Why great artists transcend music

When I ran Virgin Records, my favourite artists were those who managed to transcend genres and really connect with a huge range of people. They were the ones – like Peter Gabriel, like Culture Club, like The Sex Pistols – who had a massive effect on the culture, and became important for far more than their records. It’s a very rare quality, even more so today.

Richard Branson Virgin Records Sex Pistols

One modern artist who does this in a unique way is Jay Z. I’m no rap expert, but the way he has brought his music to the masses and expanded far beyond simply songs is impressive. I also love how he has used his personal story – from a tough upbringing on the streets to global mega-stardom – to build a personal brand, inspire a generation, and use his influence for good in campaigning for drug policy reform. I’ve even found myself borrowing a line from my fellow entrepreneur. For our VOOM contest a few years ago, I explained “I’ve got 99 problems but a pitch ain’t one!”

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It’s great to see Jay Z at the top of the Virgin V Festival 2017 bill, alongside the ultimate party starter, P!nk. I’m also pleased to see so many current Virgin Records artists heading to the festival in Chelmsford and Staffordshire on August 19th and 20th. Along with Jay Z, Jonas Blue and The Vamps are amongst the first artist announcements. What’s more, I’m sure Sean Paul will know how to get the crowds moving, based on his set at the Necker Cup. Rudimental, who played the first ever gig live-streamed from 30,000 feet on a Virgin Atlantic flight, will also by flying high at V.

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To help you out if you want to beat the crowds, you can secure your Virgin V Festival tickets 72 hours in advance of the general sale. Virgin Red, our app that rewards you for living a life more Virgin, are offering verified members an exclusive presale - head over to Virgin Red right now to get your tickets, before the general sale at 9.00am on Friday March 3rd.

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I’ve had so many amazing moments at Virgin V Festival that, like all good parties, I can’t remember them all! I’m sure everyone attending this year will make their own memories to last a lifetime.

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