MSN (the Microsoft Network) and U2 have announced the launch of the Irish band’s first official Web site, http://www.U2popmart.msn.com. The site will bow this Friday with “Pop Invasion,” a live one-hour Webcast where U2 fans can hear a live interview with the band while viewing digital photos. The continuously updated site, which is produced by MSN, will feature extensive coverage of the band’s PopMart tour. Special features include Daily Pop, an interactive tour map that traces the path of the tour, including live weather updates, and information about opening acts and stadium capacity; the Pop Fly Cam, featuring 360-degree shots from locations on the PopMart stage; the PopMart tour insider’s diary; live links from the shows and live chats for the duration of the tour; and PopMart Radio, where fans can listen to U2 on Web radio and vote for their favorite tunes by Bono and the boys. Said U2’s manager, Paul McGuinness, “With each new tour we break ground–this time it’s cyberspace, by far the biggest stage we could ever play.” And they don’t have to worry about not selling out.
U2’s fourteen-month PopMart tour began on April 25 in Las Vegas, and since then, tales of lagging ticket sales have plagued the band. Last Thursday, Bono called up British magazine NME and responded to those allegations: “I think it’s like, do people want us to win or do people want us to lose? If you want us to lose you can find various facts and add them together and get completely the wrong picture, but it might suit your purposes. I mean, you really scratch your head. We’ve just played to 120,000 people in New York City. We’ve sold five million copies of Pop; we’re just about to sell our two millionth ticket this week; and apparently we’re in trouble. I just think the music business is really fucked. The mentality is just born of avariciousness and greed.” Whether or not the tales of empty seats are true, this added publicity boost of an official Web site from Big Brother Microsoft might be just the kick that the band’s excruciatingly expensive tour needs to fill those stadiums
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