Is The BBC Working On A Free Spotify Rival Called Playlister?

The Telegraph has a report today claiming that the BBC is developing an on-demand music service to rival Spotify. It will supposedly be called Playlister, and it will provide access to "hundreds of thousands" of tracks for free.

While it sounds like a direct rival for the likes of Spotify and Rdio, the newspaper's numbers suggest that the service would provide a fraction of the songs offered by established paid services — but those songs would be free. It's not really clear what tracks would be offered up: original versions, BBC archive material, something else entirely? It's anybody's guess.

The BBC has spoken about offering up its archive of music recordings for wider consumption in the past, but it usually struggled to obtain the rights to do so. Apparently, the organisation has been talking to Spotify about how to side-step the problem — so perhaps it now has things sorted.

The British newspaper speculates that the service could launch later this year or in early 2013. And it's not clear whether it would be a UK-only or international service. The BBC is apparently holding a digital media press conference this week, so we might find out more soon. [Telegraph via Musically via The Verge]

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