of three films looking at Nashville, Kenny Rogers and Bob Harris and a special concert featuring country music superstar Brad Paisley and his songwriters.

Coinciding with London Fashion Week this September, BBC Four and BBC Radio 6 Music will collaborate on programming on the relationship between music and fashion. Under the working title Oh You Pretty Things!, a three-part series will look at the relationship between British rock and pop music and fashion with interviews with the Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock and others.

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