The U.K. music industry has come out in support of under-threat BBC 6 Music, the modern rock digital radio station.
U.K. labels trade body the BPI and indies counterpart AIM have voiced their concern about the potential closure of the station . Although the BBC has not confirmed it will be shut, a report last week suggested that 6 Music and the Asian Network would go based on the publicly-funded broadcaster's review of digital services.
The BBC has received more than 2,500 complaints about the proposal to cut the stations. Artists including David Bowie and the Manic Street Preachers have voiced their support for the network.
BBC 6 Music offers exposure to emerging artists and second-tier acts, as well as drawing upon the BBC archive recordings as part of its remit. The digital-only station has an audience reach of 695,000 according to the official research body RAJAR.
"6 Music has established itself as a vital platform providing exposure to a wide range of emerging British music talent," wrote BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor and chairman Tony Wadsworth. "There is no other radio station that is remotely comparable in scale or depth for showcasing new music."
The letter, which appeared in the Times today, was also signed by Alison Wenham, chief executive of AIM.
"As a recent example, exposure for Florence and the Machine on 6 Music was the beginning of their U.K. success, culminating in them winning the best album award at the Brit Awards," the letter continues.
"There are many examples of successful British artists whose early work was championed by 6 Music, who would not otherwise have attracted wider attention. It is therefore vital to the artistic and cultural diversity of this country that the role of 6 Music as a taste-maker for the airwaves is preserved."
The letter also calls for the Asian Network to be kept open.
In a separate statement, Taylor said: "BPI and AIM would strongly oppose the closure of 6 Music. We understand that the BBC has to cut costs and wants to leave space for the commercial market. But withdrawing valued public service programming which the market won't provide is no way to achieve that.
"The BBC has an essential role to play in introducing the public to new music. It has let down music fans and the music sector by failing to replace Top of the Pops. Closing 6 Music would undermine the diversity and wealth of British musical culture."
The review's publication has been brought forward to this week following the leak last week.
Ben Bradshaw, the Culture Secretary, did not comment on the proposals during a Sky News interview. But he said there should be a discussion about the BBC's size, and whether the £3.6 billion ($5.4 billion) in license fees was the correct way to fund the corporation.
Meanwhile, shadow culture minister Ed Vaizey has today (March. 1) declared himself a fan of the station after he came out in support of the proposals to cut back on the scope of the BBC last week. Although he had said the measures were "intelligent and sensible" overall, he has now decided that 6 Music has plenty to offer listeners.
"Having not listened to 6 Music, I took it on trust that the BBC knew what it was doing in this regard," Vaizey told CMU. "Several things have happened since I spoke out. I had no strong views on 6 Music on Friday [Feb. 26], I now know it is brilliant with a passionate and articulate fan base - I am now an avid listener to 6 Music. I suspect that 6 Music has doubled its audience. I strongly suspect 6 Music will be saved."
However, who could hold the arts brief if the Conservative Party wins a general election within a couple of months, made clear that the ultimate decision on the station's future is down to the BBC Trust.