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HMV Launches New Music Fest

LONDON (AP) — Retailer HMV is to launch its own annual music festival with more than 50 up-and-coming acts to perform at a number of established venues in London, it has been announced.

Artists such as The Soft Pack, The Low Anthem and Paloma Faith will perform at the inaugural Next Big Thing event which takes place in February.

It will take place in at least six venues across London such as The Borderline, Heaven and The Jazz Cafe and will run from February 5 to 14. Each will host three acts each.

The latest move follows the company's acquisition of several leading live music venues and a recent experiment with arthouse-style cinemas, which could be rolled out across its stores.

HMV and its live music partner MAMA Group said the festival was to showcase and celebrate a range of breakthrough artists.

Further venues may be added as the list of confirmed acts grows. Other artists include Jesca Hoop, Cate Le Bon, The Wave Pictures and Band Of Skulls.

All of the acts have been tipped to be successful in 2010.

Feargal Sharkey, the chief executive of UK Music and former Undertones frontman, welcomed the event.

"The music industry continues to evolve and embrace all manner of exciting changes, but it will always, and should always, be rooted in discovery and investment in the careers of new artists, composers and musicians," he said.

"Next Big Thing acknowledges this and offers a great platform for a new generation to play some of London's best live music venues."