HMV has made a move in to music festivals with its joint venture partner Mama Group as the entertainment retailer seeks to further diversify its offer in the face of dwindling music sales.
The annual festival, Next Big Thing, will aim to showcase a “broad and diverse range of new and exciting breakthrough artists” featuring acts from across the UK and internationally.
It will be hosted in HMV and Mama venues in London, including Jazz Café, Heaven and Relentless Garage, and will be held February 5-14. More dates and venues may be added.
The festival is another example of HMV seeking alternative revenue streams to that of traditional entertainment retailing, which has struggled in the face of digital downloads.
In the last 12 months HMV has secured the joint venture with Mama Group to operate live music venues, partnered with Orange mobile phones and opened a cinema above its Wimbledon store.
Next Big Thing aims to feature the acts predicted to make it big that year. HMV hopes the festival will be viewed as the “official start of the festivals season”.
All gigs will cost £10, and tickets go on sale December 16.
Acts to have signed up include Hadouken!, Paloma Faith and Chew Lips.
HMV head of live Jason Legg said: “Predicting which new artists break through has become a big deal for media and public alike in recent years, but whilst quite a bit of hype and excitement is generated in print, frustratingly for fans, they often have to wait to see these news stars in the flesh.
“We wanted to change all that by creating a highly accessible and affordable live music event to showcase the best new bands and artists, whatever their genre of music, and to introduce them to a wider audience.
“HMV has always done its best to champion new talent, and now that we have access to our own live venues we feel Next Big Thing is a great way to take this engagement to a fantastic new level – not only does it represent a great opportunity for artists and labels, but, just as importantly, we hope it will quickly become established as a great platform for fans to engage and get closer to new talent at an early stage in their careers.”
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