House of Blues Digital, MTVi, RioPort ink deal

Companies to co-present live pay-per-view music events

House of Blues Digital Inc. inked deals this week with the MTVi Group and digital music distributor RioPort Inc. to provide music content for HOB.com.

HOB.com and MTVi will co-present live pay-per-view music events, which will be promoted by both companies and hosted on the House of Blues Web site.

Beyond saying that the alliance will last for two years, the companies did not release terms of the agreement.

“It’s an interesting compliment between the two companies,” said Lou Mann, president of House of Blues Media Properties. “We are the missing link for them in terms of a live music element.”

MTVi is a network of music Web sites, including MTV.com, VH1.com and SonicNet.com. Mann said the pay-per-view netcasts will probably cost $7.99 each, and the first show could be held in a month.

“This agreement helps strengthen our position as the No. 1 music content company by offering music fans exactly what they want,” said Nicholas Butterworth, president and CEO of the MTVi Group.

RioPort will provide software for audio downloads to be made available on HOB.com. The content of these downloads could include any type of House of Blues licensed content, including live concert recordings and cybercasts, according to RioPort executive vice president and general manager J.D. Heilprin.

“We’ll be providing them assistance from end to end,” Heilprin said. “All content stays House of Blues branded, we provide them with software, and we house all the content that’s being delivered (on our servers).”

The deal with House of Blues Digital follows RioPort’s download distribution agreements with other music Web sites, including MTVi Group.

San Jose-based RioPort is supplied with music by Universal Music Group, eMusic and Audible, all accessible at Rioport.com. Heilprin said tracks from these other partners may eventually be available for download on HOB.com.

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