From its humble origins in 1994 as a kind of punk print magazine from Montreal, Vice Media is extending its digital repertoire even further via a new partnership with Live Nation which will see the creation of a new digital content platform straddling TV, mobile and the Web.
Focussing on live music, the platform is billed to feature original video production (in the form of both long and short form video documentary series), editorial and other original content, and above all, live music experiences which will be created with artists. It’s slated to go live next year and will be rolled out, according to the press releases, in “all major markets.”
Announcing the new venture, Vice’s CEO and co-founder Shane Smith, said:
“Today the content world is in upheaval, with new brands being created in real time, and mainstream media seeing its audience migrate in record numbers. It’s this de-stratification of the status quo that we find so exciting because that, combined with the lack of any real quality music programming out there, equals one hell of an opportunity.”
In a kind of corporate love-in, Live Nation’s CEO, Michael Rapino joined in, saying:
“Shane and the VICE organization have proven to be the voice of this generation. Together with Live Nation’s platform, we are positioned to become the voice of live music.”
Could this be a match made in heaven? Rapino claims that Live Nation had been aware of a “hole in the market”, a “big white space” for news and an even bigger one for music, and had considered acquiring a company to plug it. But then he met Shane Smith last year and the two fell into conversation about what a joint venture between the two of them might look like.
The upshot was a chance to collaborate in making, in Smith’s terms, “groundbreaking content” (a number of projects in the works include Earth Works, series of concerts staged in remote locations, Live in Front of a Studio Audience, which breathes new life into the live music video format and Hometown Heroes, a documentary series that follows artists back to their musical and personal roots).
The platform is expected to adopt Vice’s online programming policy of selling sponsorships around shows (it’ll be ad-supported, in other words). Sounds interesting. Roll on 2015.