It's certainly no secret that Sky Arts has just undergone a pretty thorough overhaul, having gone from two channels to just one and moving its position in the TV guide, moving a step closer to the terrestrial channels and showing that Sky still care about the service. Still caring, in fact, is the ongoing theme with the shift. Sky have not only increased its programming budget by a full 10%, they've also launched a new Sky Arts Production Hub in Milan in an effort to create thrilling new programming for their 21 million worldwide subscribers. Indeed, to help celebrate the relaunch of Sky Arts, the company are going to some great lengths, and getting some pretty big stars on board for a host of surprises.
One such star is Nile Rodgers, one of the finest songwriters and producers of his generation and the mind behind the likes of Chic, Sister Sledge and countless others. The American musician took to the streets of London, dressed as an ordinary busker in order to see how much he could make. Bearing in mind that the disco legend regularly performs concerts where tickets can cost up to £300, Mr. Rodgers only managed to take £12.30 before he dropped his disguise. As he did that, he turned to the songs which defined an era, hits like 'Good Times' and 'Le Freak' which quickly drew in a massive crowd as word got out that it was Nile himself.
This impromptu gig was to mark the relaunch of Sky Arts as a new, single superchannel alongside their new Sky Arts on Demand initiative. It's that latter part which is probably of most interest, with Sky uploading over 1000 hours of arts programming ready for customers to stream at any point, with the promise of much, much more to come in the near future. The shift is likely due the cost of broadcasting two relatively unpopular channels when one and a on demand service could suffice. Indeed, the decision has been criticised on the Sky Bet phone number but on the whole customers just seem pleased for easier access to top tier arts programing.
Heading up the programming on the new superchannel is Guitar Star, a nationwide search to find the very best guitar talent from a range of genres, with the winner going on to perform in front of 30,000 people at the main stage at Latitude Festival - a prize surely coveted by most enthusiastic musicians. So far we've seen the national auditions bring in some amazing talent and the longlist has been chosen. From here, we'll see them go on their journey, being mentored, getting a recording session and maybe, going on to perform at Latitude.
Philip Edgar Jones, Director of Sky Arts said, “We’re convinced that Sky Arts offers something for everyone, and we have tried our best with the relaunch to bring people closer to the stuff they love. We’re delighted to bring that ethos to life with this impromptu performance: Nile is one of music’s living legends and we’re thrilled that he’s helped capture the spirit of Sky Arts in such a fun and entertaining way.”
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