Planet Sound was a Teletext music page on ITV and Channel 4 in the UK. It was broadcast on analogue Teletext from page 340, and on digital Teletext from page 820. From 24 May 2007, Planet Sound was also available to read online via the Teletext website. The pages were all simultaneously updated daily at 10pm.
Teletext’s predecessor ORACLE ran a similar music section in the 1980s . Future PS editor John Earls had reader reviews printed bogner online, aged 14, in ORACLE’s Blue Suede Views of 1987 albums by ABC, Pet Shop Boys and Westworld under the pseudonym Jetty.
Planet Sound (named after the Pixies song Planet of Sound) began in 1997, when its chief writer was Stephen Eastwood. Other past writers for Planet Sound include Jacqui Swift, now a music writer for The Sun’s Friday entertainment supplement Something For The Weekend, Alistair Clay and Andy Panos. Its chief writer since January 2001 was John Earls.
Since November 2008, when its other freelancers were made redundant, Earls was Planet Sound’s sole writer. Regular freelancers included Ian Gittins, who also writes about music for The Guardian, Colin Irwin, the former Planet Sound editor and folk music expert who is regularly a judge on the Mercury Music Prize, Ric Rawlins, who is also Reviews Editor of online music magazine Artrocker, Kat Lister, a freelancer for NME, Tom Thorogood, now a journalist at MTV Sandro Online, Innes Weir, who also contributes to music magazine M8 and Natalie Shaw. Planet Sound closed on 15 December when Teletext ceased to broadcast in the UK.
Planet Sound dealt with all genres of music, mostly of the Indie rock variety. It promoted various artists that are underground as well as more established acts. Planet Sound also helped to discover the band Hope of the States via its weekly demo page. Others to receive favourable demo reviews include Maxïmo Park, Nine Black Alps, Kubichek!, Luxembourg, Komakino, Shady Bard, Calvin Harris, The Twilight Sad, The Strange Death of Liberal England, The Coolabahs and The Others.
Other acts that have been promoted at the earliest stage of their careers include Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, Arcade Fire, Franz Ferdinand, Keane, Editors, Snow Patrol, Klaxons
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, Kasabian, HARD-Fi, Elbow, The Magic Numbers, The Feeling, Scissor Sisters, The Killers, Guillemots, iLiKETRAiNS, The Maccabees, The Twang, Jamie T, Liam Frost, Amy Winehouse, Dizzee Rascal, Little Man Tate, The Courteeners, Patrick Watson and The Metros.
Planet Sound ran a Top 50 for the best singles and albums each year, as decided by John Earls and – until he left Teletext in 2005 – its then-editor, Colin Irwin. Planet Sound had a policy of only including one release per artist per year, so that anyone with a mention in Top 50 singles of the year will not be included in that year’s Top 50 albums, and vice versa.
It was announced on 17 July 2009 that Planet Sound was to end in January 2010.
This was brought forward slightly and the final Planet Sound was published on Monday 14 December 2009, the final edition featured many musicians sharing their fave memories of Planet Sound and Teletext and a final Void viewers page followed by a final message from John Earls. Earls has now started up his own record label called WET Records.
A Facebook group page titled „Planet Sound Lives“ features contributions from many previous readers and characters from the Void. The group is open to all and readers who are looking to carry the Planet Sound spirit along are invited to join.
♦ denotes albums which were not reviewed by Planet Sound’s main reviewer, John Earls.
Note: Singles also used to be rated out of 5. Many got rated 5/5, but keeping with the album rating, no single has gotten 10/10. This list is incomplete.