Microsoft helps U2 land first Web site

The Microsoft Network and U2 have teamed to launch the band’s first official Web site, which will bow with “Pop Invasion,” a live one-hour webcast that will emanate on Friday from the studios of KROQ radio. The band plays the L.A. Coliseum the next day.

Fans around the world will be able to log on (U2popmart.msn.com) and hear a live interview with the band as well as view digital photographs of the interview. The chat will also be carried live on the radio for the keyboard-challenged members of the audience.

MSN will expand the site as the tour progresses and will feature updated information on the band along with rare photos, up-to-the-minute news, competitions, multimedia games and live interviews. There are more than 1,000 U2 web sites, but this will be the first to involve and be sanctioned by the band.

“With each new tour we break ground — this time it’s cyberspace, by far the biggest stage we could ever play,” said Paul McGuinness, the band’s manager.

The site will be divided into several sections such as: Daily Pop, an interactive tour map that traces the path of the tour, including live weather updates, stadium capacity and support act information, and gives concert dates and times; Pop Fly Cam, a 360-degree view of the tour shot from locations on the PopMart set, including a band’s-eye view from the stage; and “POP — The Album” boasting audio and video clips and interviews with people involved in the making of the disc.

“U2 represents a rare combination of passion, style and a fearless capacity for innovation — a perfect match for MSN,” said Bob Bejan, executive producer of MSN. “With the new site, MSN is bringing the best, most original programming to the Internet.”

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