As The Huffington Post's HuffPost live enters its second year, the video network is launching its first substantial foray into live music. HuffPost Live Music will kick off at 5 p.m. tonight with a performance by indie band Pageants, the first of eight emerging artists that will be appearing over the next three months or so. The series is sponsored by Citi as part of Citi's ThankYou Preferred card campaign.
“From the time we pitched HuffPost Live, we intended to have music,” said HuffPost Live president and co-creator Roy Sekoff. But the process of securing rights to artists’ songs proved tricky, so HuffPost stuck to doing live Q&A segments with artists like Big Time Rush and 30 Seconds to Mars to circumvent any legal issues. But the artist interviews alone still managed to attract a high level of user engagement. “The passionate fandom that came with it really opened our eyes,” said Sekoff, who decided it was time to test the waters with live performances.
Around the same time, Citi wanted to expand its entertainment-centric ThankYou campaign to digital video. “It was perfect timing—we hadn’t gone out into the market to try to sell [HuffPost Live Music], but we’d been internally developing the idea,” said Sekoff. But, he added, “We always want to do product that we’re proud of and we’d do anyway.”
Since launching last year, HuffPost Live has created other branded content for companies like Verizon, Warner Bros. and Cadillac.