The files contain miscellaneous clumps of papers relating to the hiring and purchasing of musical works from music publishers before 1963. (The official dates for this Registry sequence were for papers created between 1922 and 1962, but Accession Books list files as dating from the 1930s onwards.)
These papers usually refer to those publishers who had few or no transactions with the BBC before 1963 and were not considered to have enough paperwork to warrant their own personal file. If a publisher is not listed in the run of files for RCONT1 , they may have unlisted papers held within the RCONT8 files.
The papers mainly consist of correspondence between the BBC and music publishers, sellers and distributors. The publishing companies would send in suggestions of music compositions that were available for hire or purchase. These letters of suggestion were usually accompanied by items of sheet music, pamphlets, leaflets and catalogues of available items. Some of this material can be found within the papers of this series, although few pieces of sheet music are included as they were often forwarded to the BBC Music Library or returned to the publishing company.
The correspondence from the music publishers was directed towards a number of different areas and contacts across the BBC such as the Music Library, the Director of Music and Music Programme Organisers. Some suggestions were submitted for consideration for specific programmes such as Music While You Work and Children’s Hour .
The papers also include internal BBC correspondence from employees across the Music Department, who would forward the requests and suggestions to the relevant area within the department.
Contracts for the hire and purchase of the music are not generally held within these files, although there are some references to payments. Contractual paperwork would have instead been created and managed by the copyright section, which is often copied in on correspondence. See ‘Related Units of Description’ for further details.