Letter: Playlist 'bias'

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The "news" that Pete Tong and other DJs regularly play their own records on Radio 1 (report, 24 May) ignores the fact that the selection of music to be broadcast can never be impartial or free of bias.

It is individuals who decide which songs are playlisted (and thus promoted) rather than some Darwin-like process of "the strongest will survive". These individuals may be influenced by personal taste - music is an emotional expression - or simply how well the song is "sold" to them by the record company - in itself an unfair way of doing things, big corporate concerns having the greater means with which to do this.

To attempt to separate out these "conflicts of interest" from the everyday marketing and promotion of records, wittingly or otherwise, is futile; ultimately it implies that DJs and those selecting records for inclusion in the playlist should be kept in isolation, away from "illegitimate" sources of influence. Where is the line to be drawn? It is not realistic to expect an organisation as complex as the BBC to be completely impartial in its dealings with the music industry.

JOHN STAPLETON

Sevenoaks, Kent

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