McDonald's has announced its entrance into the live music business. The fast food giant will host a free 10-city tour with multi-genre performances from Ne-Yo, Kenna, Kat DeLuna, the Dey, Single File, Twista and Kevin Michael in various markets. The majority of dates will be held in McDonald's parking lots around the country.

In the past, McDonald's has been involved with tour sponsorships. "But this is the first time we've put together a McDonald's tour," Douglas Freeland, director of U.S. marketing at McDonald's, tells "We're always looking for ways to strengthen brand relevance with young adults, and we know from work we've done in the past that music is their number one passion."

McDonald's Live, a collaboration between McDonald's and event marketing agency TBA Global, launches with a July 26 performance from Ne-Yo and Kenna at California's Venice Beach Recreation Center. From there, the trek visits such markets as Denver (Single File), Chicago (Twista), Philadelphia (Kevin Michael) and Bloomfield, N.J., (Kat DeLuna, the Dey). The tour wraps Sept. 25 in Austin, Texas, with additional artists to be announced.

"Our strategy was to involve emerging multi-genre artists who are releasing new music this summer," Freeland says, noting that some artists are matched with their hometowns.

As for the rest of the tour's as-yet-unannounced lineup, Freeland says, "We want to make sure we catch artists who are starting to break loose and getting spins at radio. If we lock down and commit with an artist too far in advance, you can't be 100% sure what's going to happen."

Between 500 and 1,500 concertgoers will be admitted to each free show on a first come, first served basis. A stage will be set up in the middle of each McDonald's parking lot, with onsite security and barricades to block off the area. Each show will begin at approximately 6:30 p.m., according to Freeland.

"The thing that really makes this unique is that we're not going into some arenas and hanging banners up," he says. "We're bringing the experience right to the brand by hosting these events at McDonald's restaurants, with the exception of the launch in L.A."

As part of the marketing and promo strategy, each concert will be videotaped and later available for viewing at "So if you're in a city that isn't hosting one of these events, you can go to the [Web site] and view the content."

After the tour finishes, fans will vote for their favorite artist. The winner's music will be featured in a McDonald's 2008 advertising campaign. "We're going to hold the voting until all of the events are over so that everyone has a fair shot."

McDonald's Live will be promoted through local radio and Web site banner advertisements. Concert information will also be listed on McDonald's french fries boxes, beginning Aug. 8. In addition, live performance clips will appear on Yahoo! Music and in programming on MTV.