The Montreux Jazz Festival has unveiled its initial plans for 2021 to further future-proof the legendary festival amid the ongoing global pandemic that has disrupted the live event industry. Founded in 1967 on the Lake Geneva shoreline, the Festival has adopted an always-on digital strategy, through its subsidiary media company Montreux Media Ventures, to become a more robust and resilient music festival.
Continuing to champion its hybrid model of live music and always-on digital access for 2021, the festival has brokered an exclusive livestream deal with Canadian music, media, and technology company Stingray and its world leading streaming service, Qello Concerts by Stingray. The livestreams will be available to watch free of charge so anyone, wherever they are, can enjoy the magic of the festival. Additionally, the festival has announced the launch of its MJF Spotlight initiative, set to foster the next generation of groundbreaking talent that the Montreux Jazz Festival is so well-known for supporting through its Montreux Jazz Artist Foundation. The mutually-supportive initiatives will help develop new, creative opportunities required for the long-term sustainability of both the festival and its artists.
These projects are the latest in a series by Montreux Jazz Festival as it continues to expand and diversify its partnerships and presence. Last year, in a difficult context for the whole live industry, Montreux Jazz Festival continued to keep its lights on, even though the 54th edition of the festival was cancelled. In the summer of 2020, Montreux brokered a deal with Eagle Rock and YouTube to launch the ’54th Summer of Music’, a 16-day virtual music festival hosted exclusively on YouTube. The virtual event provided an internationally accessible digital platform for fans to experience the magic of Montreux Jazz Festival in lieu of the physical event while also raising money for the soon-to-be-opened National Museum of African American Music in Nashville.
The festival is expected to announce details about its 55th edition in the coming weeks, as well as new deals and partnerships with brands and labels throughout 2021 to further future-proof the iconic Swiss festival.
Qello Concerts by Stingray Livestreams
Qello Concerts will livestream future editions of the festival as part of an ongoing multi-year agreement. Additionally, the streaming platform will be granted the license to high quality content produced by the Festival’s subsidiary media company Montreux Media Ventures.
Qello Concerts by Stingray already has access to over 50 concerts from the Montreux Jazz Festival, including iconic performances by Ray Charles, Wu-Tang Clan, Johnny Cash, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Deep Purple, Carlos Santana and more.
Commenting on the livestream deal, Montreux Media Ventures CEO Nick Bonard said, “Our deal with Qello Concerts by Stingray to livestream the festival is a key part of our hybrid model, creating an always-on experience. Streaming is a crucial medium for securing the continued success of the festival: if people can’t come to the Festival, we will bring it to them. This deal will enable us to adapt and respond more nimbly to the key challenges facing the sector while generating support for the true lifeblood of the Montreux Jazz Festival — bold, new talent — for many more years to come.”
“We are thrilled to announce a partnership with Montreux Jazz Festival, one of the world’s biggest and longest-running music events, to expand our content offerings with livestreaming,” added Mathieu Péloquin, Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Communications of Stingray. “We are always striving to offer the best concerts available for our music fans. Now, more than ever, audiences can access concerts from their favorite artists and continue to look to Qello Concerts for the top music entertainment they crave.”
The MJF Spotlight initiative is a new music brand that will support up-and-coming talent and exciting music across all genres through digital content creation, such as recorded live sessions, promotion and special events, including a special showcase night at the Festival itself.
As part of MJF Spotlight, the team has been working closely with the major and independent labels, identifying its top 20 artists to watch this year, including rappers Pa Salieu and Ashnikko, jazz powerhouse Steam Down, Nigerian sensation Omah Lay as well as ground-breaking Latin artist Nathy Peluso.
MJF Spotlight will live year-round across the Festival’s channels. Each month, one up-and-coming talent will be selected as MJF Spotlight’s Artist of the Month. He or she will participate in the MJF Spotlight Sessions, which will be published both as exclusive video clips and live EP albums on streaming platforms. The Festival’s booking team will also curate playlists each month with new songs you need to know.
Commenting on MJF Spotlight’s launch, Mathieu Jaton, Montreux Jazz Festival CEO said: “The lack of concerts and festivals has a severe impact on the emergence of new artists. At Montreux Jazz Festival, hundreds of up-and-coming talent usually perform each summer on our various stages. With the launch of MJF Spotlight, we will now be able to promote new talent throughout the year on our digital channels, independently of the Festival line-up. This initiative brings together our booking team’s competence, Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation’s support to emerging talent and Montreux Media Ventures’ digital content expertise.”
Full MJF Spotlight Artists to Watch in 2021 list
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