British Music Experience
The British Music Experience was a permanent exhibition, taking up more than 20,000 square feet, installed into The O2 Bubble, part of The O2 in Greenwich, London. Opened with a private concert by The View in March 2009, it featured a retrospective look at the British music industry since 1944. The museum closed on 30 April 2014 and announced it was looking for a new home.
Spearheaded by music mogul Harvey Goldsmith, designed by Land Design Studio and funded by The O2 owners AEG, BME was created to fill a gap in the UK Heritage sector for Rock and Pop Music. Previously, the National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield had attempted to achieve this but failed to attract visitors and was eventually closed.
The British Music Experience has been set up as a charitable trust and has been funded by £9.5m worth of investment from AEG who hope to recoup their costs within five years. Sponsorship agreements with The Performing Rights Society, Gibson Guitars and Sennheiser amongst others have helped establish the exhibition. In 2010 the UK's fifth biggest food retailer, The Co-operative Group, signed on as the exhibition's main sponsor, pledging to give away 15,000 tickets over the next three years.
The BME contains musical artefacts and interactive experiences using digital technologies. These exhibits are arranged thematically to explore areas of interest in music. Surrounding these exhibits are seven zones exploring British music since 1945 up to the present day, held together by a giant timeline containing thousands of facts, headlines, images, videos and animations that can be explored through the use of a trackball.
Major interactive exhibits which can be found in the museum include:
- Hey DJ!
- Where It's At
- Anatomy of a Pop Star
- Gibson Interactive Studio
- The Great Divide
- Dance The Decades
- Sound Tunnel
- Rock Galaxy
- Table Talk
- Atlantic Crossing
- Future Wall
- The Beat Goes On
Many of these interactive exhibits have been developed by specialist software suppliers Clay Interactive Ltd, iso design and Studio Simple and have been led by a curatorial team directed by Robert Santelli, who has worked on other major music exhibits such as The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio and The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. BME curator Paul Lilley, with Sarah Clark and Laura Bailey, is responsible for the extensive number of artefacts and exhibits on view and the rest of the BME content team is made up of music consultants Rob Dickins, David Roberts and Mark Ellen.
- Some of Elton John's glasses
- Five Spice Girls outfits
- Humphrey Lyttelton's VE-Day trumpet
- David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust costume
- Noel Gallagher’s Union Jack guitar
- Roger Daltrey's outfit from a gig at Woodstock
- Amy Winehouse's dress from her ‘Tears Dry on Their Own’ video
- Guitars from Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Pete Townshend, Brian May, Jamie Cook and Paul Weller
Smarticket technology allows visitors to "tag" areas of the attraction and save recordings which can be accessed via the BME website.
- ilikemusic, March 2009
- The View open British Music Experience at London's O2 Arena, NME, March 2009
- BME Website
- Sennheiser Sounds Right Note at The British Music Experience, Sennheiser, November 2008
- Harvey Goldsmith
- BME's hall of fame to honour British legends of music, Times Online, 4 March 2009
- Music Week, 2 March 2009
- British music museum opens doors, BBC News, March 2009
- BBC News, November 2008
- British Music Experience will rock your world, Wharf, March 2009
- Land Design Studio unveils music experience at The O2, mad.co.uk, February 2009
- British Music Experience to Rock The O2, realwire, 3 March 2009
- Times Online, January 2008
- Learn to play guitar with Macca at the O2 music hall of fame, thisislondon, 4 March 2009
- Amy Winehouse Myspace blog
- Official website
- Anschutz Entertainment Group Official website
- Harvey Goldsmith Official website
- Sky at The O2 Official website