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‘Big four’ record labels join the 6 Music debate

David Davies 19 April 2010
'Big four' record labels join the 6 Music debate

EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros executives have met the BBC Trust to call for digital-only station BBC 6 Music to be retained, writes David Davies. UK Music CEO Feargal Sharkey also took part in the meeting last Wednesday (April 14) as pressure on the Corporation to reconsider its plan to close the new/alternative music-oriented station continues to grow. Sony chief operating officer Paul Curran, EMI UK president Andria Vidler, Universal Music chief executive David Joseph, Warner Bros’s Jeremy Marsh, and the BPI’s Tony Wadsworth and Geoff Taylor were among the leading figures from the UK music industry to participate in the session, which was held under the auspices of the BPI. The BBC Trust was represented by its chairman, Sir Michael Lyons (pictured), along with head of performance Mark Wakefield and senior adviser, performance, Stephen Callow. The case advanced by the music industry delegation emphasised 6 Music’s role in providing programming that the commercial sector “does not and could not realistically provide”, as well as its value for money in relation to fellow BBC stations Radios 1 and 2. Tony Wadsworth, who is BPI chairman, commented: “We cannot see the sense in pulling the plug on a successful outlet for artists, both new and established, that are not being played on either Radio 1 or 2. 6 Music has significant cultural worth and public value that you can’t measure by audience numbers alone, and it provides programming that commercial radio does not.” Shaun Keaveny, Lauren Laverne, Craig Charles, Jarvis Cocker and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey are among the key presenters on 6 Music, which – along with fellow BBC station Asian Network – is currently scheduled to close by the end of 2011. Online campaigns and messages of support from David Bowie and Mark Ronson, among many others, have urged the BBC to reconsider the plan, which forms one key component of the Corporation’s current budget-trimming focus.

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