Kate Voegele headlining via MySpace

Tour kicks off Friday and includes 40 dates

Singer-songwriter Kate Voegele will be the first MySpace Records artist to land a sponsored headlining tour. The University of Phoenix is sponsoring the artist's 40-date North American "Back 2 School" trek, which launches Friday at the Glass House in Pomona, Calif.

As part of the sponsorship, Voegele, who is a psychology major at the University of Phoenix, will chronicle her experience on the road through blogs and video diaries via MySpace.com/kateontour. The 21-year-old singer also will upload behind-the-scenes footage from the tour, post bulletin updates and maintain the site's "Ask Kate" forum. Part of the online content will delve into Voegele's attempt to balance two college courses while playing concerts every night.

Under the deal, University of Phoenix will cover some of Voegele's touring expenses in exchange for branding on Myspace, according to MySpace Records GM J Scavo.

"It's all wrapped up in this bigger ad package sold by MySpace," Scavo said. "The centerpiece is the media that's running on myspace.com, which drives traffic to this co-branded page."

Scavo noted that MySpace has been proactive in organizing one-off concerts and branding tours, and sees tour sponsorships as the "next evolutionary step" for the social networking site.

"The MySpace sales staff feels embolden now to go offer these far more complex and integrated packages to advertisers," he said. "If we can keep doing this, it adds awareness and creates some support for our efforts as a label."

The label exec is quick to note, however, that MySpace Records will continue to provide artists with financial tour support even if a sponsor isn't involved. "I would never wait for an advertiser to put a band on tour," Scavo said. "They need to be on tour."

Meanwhile, Voegele spent much of 2007 opening shows for such artists as Ben Lee, Matt Nathanson and Natasha Bedingfield, among others. "She's done sporadic headlining dates but has never done a full tour," Scavo said. "This is where it pays off."

Voegele, who launched her career on primetime teen soap "One Tree Hill," is touring in support of her debut album "Don't Look Away," which has sold 187,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. The artist's collective digital tracks have sold 435,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Voegele's upcoming jaunt, which wraps Oct. 5 at Holloway Hall Auditorium in Salisbury, Md., will feature support in various cities from artists Matt White, Amy Kuney, Keaton Simons, Brendan James, Josh Hoge and Leslie Roy.
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