BBC to take on Spotify with free music version of iPlayer

The BBC plans to follow up its iPlayer online TV and radio catch-up service with a music-streaming equivalent called Playlister. Exact details of the service and how it will work are being mulled over by the Beeb, but the idea is that Brits will get free access to thousands of music files sitting in the Corporation's archive.

While this would put the BBC in direct competition with Spotify, Deezer, Napster and the like, The Daily Telegraph reports that the broadcaster is in negotiation with some of those music-streaming services.

To run such a venture, the BBC would need to invest masses of money and man hours in securing the streaming rights for the recordings it holds, something it has struggled with in the past. Instead, it may seek to piggyback on to existing services and so utilise existing rights deals.

In addition, partnering with commercial companies may deflect unwanted attention from the private sector, which could accuse the Beeb of using public funding to compete with it directly.

The Telegraph also reports that the project is being headed by Tim Davie, the BBC’s director of audio & music, who says he hopes Playlister will be his "iPlayer".

It is believed that the service will be launched later this year or early 2013.