The Music Report: All the world's a stage

Music brands are showcasing their commitment to the art form via live experiences that audiences love, finds Brea Carter.

The MTV Crashes live music event has grown in popularity over the years
The MTV Crashes live music event has grown in popularity over the years


MTV's events are recognised in the UK and across the globe, but it also hosts music experiences with other parties.

Ali Thompson, head of events for UK and International at MTV, recognises that live events provide consumers with a music experience like no other. "They provide an opportunity for our viewers to see some of the best acts on stage, be it via TV, online or our social networks," he says.

Music events, he adds, form part of the fabric of the brand. "MTV is a champion of music, whether it's partnering with UK festivals, venues or promoters, or brands that are keen to leverage MTV in their own music messaging.

This can be seen in our support of emerging acts and electronic artistes, through to our own events such as MTV Crashes and MTV Malta."

Recent and upcoming events

MTV teamed up with video game Guitar Hero Live for the European Music Awards (EMA) in Milan last year, and the event is set to return in 2016.

"The partnership resulted in a dedicated area backstage where artistes could play Guitar Hero Live, and video content was captured and published across MTV's social platforms," Thompson recalls.

The awards, which he describes as "the pinnacle of all our events", are this year scheduled to take place on 6 November, with the brand having selected Rotterdam as its host city.

Thompson explains that the MTV Crashes live music event has grown in popularity over the years, and will subsequently visit two locations in 2016. "MTV Crashes Plymouth rolls into its third year on 28-29 July, and it's getting bigger and better - 20,000 people attended over one day in 2014, which rose to 60,000 over two days in 2015.

MTV also 'crashed' Coventry for the first time from 27-28 May, taking to the Ricoh Arena for another weekend of live music.

Thompson adds that the brand's Club MTV nights, which take place in different countries, are similarly enjoying growth. "Having launched in 2013, Club MTV is now well on the way to becoming a truly global brand, with events popping up all over the world. Watch this space for some great announcements coming soon," he says.

The Box Plus Network

The Box Plus Network is the umbrella company of eight music-focused brands - The Box, 4Music, Smash Hits, Kiss, Kerrang!, Magic, Heat and Box Africa.

Melissa Fretwell, marketing director at The Box Plus Network, explains that music events are crucial to reinforcing the company's core focus. "We're the platform for people who are passionate about music and pop culture, and it naturally makes sense for us to host, produce and/or broadcast live activations across all touchpoints of the brands.

"The key message we'd like to get across through events is that the network is a vital destination for music lovers. No matter what your favourite genre, you're likely to find something for your tastes in the portfolio," she says.

Fretwell adds that music events help the company connect with consumers. "It's very important for us to continue appealing to our core target audience of 16 to 24-year-olds, and live experiences are a great way for us to engage with these millennials and be a go-to source of shareable moments."

Recent and upcoming events

The Box Plus Network hosts regular live music sessions with artistes at its studios, explains Fretwell. "Some of the highlights last year include Little Mix, Ed Sheeran, Tove Lo, Years & Years, Rixton, Kygo and Parson James," she recalls.

The company is partnered with the NCS Yes Live 2016 event in Marchh. "It is a pro-social music and awards event with a line-up specially curated by Tinie Tempah.

"4Music is the official broadcast partner of the event, which took place at the Roundhouse on 29 March and featured performances by the likes of Izzy Bizu and Blonde," says Fretwell.

She adds that The Box Plus Network brands could be popping up at events throughout the warmer months: "We are in discussion with various industry festivals for the spring, where hopefully we will have a presence on a number of panel-type events."

The company recently revealed its Box Upfront 2016 collection of ten emerging artistes in association with Schwarzkopf, a move that will see live performances throughout the year. It has also secured the exclusive UK broadcasting rights for the final series of American Idol.

Ministry of Sound

Phil Faversham, club development director at Ministry of Sound, says the venue was founded on music events. "Events are at the birthplace of everything Ministry does - 25 years ago this September our London venue opened its doors for members-only parties featuring the godfathers of US house music. Since then we have grown to put on more than 1,000 tours and 250 club events a year worldwide, with uncompromising production values."

While the brand has expanded beyond live events - its portfolio now includes everything from a music label and audio range to a music-streaming app - Faversham says they continue to play an important role. "Bringing music to life is still at the heart of the brand, and that very real quality makes us not just a trusted authority to our followers, but a lifelong accomplice. Central to our ethos has always been the ideas of unity and home. One of our most known messages is that we aim to create the moments people live for," he says.

Recent and upcoming events

Ministry of Sound recently teamed up with Dolby to install the brand's Atmos sound system in the London venue. The technology is being employed by electronic artistes at special events throughout the year, and is said to enable them to transform their music to create multi-dimensional, immersive sound experiences for guests.

"We strive to take what we do to the next level, and working with Dolby, a pioneer in sound experience, to install 64 speakers and create immersive clubbing on a giant scale, definitely achieves that," says Faversham.

"To stand on The Box dance floor during a Dolby Atmos set from the likes of Flux Pavilion or London Elektricity is to be inside the music, to feel it in a way never before experienced. Together we are redefining the boundaries."

Ministry of Sound will continue to host club nights worldwide, with events in locations such as Switzerland, Qatar and Thailand planned for this year.

Who else is playing the field?

Google Play Music

Google Play Music acted as the official download and streaming partner of The Brit Awards both last month and in 2015. The partnership saw the brand provide free streaming and downloads to users, who could access audio of the event's live performances soon after they aired.

The brand also hosted the official Brit Awards nominees' after-party, coined The Google Play Music After Show, at the Mondrian London hotel in January. The event saw performances from Grandmaster Flash and appearances from fashion designer Pam Hogg, blogger Bip Ling, presenter Laura Whitmore and musicians Years & Years, Wolf Alice, Catfish & The Bottlemen and Frances.


The brand has delivered a range of events of late, with a particular focus on the student demographic.

These included a live music event for 250 students at an ex-RAF base last summer to close its year-long Secret Social campaign. Also, the brand's DJ booth on wheels visited universities across the country last September and October as part of its Live Loud Refreshes Tour, designed to welcome new and existing students back to study.

More recently, Spotify kicked off its third annual Sound Clash campaign in February, which invites students to submit their ultimate playlist for the chance to win prizes.


The music-streaming service partnered with running event Sure Run to the Beat last September, which saw participants pass through four music zones. Each area featured a live DJ and different theme, such as 'electric avenue' and 'sounds of summer'.

The brand also devised a radio channel, complete with music, for the event, which was designed to motivate the runners.

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