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Ellen Hammett 

Commercial radio lobbies for relaxed regulation

Commercial radio lobbies for relaxed regulation

Parliament is being urged to examine the case for relaxing commercial radio regulation, following the publication of a new report, Action Stations, to be launched today at a reception in the House of Commons.

Chairman of the All Party Group for Commercial Radio, Andrew Bingham MP, is looking for parliamentary time to debate whether commercial radio needs a "more level playing field in face of competition from digital entrants to the audio market", such as Spotify, Deezer and iTunes, which are largely unregulated.

Since launching in 2008, Spotify, which is available in 56 markets, has accumulated over 24 million users worldwide - six million of which pay for the music download service.

Users - both free and paying - have access to over 20 million songs, with an average of 20,000 new songs added each day.

In contrast to digital services, commercial radio is required to comply with rules on music content, local production and licence renewals, devised in a pre-internet age.

Andrew Bingham said that he does not want to see the value of commercial radio put at risk, so will be looking for time for a debate in the House "to highlight the benefits of and challenges facing commercial radio."

"As technology moves forward bringing new platforms and services, I think it could be time for the Government to conduct a review of these issues - for the benefit of the industry and its listeners," he said.

RadioCentre's chief executive, Siobhan Kenny, added: "Today's report shows that commercial radio continues to play a central role in the life of local communities across the UK, even within an ever-changing digital landscape.

"Radio is evolving rapidly to meet these new challenges, but we ask Government to ensure that the industry is not fettered by outdated regulation, and welcome this chance to discuss the issue in Parliament."

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