Billboard and W Hotels are proud to announce their collaborative, multi-faceted emerging artist program, Next Up: New Artists, New Music. The partnership will highlight artists that have had major impact on Billboard’s Real-Time Emerging Artist Chart and be anchored by an intimate concert series held at four of the luxury hotel brand’s key U.S. locations.
The Next Up series will focus on four musicians that have reached the top 10 of the Emerging Artist Chart (which monitors the most shared songs on Twitter in the U.S. by up-and-coming artists) in 2016 and help raise their profiles via a series of exclusive content that will live across both properties.
“We’re really committed to finding out what’s new and what the next thing is,” says Paul Blair (aka DJ White Shadow), the North American music director for W Hotels Worldwide. “[We] want to figure out a way we can impact music, take it as far as we possibly can and partner up with the right people. This partnership made a lot of sense the first time we talked about it. Billboard has resources that the W doesn’t have and the W has resources that Billboard doesn’t have. So it’s a way to combine and curate a beautiful, long lasting music impact.”
“Billboard has always highlighted music’s best new talent, and W Hotels’ commitment to supporting rising artists makes this a truly organic and powerful partnership,” says Julian Holguin, Billboard’s SVP of Brand Partnerships. “Together, we will shine a spotlight on artists we feel have strong voices, a fresh perspective, and that special something that will allow them to rise above the pack and have real staying power.”
The first official Next Up concert will be held at the W Hollywood in Los Angeles on May 25, followed by events in Seattle (June), Minneapolis (September) and South Beach, Miami (October). The concerts will be open to W Hotel guests, members of the Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) rewards program and select fans sourced through a sweepstakes. After each event, Billboard will present video of the live performance, artist interviews, and other behind-the-scenes content that will live on Billboard.com and across W’s portfolio.
In celebration of the announcement, Billboard will co-host a cocktail event tonight (April 21) at the W Hollywood after the annual International Music Summit, where dance artist Grabbitz will debut a new live show during a special poolside showcase. More details about Next Up will be announced in the coming weeks.