W Hotels Worldwide has just appointed Michaelangelo L'Acqua as the hotel chain's first global music director, assigning him the task of creating partnerships with labels, curating the company's compilation CDs and finding other ways to integrate music into the W's branding efforts.

L'Acqua has served as European music director for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent and founded the production company Onda, which has produced fashion shows for Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and others. He has also executive-produced major-label concept albums, such as the Nat "King Cole" remix and covers collection "Re: Generations" that EMI Music released earlier this year.

W Hotels has never had a global music director before. What will your role at the company be?
I'll be a strategic advisor who will facilitate in making the W a credible and authentic brand within the music industry. I'll grab artists to be associated with the W via our DJ series or featured events. I'll be pulling in the latest technology, whether it be an iPhone application or an e-commerce distribution site. I'll be creating brand extensions and partnerships with different record labels. I'll be identifying key events and festivals that we can be branded with.

What types of events are you looking to hold at your hotels?
We have a DJ series that's starting up at the end of September at the W in Union Square [in New York]. We have [members of] TV on the Radio, Brazilian Girls and LCD Soundsystem, among others. We're just going to keep pulling in really cool artist DJs. They're going to be twice a month. We'll probably expand that series eventually.

W Hotels has locations all over the world. What approach will you take to music in North America versus elsewhere?
Right now they have a partnership with Sony, so music and playlists are drawn directly from this relationship, then it's offered to all the W hotels. Moving forward, we will explore regional playlists. So if you're going to stay at a W in Asia, we might be able to offer you a full W playlist digitally. Or if you're going to Latin America or Europe we'd be able to do the same thing. And then we'd offer a general CD that might come out every year. I believe we will explore a multitier approach so that each region has its own identity, but we can still offer a W voice musically on top of each region.

Click here to read more about L'Acqua's past experience at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, his thoughts on aural branding, and the risk of turning off potential customers who may not be fans of certain music.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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