O2 And Live Nation/Academy Music Group (AMG) Announce Strategic Alliance

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — O2 and Live
Nation/AMG announced today, November 6, a strategic alliance to launch O2
Academy venues across the UK, which are majority owned by Live Nation
alongside fellow shareholders, Metropolis
Music and SJM Concerts. The alliance will boost support for future music
talent and enhance the music experience for fans visiting the venues as
well as allow O2 to offer a number of benefits for its customers.

From the 1st January 2009, the 11 AMG venues will be renamed O2
Academy. O2 customers will gain priority access to tickets to all gigs at
the venues, as well as other Live Nation events across the country. In
total, O2 customers will gain special access to as many as 4,000 Live
Nation produced shows a year in the UK up to 48 hours before they go on
general 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 Telefonica 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."

Simon Lewis, President, Music Marketing Partnerships, International,
added: "O2's credentials in supporting live music are unparalleled and we
are very enthusiastic about working with a partner with such integrity and
understanding of the fan/artist relationship. We intend this partnership to
take O2's position in live music to new heights and allow us to market our
concerts and artist-related products to millions of O2 customers and drive
incremental ticket sales."

John Northcote, CEO Academy Music Group commented: "Academy Music Group
is the UK's leading live music venue owner and operator and we have
successfully built a nationwide network of premier concert venues across
the country. It is very important that we continue to improve the artist
and customer experience, working with like-minded partners. O2 has a
dedicated program and track record of rewarding their customers and
embracing new methods of communication, as well as supporting new and
emerging artists."

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 recognized and supported. Over the past four years, O2
has supported up-and-coming artists with its O2 Undiscovered music
program which endeavors to open up careers in the music industry. O2
will ensure that the O2 Academy venues form a centrepoint for grassroots
musical talent in their local communities as well as creating synergies
with O2 It's Your Community, a nationwide 1 million pounds sterling
community grants program.

O2 will work closely with Live Nation/AMG to enhance the concert-going
experience, developing technologies like mobile ticketing which is both
convenient and environmentally friendly, and utilize 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, including fast track entry,
creating areas for O2 customers and their guests where they can relax
before and after events, and opportunities to text ahead for special

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. Through its Napster and MyPlay
music services, O2 has a variety of platforms available for artists to
distribute their music directly to fans.

The deal incorporates the following venues:

  • O2 Academy Brixton
  • O2 Academy Islington
  • O2 Academy Birmingham
  • O2 Academy Bristol
  • O2 Academy Glasgow
  • O2 Academy Liverpool
  • O2 Academy Newcastle
  • O2 Academy Oxford
  • O2 Academy Sheffield
  • O2 Academy Leeds
  • O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire

    –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers