Live Nation, Vice to Launch Digital Music Platform

Concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment and youth media company Vice have formed a joint venture to launch a digital platform that delivers live music, documentaries and other programming to online and mobile audiences, the companies said on Wednesday.

The platform will roll out in 2015, a statement from the companies said.

Vice Chief Executive Officer Shane Smith said the companies aimed to provide music-related programming that will appeal to young audiences. Online and mobile research shows younger audiences are passionate about music but dissatisfied with programming options, he said.

"We see this as a tremendous opportunity to make groundbreaking content," Smith said at a briefing with reporters.

Vice has built an audience of younger news viewers with a mix of hard-hitting reporting out of Syria and Ukraine and other world hot spots along with lighter coverage of culture and entertainment. Investors in Vice include A+E Networks, which is jointly owned by Walt Disney Co and Hearst Corp, and Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

The new music platform will include hundreds of hours of original content including long- and short-form video series, live music and other programming as well as ticket sales. The programming will be supported by ads.

The content will include stories of artists returning to their hometowns or the experiences of fans at music festivals. "There are so many stories to be told before and after the show," Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by James Dalgleish and Tom Brown)