Universal to release rare grooves from BBC archives

LONDON - BBC Worldwide has struck a deal with Universal Music to release over 3,000 rare download-only tracks from its archived vault, including music from Pulp, Nirvana and session tracks from John Peel's Radio 1 show.

Universal Music said the deal would allow music fans to access rare TV and radio footage from the BBC's archives of Universal signed acts, with The Orb's 'Adventures Beyond Ultraworld' to be re-released this week as a three-disc set featuring tracks recorded for Peel's show.

The record label intends to augment physical releases with additional downloadable BBC tracks over the coming weeks, including music from Pulp, Billy Fury, Marianne Faithful, Fairport Convention and Nirvana.

The deal is part of Universal Music's ongoing programme to allow music lovers to access material from its archives, with the first downloads made available at the beginning of this year.

Silvia Montello, head of Universal Music Catalogue Marketing, said: "Our agreement with the BBC Worldwide gives us access to a plethora of amazing audio and visual performances from across our fantastic roster of artists.

"Live concerts and sought-after session recordings that have never seen the light of day can now be reached by music fans the world over."

Universal Music also intends to make material from artists available for download purchase soon after broadcast, with programme content from the BBC's 'Later...With Jools Holland', to be made available on iTunes to coincide with single release dates.

Simon Danker, director of digital media and music at BBC Worldwide, said: "We are excited by these first releases from our agreement with Universal Music.

"The download release of the Orb's John Peel session is exactly the kind of offering we want to do more of. The BBC archive is a rich source of both interviews and performances from a huge range of artists."

Last month Universal Music announced that it had signed a deal with Channel 4 Radio to become a strategic partner in the broadcaster's application for the new national DAB multiplex.

The deal will mean Universal Music artists will be able to give their opinions on how radio stations can help develop new musical talent.

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