Search on for the ultimate West Midlands playlist.
B-side – a major new campaign to raise the profile of West Midlands music through the creation of a unique 20 song playlist is now live. The public are being asked for suggestions of what single track they think best sums up the region’s varied music.
The B-side project centres on creating the ultimate ‘virtual album’ of songs by artists from the region. From a ‘long list’ initially created by public vote, the B-side Top 20 will then be decided by an expert panel made up of musicians, writers, promoters and presenters, all with a local connection. Panellists include Horace Panter (bassist with The Specials); Phil Etheridge (frontman with The Twang); Vix Vox (singer, ViX & her MsChiefs and ex-Fuzzbox); music journalists Pete Paphides and Matt Everitt (BBC 6Music).
The B-side is an initiative by Visit Birmingham, the city’s official leisure tourism programme. Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services at Visit Birmingham, said: “The city’s musical light has sometimes been hidden under a bushel and, like the B-side of a single, is something of an undiscovered gem.
“The aim of B-side is to show that the region boasts a rich and diverse musical heritage with the likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, ELO, UB40 and Ocean Colour Scene; the region’s music appeals to all generations and across every genre, and with artists including Peace, Swim Deep, Jaws and Laura Mvula, it is a hotbed of exciting new talent. We want to hear from everybody and anybody who loves music to make their voice heard and have a say on the B-side.”
Last year’s Wish You Were Here report by UK Music and VisitBritain revealed the ‘music tourism’ industry was worth an impressive £119 million to the West Midlands economy in 2012. The report also showed that an incredible 50% of concert audiences in the West Midlands are music tourists – far higher than the national average of 41%.
The #BsideBrum campaign centres around creating the ultimate regional music playlist made up of songs past, present and future by artists from the area. From a ‘long list’ initially created by public vote, the B-side Top 20 will then be decided by an expert panel made up of musicians, writers, promoters and presenters, all with a local connection. They will each champion a favourite track using social media, with the public encouraged to campaign for their favourite to be included in the final 20.
The first stage of the campaign begins on May 28th, when music fans from across the UK can submit their suggestions for the B-side at visitbirmingham.com/bside. At the same time, a group of B-side ‘champions’ – musicians, promoters, journalists, academics and celebrities from the region – will suggest a favourite track they would like to see on the final list.
In early July, the B-side panel will meet at Town Hall Birmingham and digest, discuss and distil all suggestions – including their own – to create the 20-track B-side playlist, which will then be made into an online playlist and played at venues across the city.