Serving professional journalism since 1912

Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

New music for BBC World Service

BBC World Service has introduced a new signature tune and complementary music for key programmes.

A new specially composed signature tune will be played at the top of the hour, every hour, and new theme tunes for individual programmes will then be rolled out across the Service over the coming weeks. 

The music has been composed by Mcasso, one of the UK’s leading music and sound companies, and was recorded at Mcasso Studios in London’s Carnaby Street, with the string section of the BBC Concert Orchestra added at Angel Recording Studios in Islington.

Mary Hockaday, Controller BBC World Service English said: “We are absolutely thrilled to introduce audiences across the globe to the brand new sound of the BBC World Service. The dynamic music will set a fresh, contemporary and distinctive tone for the network, providing the perfect backdrop to support our news and other programmes. Even on a speech network, careful use of music can help create an identity for the station and build a closer relationship with our listeners. Our composers have done a wonderful job, with a spirit of curiosity, quality and warmth which I hope our audiences will come to love.”  

The main theme features synths and percussion, embellished by a live orchestra, giving a rich, warm sound. It begins and ends with a sound design audio motif, inspired by and echoing the sound of the pips – the series of six short tones broadcast at one-second intervals and recognisable around the world for being synonymous with BBC Radio. The main musical theme also appears in the music for other individual programmes, arranged in different styles.

Individual programmes using the new music include Newsday, World Update, OS, Business Matters, Business Daily, Weekend Tech Tent and Sportsworld.

BBC World Service delivers news content around the world in English and 41 other language services, on radio, TV and digital, reaching a weekly audience of 279 million.