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Nick Gatfield announces A&R Academy at Sony Music’s Annual Showcase 2013

The Sony Music Annual Showcase 2013 presenting forthcoming music from new and established artists took place today at the Mermaid Theatre, London. Eight acts performed live on stage - Foxes, Chloe Howl, James Arthur, Ella Henderson, Kodaline, Mikky Ekko, Tom Odell and Miley Cyrus – before an audience of 600 invited guests including Sony Music executives from around the world, retail partners, media, brands and Sony sister companies. The live performances were interspersed with video presentations from each of Sony’s labels - Columbia, RCA, Syco, Sony Associated and Commercial Group.

Encapsulating the theme of the day “The Future Starts Here” Sony Music Chairman and CEO, Nick Gatfield, said “Our single most important task and our goal is to be the industry’s best home and partner for creative talent. It’s what we’ve always strived to achieve and where our future lies. It simply is the lifeblood of our business and our raison d’être”.

Allied to this commitment, Gatfield announced the creation of an industry first – an A&R Academy to be delivered in partnership with leading music colleges including BIMM Group, LIPA, ACM Business School and Westminster. Speaking about the Academy, Gatfield said:

“We need to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and risk taking and find the executive stars of the future. Which is why I can announce today that we are establishing an industry first – an A&R Academy designed to find the best young creative talent and prepare them for a career in the modern music industry. For those who can demonstrate that they have the potential to spot and work with talent, this will provide the opportunity to work for 12 months in A&R alongside our existing teams with the support of a clear and rigorous training and mentoring programme.”

Adam Bushell, College Manager at BIMM Brighton said:

“BIMM are delighted to be working with Sony Music in support of their ground breaking A&R Academy. Employability, Artist Development and fostering a creative and independent mindset are at the heart of everything we do at BIMM, so to be working with Sony Music – a highly regarded organisation who understand our ethos and share our passion for investing in the future of the music industry – is a very exciting prospect. The most exciting element of this initiative is that whilst young people can benefit from the training and mentorship from some of the UK’s most successful and creative A&R executives, Sony itself will benefit from the fresh perspective of those who are passionate about great music and vital new artists. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the results and how this will shape the future for new music.”

Jo Dipple, Chief Executive of UK Music said:

“UK Music is proud to support Sony’s new A&R Academy as it represents an incredible opportunity for talented young people to get started on one of the most exciting career paths the music industry has to offer. UK record labels are leading the way and re-writing the rules when it comes to finding and developing the next generation of music industry execs and I can’t wait to hear the new music that will be unearthed by Sony’s new recruits.”

The Academy will be run according to stringent criteria with candidates handpicked by a Selection Committee which will encompass senior Sony Music executives as well as representatives of partnering music colleges. The Academy will also be open to current Sony Music employees who meet the criteria. Full details of the scheme will be made available in December. It will launch in 2014.

As well as looking forward to the future, Sony’s Showcase also celebrated their year to date including breakthrough talent such as Tom Odell , Laura Mvula and Kodaline, the spectacular return of David Bowie, Calvin Harris’s record breaking 9 Top Ten hits from a single album, the rise and rise of One Direction recently hitting the No.1 box office spot in America with their first movie This Is Us, the return of Daft Punk with the fastest selling artist album of the year, Sony Music’s Commercial Group becoming the market leader in compilations, and Sony’s acquisition of EMI’s European rights to NOW! That’s What I Call Music.

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