WHEN you walk into a record store great music is just what you expect to find. But one Bury outlet has been mixing things up by bringing talented unsigned artists to the masses in a series of in-store gigs.

Bury HMV has just wrapped up its first season of an innovative initiative ­— opening its doors and its shelves to underground bands and musicians in a bid to help them boost their exposure and land their big break.

The Live and Local campaign not only offered seven artists the chance to have their releases sold and promoted in-store, but also saw them play unique, free to attend gigs in the shop.

Steve Toolan, HMV Bury’s store manager, said: “The response and support that we have had from our customers and general public has been phenomenal and surpassed our expectations.

“We have been blessed with a wealth of talent locally and from within the Greater Manchester area.

“These artists have even brought along their own fans, including family and friends, and they have even created new fans.

“It really has been a great platform for them promoting their material. I can’t believe these are not signed to a label. It really has been exceptional and been the highlight of mine and HMV staff’s week.”

Taking part in the initiative were Bury and Bolton psychedelic indie rockers Fragile Audio, Bolton singer songwriter James Holt, Bury-based artist Jay Dunn, Bury and Bolton surf rock punks Adventures of Salvador & Uke Punk, Oldham indie band The Recreation, and Stalybridge teenage multi-instrumentalist Cobain Jones.

As well as fostering a friendly rivalry of seeking to out perform each other, the initiative has seen the artists supporting one another and social media and promoting each other’s gigs.

At the same time HMV has been giving the bands the opportunity to have their CDs put on sale inside its stores, which then also play the bands’ music and promote them via their social media channels.

Bury’s outlet is currently stocking CDs from eight different artists, which have seen dozens of purchases, and has plans to soon add another four to the roster.

With the success of this year’s gigs Steve and the staff at HMV Bury are already looking forward to next year when they are planning to return with even more live instore gigs and opportunities for unsigned acts.

Steve added: “We’re looking forward to 2020 and what new talent will appear when we continue the in-store sessions. If it’s anything like this I couldn’t ask for more. I wish everyone every success in their musical career.”