Stewart rolls out plan for classic rock TV

Cable, online services to be controlled by artists

LONDON — Musician Dave Stewart is planning to create interactive TV channels themed on classic pop acts like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Marley.

Stewart, best known as half of the Eurythmics, told Daily Variety Wednesday that he had discussed the plan with Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Bono, Lou Reed, Annie Lennox and others. Stewart was attending a new-media seminar hosted by British record industry org BPI.

Stewart stressed that the notion is still in its infancy, but the idea is to produce a subscription bouquet of a dozen cable and online services controlled by the artists themselves.

“I’m saying, ‘How would you like to create your own channel, create an archive for your own work?’ ” Stewart said.

Stewart likened the advent of broadband to the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, when musicians typically got raw deals because they had little understanding of the business.

“It’s up to the artists to take control of what’s going on now,” he said.

Hospital corners coin

Stewart is partnered with Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, in the Hospital Group, which will back the channels.

Allen is the company’s money man, Stewart the creative director. Vet music industry exec John Preston is Hospital’s chief exec.

Preston said Stewart was well placed within the entertainment community to gain the support of some of the music biz’s biggest acts.

Hospital is in the process of building a state-of-the-art multimedia center in London’s Covent Garden district.

The complex, called the Hospital, is skedded to open in June 2002. Along with the necessary broadband TV studio, it will include post-production and recording facilities, a restaurant and a members’ club.

Stewart’s first foray into the TV biz is the lifestyle channel Innergy, a co-venture with pan-European cabler UPC that launched in the summer.

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