Irish pop singer Ronan Keating will host the 5th IFPI Platinum Europe Awards, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said today (May 10).

Irish pop singer Ronan Keating will host the 5th IFPI Platinum Europe Awards, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said today (May 10).

The prestigious gala will take place July 12 at Hotel Le Plaza in Brussels, providing an essential platform for industry leaders and artists to meet and greet Europe's political heavyweights in an intimate surrounding.

A biennial event, the ceremony recognizes recording artists whose album shipments in Europe have exceeded 1 million units. Qualifying artists from around Europe are expected to attend the presentation. Since certifications began in 1996, a total of 748 albums have qualified for platinum status.

Keating, a European chart regular first with boyband Boyzone in the early 1990s and more recently as a solo artist, has qualified for 11 platinum Europe awards.

In agreeing to compere the event, Keating follows in the footsteps of former hosts Phil Collins and Jean Michel Jarre. "The mix of some of Europe's most popular artists and EU decision makers should make for a great evening," he says.

In related news, Italian artist Zucchero and Norwegian performer Lene Marlin have been confirmed as live performers for the gala. Both artists are previous platinum award winners.

For the first time this year, the IFPI has opened the qualification process to nonmember companies and their artists.