Decca to Release Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Wedding Album Same Day as Ceremony
An entire royal marriage ceremony will be made available globally on streaming services for the first time.
It promises to be one of the most-watched global TV events of the year, so could the forthcoming Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also become one of the year's biggest classical music releases?
As unlikely as it sounds, the announcement that Universal's classical label Decca Records is to record the May 19 wedding ceremony live and release it direct to streaming services worldwide the same day certainly raises the possibility.
"This will go down in history as the first time a Royal Wedding can be re-lived within hours through the world's streaming platforms; every word and every note of music," said Dickon Stainer, president and CEO, global classics and jazz, announcing the album, which will be released digitally soon after the wedding finishes. CD and vinyl versions containing a special collector's booklet will be released into stores May 25.
Musicians confirmed to perform at the ceremony – which takes place at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle – include British cellist Sheku Kanneh Mason, Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, The Choir of St George's Chapel and Christian gospel group The Kingdom Choir.
An orchestra, conducted by Christopher Warren-Green and made up of musicians from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia, will also perform throughout the service, which is expected to be watched in huge numbers worldwide.
The TV audience in America is expected to be particularly strong thanks to its favourable viewing time (Saturday morning), Meghan Markle's biracial US heritage and her high-profile acting role in USA Network's legal drama "Suits."
Back in 2011, Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton drew 23 million viewers across 11 American TV networks, according to TV ratings company Nielsen. In the U.K., 24 million tuned in to watch the event, while an estimated 2 billion people in more than 180 counties were reported to have seen some form of coverage across TV reports, newspapers and digital and social media.
"Capturing the words and music of this Royal Wedding is a great responsibility, knowing how much a permanent record of the event will mean to so many people around the world," said multi-Grammy-nominated classical producer Anna Barry, who will oversee Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Wedding record. She promised a "state of the art recording which captures every nuance of this very happy day."
Although this will be the first Royal Wedding album to be distributed direct to streaming services, it's not Decca Records first foray into the beyond-niche genre. The British label, which celebrates its 90th anniversary next year, previously recorded and released the Wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, which was made available to download on the same day, as well as the Wedding of The Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981. It additionally covered Princess Diana's funeral in 1997.
"Decca is hugely proud of its historical connections to The Royal Family and is very much looking forward to recording, and making available within hours, this truly special event," commented Decca Records president Rebecca Allen about its latest addition to the catalog.
For every copy of the album sold, Decca says it will make a donation to support the charitable work of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.