Oct 19, 2008

UN-C: Welsh Music Channel - An Interview With Nia Evans

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Member Nia Evans lives in Brighton and has a very amibitious plan for her life, her love of Welsh music and all of us.

What is it that you're creating? Is it an online radio station or the youtube channel?

"What I’m creating could actually be a combination of all the above. Essentially it’s a Welsh music channel, to be distributed over the IPTV technology. Essentially, this is internet on television. The channel will be viewed on the internet, on the television as a radio station, the television as a channel as well possibly in the future on a mobile phone."

Right now you have the youtube channel, that's the start of what you're building?

"Yes, the you tube channel was created as a form of prototype to give an idea as to what I’d be looking to achieve on the channel itself. The most important aspect of the channel will be that the viewers get to choose what they watch. Whether it’s choirs, bands, individuals or even instrumental music, it will be the customers who choose via interactive means. This would mean that more people are targeted, as well as ensure a bigger music database to choose from. Although not an exact replica, the you tube channel should give the viewers a taste of what I want to achieve as well as give myself an idea as to the actual interest and need for such a channel."

"[social networking] will be the next step. I have now got a channel available to me on the IPTV platform. Up until now I have tried to keep quiet about the channel . . . not wanting anyone to steal the idea so to speak! There are groups already created on myspace and facebook to see what interest is like."

How has the response any support been from the bands? Anyone particularly who's been help to you?

"There have been a few positive feedbacks from some bands, being Vanta, Frizbee and Caswallon ap Cranc. Those are the one’s have been most supportive, however, to be honest, all bands are different, so it depends on the taste of the viewer, and I hope they find an artist they enjoy!! One thing to mention however is that I have found some old footage of bands from the 80’s and 90’s, which hopefully underlines the range offered. Most of all, I’d like to thank Mei (meilyr) the lead singer of Vanta, who’s comments and support has actually maintained my enthusiasm for this project! "

What are you working toward, what is your vision of what your final product will be?

"I am a very enthusiastic person, so, could say that my future objectives would be to actually offer more than just music, but documentaries, short films, etc those to be offered globally, on IPTV (television), internet, radio and the internet. I would imagine that in the long run, the ability to download will also feature in my plans. I don’t know whether these, what can I say, extensive plans will becomes a reality . . .I guess that will have to depend on how people react to the you tube channel and then the service when offered on IPTV itself!"

How will people get it? Will it be by subscription or pay-per-download or free?

"I had considered subscription, but to be honest, I didn’t think that would actually work. The service will be free, as long as you have the right technology. You’d have to buy an IPTV set top box to connect to the television to view the content on the TV, what is great is that freeview channels will already be offered as well as a wide range of other channels. Looking at how successful the channel is, a pay-to-view method might be introduced when broadcasting live concerts or gigs."

What kinds of music can people expect to find there?

"Anything I will be able to get my hands on. On one hand, it’s been unfortunate that I’ve had to keep quiet about the channel, it means that I have not got an idea as to whether I have the support of S4C, who have a full archive of music videos which would be great as content for un-c (this channel) however, signed bands will have their own videos, I’m also hoping to film artists and acts myself as well as get help from young media students. By telling you all of this, what I’m trying to say is that all kinds if music will be available."

How can bands get their music on it?

"The bands themselves will be contacted by me personally, or, if they would like to show an interest could get in touch with me. I would then take the necessary steps to get hold of footage or film them performing to play on the channel. As well as playing their music, it would be possible for viewers to have contact information for buying the music and learning about the artists as they play."

Is there anything like this online? What is the online Welsh music scene?

"It’s getting better, but I personally feel like there is a long way to go. There are a few sites online, but either for the lack of advertising or marketing, people don’t seem to know much about them. Saying that, some of the videos available on you tube seem very popular, which shows that there is an interest. On IPTV however, or any form of television broadcasting – there is no channel dedicated to Welsh music. There have also been huge changes within Welsh radio, which at the moment seem to be proving very unpopular with the a few of the Welsh public. Apart from economical factors, it seems like the perfect time to be setting a service such as this one up".

Are you looking or will you look for sponsors and advertisers?

"I will be looking for both sponsors and advertisers. This will be the main form of finance for the channel. And without sounding too eager, this would be a great opportunity for any company to have their name on the site/channel being that it will be broadcasted globally. I’m also looking towards the assembly for help as well, being that the channel essentially could be used (and hopefully will be) to attract people to the Country and more importantly put Wales on the map".

What stage is your project at and what's the next step?

"I can honestly say that I can’t believe how far things have progressed since the initial pitch idea in February this year. I had a meeting last month which concluded with me being offered a channel, I’m now at a stage where I will be meeting with graphic designers to design the brand image and the lay out itself. Then it’s a matter of collecting content!! Within the next few weeks I will also be meeting with the assembly, S4C and such establishments to see if there is support for me. Market research has been conducted, there seems to be an interest so all I can say is that it’s going to be a bit of a busy few weeks!!!"

Do you have past experience in music or broadcast?

"I am a music lover. I like to think I have good knowledge of the Welsh music scene. My undergraduate degree is in film and television studies, where I have created short films and got quite a lot of experience about the broadcasting industry, I have now just completed my masters degree in digital television management and production, which has given me a good platform of knowledge about the technology involved and the business/legal and management needed to create such a service. All together I’m hoping it’ll be a recipe to success!!"

How did you come to this idea, what inspired or catalyzed this concept for you?

"It was something that had just crossed my mind a few years ago, thinking why Welsh songs were not incorporated in the music channels offered on digital now, I never thought anything from it, until I moved away from Wales, and actually found it hard to keep in touch with the Welsh music industry. I couldn’t believe that having just moved from ‘the land of song’ where Welsh music played such a big part to actually hearing nothing apart from my own collection and the little bit offered on the internet. I was lucky that I was offered the opportunity to pitch my idea to business individuals, and somehow they saw the potential, putting me in touch with the relevant people, and I guess the rest is history.

It’s my own personal opinion that the people of Wales don’t realise they have it so good. I hadn’t realised it, until I moved away and was faced with the struggle to actually maintain my interest within different aspects of Welsh culture."

Anything else you'd like people to know about your project?

"The project is still an ongoing development. I will be designing the channel, and meeting with relevant people to discuss funding and so forth, however, as much as I want to develop the idea further, there is still a possibility that it won’t actually become a reality. The response so far has been good, and it seems there is an avenue to use it within schools and other establishments, I’m just hoping that will continue!!

I also don’t want people to be put off by the possibility of the channel being only in Welsh. You don’t have to be able to speak the language to love the Country and it’s traditions. I’m looking to offer a language choice, as well as feature bands who don’t necessary sing in Welsh. If they have some sort of connection to the Country, then there is no reason why they can’t be featured. That includes choirs/bands/artists who live and sing in other Countries, not just Wales. What this channel aims to do is to maintain the traditions and culture of the Country, it’s about time the rest of the world get to appreciate what we Welsh people have known and loved for years!"

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