Rapper 50 Cent is set to headline a South By Southwest concert on March 11 that will be live-streamed via Hang w/, a mobile app that's being used by dozens of celebrities to broadcast their daily activities and chat with fans.
A technophile who has a penchant for wandering the exhibits at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, the 38-year-old Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist is also an investor in Hang With Inc., the Southern California company that created the app, which has been downloaded more than 1 million times since its launch in March 2013.
"I'm excited to be able to bring my fans behind the scenes and give the opportunity to those who couldn’t make it a chance to experience a concert at South By Southwest," Curtis James Jackson III, known as 50 Cent, said in a statement.
The concert is scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. at the 1100 Warehouse in Austin during the "crossover" night between the last day of SXSW's Interactive festival and the start of its music events.
The artist has been steadily using Hang w/ since he became a minority investor in the company, switching it on for a few minutes as he attends New York Knicks games, for example. Fans who follow him on the app are notified when he starts a new live broadcast.
Timbaland, another minority investor in the company, has also used the app to live stream portions of his concerts.
So far, Hang w/ has broadcast 3 million live events, said Andrew Maltin, Chief Executive of Hang With Inc., based in Fountain Valley, Calif. While some of those are initiated by celebrities such as Kaskade, Cheech and Chong, Lucy Hale and Soulja Boy, most are created by average people.
"There was a guy who broadcast himself this morning brushing his teeth and talking about philosphy," Maltin said. "It's reality TV on steroids."
For now, the app is free and does not generate any revenue, but the company plans to introduce advertising in the future, sharing part of that revenue with artists.
"This was the original reason we built the app," Maltin said, "so celebrities can monetize their social media outreach and activities."
50 Cent's forthcoming album, "Animal Ambition," will be available for pre-order on March 18.