O2 To Offer British Music Experience

The British Music Experience, an interactive take on U.K. rock history, will open at London's O2 arena on March 6 with initial backing from the venue's operator AEG Europe and three major sponsors.

Promoter Harvey Goldsmith, chairman of the British Music Experience management board, unveiled the interactive features of the exhibition dedicated to U.K. rock history during the MIDEM international music market and conference in Cannes.

It was inspired by the need for the U.K. to have something comparable to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and Museum and the Grammy Museum. Bob Santelli, who set up both, will oversee the launch of the British exhibition and Paul Lilley has been appointed curator.

"We really needed a home for the history of U.K. talent," said Goldsmith. He added that talent which developed in Britain, such as Jimi Hendrix, would also be celebrated.

The BME will feature memorabilia from more than 100 artists, including costumes worn by David Bowie, Roger Daltrey and Amy Winehouse. However, the focus is on audio-visual technology to bring the show to life, including the opportunity for visitors to dance to their chosen genre of music from the past 60 years and then see themselves as a hologram in a period setting.

Smart ticket technology means visitors can also register their interest at particular exhibit and then access personalized Web content later, including any dancing footage.

"We think YouTube will be awash with people dancing," said Lilley.

Goldsmith said the record industry's woes meant it was not in position to assist in the launch of the exhibition. The initial £9 million ($12.5 million) investment has come from AEG and sponsors Gibson Guitar, Sennheiser and Getty Images.

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