Clear Channel deal gives musicians Web channels
By Mitchell Peters
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Artists like the Eagles and Christina Aguilera can now play DJ, at least online.
Clear Channel Radio and Front Line Management have formed a joint venture to create artist personal experience (a.p.e.) radio, a stand-alone company that will enable musicians to produce their own online shows. The channels will run 24 hours a day and play songs chosen by the artist, interviews and commentary. The program will launch in July with the Eagles, Aguilera and Weezer.
At a time when artists are looking for ways to forge deeper connections with fans, Front Line and Clear Channel will use ad-supported a.p.e. radio to market albums and tours by offering fans exclusive content as well as an inside look into the musical taste of their favorite artists.
"We feel that the old model of trying to get radio airplay and some video play is broken," says Front Line founder/CEO Irving Azoff, who also serves as CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment and chairman of a.p.e. "We were looking for a seven-days-a-week, 24-hour artist online venture, and the radio channel seems to make real sense."
The a.p.e. radio channels, which also will be open to acts not represented by Front Line acts, can be heard on Clear Channel's local radio station Web sites, through the company's iheartradio iPhone and BlackBerry application, and through widgets placed on the artists' Web sites.
"We want artists to host the channels, tell stories and turn new fans on to new music," says Evan Harrison, president of Clear Channel's digital division and CEO of a.p.e. radio. "It's really a different approach, and we wanted to give the artist the foundation and infrastructure to let them do their thing."
In recent weeks, Clear Channel programmers went into a studio with Aguilera for a three-hour session during which the singer discussed motherhood, fashion and music. Aguilera's playlist will feature songs from Santigold, Black Sabbath and Etta James, Harrison says. Continued...