Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

U2 and Coldplay back new Aids mag

By Georgie Rogers
6 Music news reporter

U2 frontman Bono
U2 have delayed the release of their 12th studio album to early 2009

Artists like U2, Jay-Z, Coldplay, The Killers and The Police have backed a new online magazine called Redwire which supports Aids projects in Africa.

Subscribers will pay 4 a month for four exclusive tracks with half of the proceeds going to Bono's Red charity.

The initiative coincides with World Aids Day.

MSN.com is also streaming one song per hour to mark the launch, including a John Legend cover of Bob Marley's Redemption song.

The U2 frontman founded Red, an activist organisation which supports HIV-infected people in Africa, back in 2007.

Red international chief executive Seb Bishop told BBC 6 Music: "There is a brand new song from U2, John Legend singing Redemption Song by Bob Marley. We've got The Killers and Neil Tennant and Elton John.

"We've got Jay-Z doing something, Kid Rock, The Police, Death Cab For Cutie and Coldplay. I can't tell you everything because otherwise it's going to spoil the trick but everyone should get on board."

The important point with Red is that from that 4 you pay every month, 2 goes directly to Africa and the other 2 also goes to the artists and the music company
Red chief executive Seb Bishop

Another live video track which has appeared on MSN is The Police and Elvis Costello performing Watching The Detectives.

Speaking about why big name acts have got involved, Bishop continued: "The important point with Red is that from that 4 you pay every month, 2 goes directly to Africa and the other 2 also goes to the artists and the music company.

"So, they're still making money so they are more willing to give us tracks and obviously the user consumer gets exclusive content which is incredible.

"This is the third time that The Killers have given us a track around World Aids Day so they're big, big supporters."

Bishop is not worried whether the economic downturn will affect whether people will sign up.

"78% of consumers are more likely to buy the music if there is a cause attached to it," he said.

"If you think about the amount of music that you're going to get for that 4, every week you get four pieces of exclusive content, and then also we show where some of the money is going in Africa and where some of the benefits are going."

Red is 'cool'

Last-minute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman, who is behind the initiative, is confident that people will subscribe and spend their money.

He explained: "I think there's an authenticity about it and I think, because they've got Bono, he's able to get amazing artists behind it.

"I think that also gives that credibility in the public's mind that they will be able to get great music and that by buying this music, through this Redwire distribution channel, they'll help save lives in Africa."

Hoberman also claimed it might appeal to the conscience of an illegal music downloader: "A lot of people who do download, even pirated music, they're beginning to feel a bit guilty about it, so I think that this will totally counteract that feeling.

"They will think, 'Well, not only am I doing the right thing, but also some of that money is going to help lives in Africa.' So I think there is a positive feeling about it.

"And also Red's doing a good job of being, and it's a terribly overused word, cool."

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SEE ALSO
Bono's Red raises $50m for Aids
01 Dec 07 |  Business
Voice of influential U2 frontman
23 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Bono bets on Red to battle Aids
26 Jan 06 |  Business

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