The Mail on Sunday has launched its own record label following a series of album giveaways in recent months, with its first release entering the race to be this year’s Christmas number one.
The new venture, Mail on Sunday Sounds, released its first single this week – Holy Night by the ACM Gospel Choir.
The group was signed after Mail on Sunday editor Peter Wright saw them make the semi-finals of BBC entertainment show Last Choir Standing earlier this year.
Wright told Press Gazette: ‘Holy Night has been played on 30 radio stations so far this week, so you know – fingers crossed – it might even be Christmas number one. That’ll be pretty exciting if it happens.”
The choir’s debut album, Christmas with the Choir, will be released free with the Mail on Sunday on 14 December.
The Associated Newspapers title’s move into music publishing comes after it recently gave away a series of original new albums from artists including Prince and McFly.
The free giveaway of Prince’s Planet Earth last year is understood to have boosted sales of the paper by a third.
Wright said the primary motive behind Mail on Sunday Sounds was to ‘put something into the music industry’and said the title’s two-million circulation allowed emerging acts to get exposure to a wide audience.
‘There is definitely mileage if you can find the right new talent in using newspapers as a way of introducing the public to new acts,’he told Press Gazette.
Wright added that the new venture would be taken ‘one project at a time,’but the label was already working on an ‘exciting new project’with an unnamed act that will be launched in March.
In an interview with Music Week, the Mail on Sunday editor defended last year’s Prince album giveaway.
‘When we did the Prince album we got a lot of flak from the music industry,’he told this week’s magazine.
‘I can understand why some people didn’t like it. But in the end we actually made friends with HMV, who sold the issue in their shops.”