Vice Media, Live Nation to Launch Music-Focused Digital Content Platform

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Vice CEO Shane Smith

Music-focused platform will launch in 2015

Vice Media and Live Nation have partnered to launch a joint digital venture that will produce music-focused content for a variety of platforms. 

The new digital platform, which will roll out on mobile, web and TV screens in 2015, will feature hundreds of hours of originally produced content that includes short-form video, TV-length series, live music and documentaries. The currently unnamed platform will also offer editorial content, e-commerce and ticketing services. 

"There's a hole in the market on great creative based in the live music business," LiveNation CEO Michael Rapino said during a press briefing. He said Live Nation considered acquiring a company, but he met Vice CEO Shane Smith last year and began conversations around a joint venture. 

"We saw this big white space for news and we saw an even bigger white space for music," added Smith. "And what we like are challenges. … We see this as a tremendous opportunity to make groundbreaking content." 

Vice and Live Nation will also look to sell their content to digital, TV and film buyers. Rapino and Smith previewed several projects in the works, including Earth Works, which stages concerts in remote locations, and Hometown Heroes, a series that takes artists back to where they got their starts. Other projects in the works include Here Comes the Nighttime, a musical variety show from Roman Coppola that pairs comedians such as Zach Galifianakis and Michael Cera with bands onstage, and Live in Front of a Studio Audience, which re-envisions the music video live … in front of a studio audience.

The platform, which will be ad-supported and will look to sell sponsorships around shows, similar to what Vice has done with its other online programming, will hire dedicated editorial and production staff but will also use the resources from each of the founding companies. Vice and Live Nation are not disclosing how much money they've put behind the new platform, but Smith and Rapino said it's a true joint venture. 

"We looked at a lot of options to get creative," said Rapino. "To get that DNA in-house we would have had to acquire something. We looked at all the obvious choices out there, as [Shane] did. That’s we why ended up doing this because, we talked to each other and said, 'Why would either of us want to go buy that when we’ve already got the in-house resources?' "

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