Skype and Live Nation have introduced the Ones To Watch With Skype, an interactive platform where fans will have direct access to emerging artists using Skype technology with bands performing at Live Nation’s House of Blues venues.
The program begins on Thursday (Feb. 6) with Walk Off the Earth, who play the House of Blues in Orlando and also appear in a just-launched Skype Q&A with Swedish rock group the Hives, which premiered on House of Blues’ YouTube channel and at OnesToWatch.com/Skype.
“We want to create intimate experiences between fans and artist on the cusp of stardom, and amplify those moments into great content,” says Jaclyn Lee-Joe director of audience, marketing and broadcast media at Skype.
Skype and Live Nation previously partnered in 2013 on branded experiences during Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball tour, and Philadelphia’s Budweiser Made In America Festival, where Solange answered questions submitted by fans via Skype. As part of Ones To Watch, Skype will host Group Video Calls for fans at House of Blues venues to interview rising artists, and utilize the Group IM feature to distribute exclusive information and photos across the concert series.
Russell Wallach, president of alliances at Live Nation, notes that Skype's own marketing will play a big role in getting the word out. At parent company Microsoft's Build 2013 conference last summer, Skype announced it had a customer base of more than 299 million connected users.
"They've got a huge database, and they're a great marketing organization," Wallach tells Billboard. "We're still finalizing media plans, but you can expect to see them supporting the program in a variety of ways."
In addition to Ones To Watch, “we have a whole range of Skype-enabled experiences we’re looking at as we walk through the year with our larger partnership with Live Nation,” Lee-Joe says. “We want people to experience the mobility of our technology and how you can always remain connected across platforms, whether it’s a Windows phone, an Apple iOS or an Android, you will always be able to get involved in conversations wherever they are.”