Bono Is Jumping Into The Digital Music Business

This story was written by Tameka Kee.
(Red) Wire, the singer's new music-download service, will go live the beginning of next month on MSN.com. Like other music-subscription and discovery services, it will rely heavily on exclusive tracks to attract users: its launch will feature premieres of tracks and videos from artists like U2, Jay-Z and Coldplay, with others like Bob Dylan and R.E.M. to contribute content in the future, it says.

Bono is betting that being charitable a portion of the proceeds will go to the Global Fund, which buys medicine for people living with HIV/AIDS in Africawill actually help drive revenues. No tie up with MSFT-owned Zune, by the way. Each week, (Red) Wire will debut an exclusive song from a major artist, a track showcasing a lesser-known artist, an inspirational non-music clip and a clip that shows the impact of (Red) dollars at work in Africa.

"The idea is a bite-sized (collection) that arrives automatically in your iTunes," says Don MacKinnon, president of (Red) Content, in an interview with Variety. (Red) has partnered with a number of brands, including Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), the Gap and Converse, to sell (Red)-branded products, and (Red) Wire is no different. "Artists are taking far reduced rates, but we're paying artists and publishers and have created a model to make this sustainable," he says. The artists can also use the tracks as they please after their (Red) Wire debut. 


By Tameka Kee

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