W Hotels Starts Record Label With First Release From Amber Mark
The W Hotels chain is diversifying its business and expanding into the music industry with the launch of a new record label, fittingly called W Records. The Marriott-owned luxury chain announced Tuesday that it will release work from four artists over the next year, with the first being a single from rising New York-based R&B singer Amber Mark.
“W Records is, undoubtedly, a natural next step for W and music. It represents a complete 360-degree approach to our innovative music programming -- one in which we support emerging talent, provide them a place to record, distribute their music and act as a live venue,” said W global brand leader Anthony Ingham in a press release.
The W artists will be recording in W Sound Suites, on-site recording studios in the Hollywood, Barcelona, Bali and Seattle locations. The music will be released as limited-edition vinyls and digitally, with AWAL, a U.K.-based digital music distributor owned by Kobalt Music Group, handling global distribution for W.
Kobalt invested $150 million into AWAL earlier this year for the company to expand its staff and build more artist development infrastructure.
W has previously dabbled in live music, specifically through their Wake Up Call festival series, which took place in Hollywood and Barcelona in September, and concludes on Saturday in Bali. The fest features three different lineups that were headlined by acts including Charli XCX, Tove Lo and Black Coffee.
But W is not the first Marriott brand to jump into the music world. Aloft Hotels runs a popular music competition called Project: Aloft Star in conjunction with Universal Music Group that takes place in different cities around the globe. They’re launching a live show, the Project: Aloft Star Tour, this year. W Records will also be in the concert space, with intimate sets by the label’s artists planned for W guests.
In a May interview with Billboard, Mark said she was in the process of writing a full-length album, but as of now, it’s unclear whether that will be released on the label.
Her W Records cover of Kings Go Forth’s 2010 track “High on Your Love” premiered on The FADER, with a note that the track’s streaming royalties will benefit The Rose, a breast cancer advocacy and aid organization.