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Florence and the Machine fans have only a brief wait for the band’s next release, as Universal Republic is set to unveil the band’s live Unplugged performance on April 8 immediately following the MTV broadcast.
Digital retailers will make the set available for purchase right away, while physical retailers will stock their shelves the following day. The initiative marks the first time an Unplugged performance has ever been made available for purchase in real time.
The process appears to be a logical next step for the storied franchise, building off the success of Lil Wayne‘s Tha Carter IV release, which hit digital outlets immediately following his Video Music Awards performance in 2011.
“I think that we are just more coordinated than we have ever been,” MTV’s EVP of Music and Talent Strategy Amy Doyle told THR. “That technology obviously now supports Unplugged being on more platforms than it’s ever been before.” Assuming future Unplugged artists are on board, Doyle also said that the network hopes to make the new album release process a consistent aspect of the series. So far, Dierks Bentley and The Civil Wars are the only other artists signed on for this year’s 8-episode season.
“We have a couple offers out on the MTV side,” Doyle said of additional performers — including one that may change the face of the program. “We are having very spirited and great conversations with an artist who would absolutely push the boundaries and wants to bring Unplugged to life in a way that no other artists have before,” she added.
Florence and the Machine’s performance was filmed in the historic Angel Orensanz, a former gothic revival synagogue in New York’s lower east side, in December. The 10-song-set includes fan favorites “Dog Days are Over” and “Shake It Out,” as well as “What the Water Gave Me,” “No Light, No Light,” “Drumming Song,” “Only if For a Night” and “Breaking Dawn.” As is Unplugged tradition, Welch selected two covers to perform — Otis Redding‘s “Try a Little Tenderness” and a special duet of the Johnny Cash-June Carter classic, “Jackson,” with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age.
Asked why she settled on a classic Cash tune to add to her setlist, Welch responded: “It’s kind of funny, but when I started doing music in South London, knocking around with my friend, I went to her little studio and one of the first songs that we ever recorded in that little studio — which we then went on to record songs like ‘Dog Days’ and ‘Cosmic Love’ — was a Johnny Cash cover of ‘Folsom Prison.’ That’s so random!”
“It’s just funny, I feel like [‘Jackson’ is] such a huge Johnny Cash song,” she added. “Especially with Josh and his voice, it just seemed like a good idea.” To listen to the cover, click here.
The album may not include new originals, but Universal/Republic co-president and COO Avery Lipman intends to “aggressively treat this like a proper release.”
“I was not there and I’m killing myself,” Lipman told THR of the taping. “I watched the piece, it’s remarkable… She just blows you away with the setting, lighting, the colors and the church, everything. It was so dramatic, you could just cut the air.”
As for the band’s follow up to Ceremonials, Welsh told THR that it’s “too soon to say” when fans can expect new music.
“I’ve just got to get myself some time to do it,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to it, actually. I think I’m going to get myself a little studio in London and start working on it when I can. It’ll be nice to have my own place, I’ve never had that before.”
Tune in to MTV on Sunday, April 8 to watch Florence and the Machine’s full Unplugged performance. For now, see a sneak peek of the show in THR‘s exclusive clip below.
Additional reporting by Shirley Halperin.
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