Apple’s UK iPhone partner O2 has broadened its investment in UK music, reaching a deal with the < href=”http://www.academy-music-group.co.uk/”>Academy Music Group which will see 11 major UK venues branded as O2 Academy venues from 1 January – including the Brixton Academy, now the O2 Academy Brixton.
iPhone users should see some benefit from the deal – it includes an arrangement under which O2 customers can book tickets for gigs at Academy venues up to 48-hours before they go on sale.
“Our customers tell us that they really value having priority access to tickets at The O2, so we want to bring this benefit to even more customers,” said Ronan Dunne, Chief Executive at Telefónica O2 UK.
“The O2 Academy venues are a hugely important part of the UK’s music scene and we admire their role in musical heritage. Through this partnership we are not only looking to benefit O2 customers, but to also enhance the live experience for all artists and music fans.”
As part of the relationship with Live Nation, O2 plans to reinforce the Academy venues as key outlets for grassroots music in the UK, ensuring new musical talent is recognised and supported, most likely as an extension of its O2 Undiscovered music programme.
O2 will also develop technologies such as mobile ticketing and use the venues to assess the benefits of contact-less NFC (Near Field Communication) technology in the music industry.
O2 customers “may also be able to enjoy other unique benefits that will significantly enhance their experience,” the companies said, citing fast track entry and O2 customer-only zones as examples.
O2 will also have first option to exclusive live content from O2 Academy gigs and will work closely with the artists to make this content available for download to mobile handsets.