VisitBritain starts music downloads

VisitBritain is branching out into the entertainment world with its flagship website following the launch of a music download service through EMI.

The partnership will allow visitors to pick from 140,000 tracks on the site, showcasing the “great and the good” of the British music scene in England, Scotland and Wales.

VisitBritain is hoping the huge overseas popularity of British bands will push potential tourists to areas around the UK known for their musical heritage, such as Liverpool and Manchester.

Editorial content about individual cities and bands is also included on the website, alongside the downloadable tracks.

VisitBritain chief executive Tom Wright said: “Twenty-one per cent of potential visitors are inspired to choose a destination because of the music or bands of that country.

“British music and musicians, solo artists and bands are often someone’s first introduction to the unique appeals of this country. Our partnership with EMI Music will help us showcase the places behind the music and encourage them to visit.”

The development is the latest in a line of web-based initiatives for VisitBritain. Last year VisitBritain launched a meta search engine for flights on the main portal amid controversy over its independence as a publicly-funded body. has been praised for its efforts to attract tourists to the UK in the wake of terrorist attacks in 2005 and ongoing security issues at main airports.

Giles Harris, head of business development for EMI Music UK and Ireland, said: “EMI’s catalogue of British music reads like a who’s who of the cream of contemporary British music, from The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Queen, to Radiohead, Robbie Williams, Coldplay, Gorillaz and Pet Shop Boys.

“We’re all so used to plugging in to our favourite music while on holiday, now visitors can download their favourite British tracks and indulge their senses for a thoroughly British holiday experience.”

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