In the autumn, glitzy chain W Hotels launched its own record label, W Records. Marisa Cannon reports on why this hospitality brand – part of Marriott International – is breaking into the music business.
Following the success of Wake Up Call, W Hotel’s music festival series for Marriott and Starwood’s loyalty programme members, the record company will back artists from concept to distribution, offering recording space, support on video shoot locations, mixing and mastering, as well as live performances, streaming and vinyl production.
R&B singer, songwriter and producer Amber Mark is the first artist to be represented by W Records, with fans now able to stream her cover of “High On Your Love” by Kings Go Forth.
The label will be overseen by media and events company Giant Step, whose own record label has partnered with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Janelle Monáe, Lady Gaga and Daft Punk.
Tracks will be recorded in W hotel “Sound Suites” – each equipped with an on-site recording studio – in Barcelona, Hollywood, Bali and Seattle properties, with plans to release songs from four rising artists in 2019.
In a statement, W Hotels said: “This combination of a nimble label team with the marketing power of W Hotels and Marriott International creates a unique and exciting prospect for the artists working with W Records to amplify their sound on a global scale.”
Songs are available to audiences on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Deezer, with some 500 copies of limited-edition vinyl going to DJs, influencers and the group’s SPG and Marriott Rewards members.
Anthony Ingham, global brand leader of W Hotels, says:“Over the brand’s 20-year lifespan the music industry has changed beyond recognition, and we have changed with it. Intimate live performances in our Living Rooms have evolved into weekend-long music festivals throughout our hotels.
“The curated soundtracks of years ago have given way to late night recording sessions in our W Sound Suites.
“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. We’ve accomplished each of these tasks in increments before, but now we can do it all.”
One of 29 Marriott International sub-brands, there are more than 50 W hotels around the world.