Yahoo! Sponsors College Music Tour, Launches Online Component

Yahoo aims to boost its appeal to college students and the appeal of its rich media content by sponsoring an upcoming campus music tour.

The Yahoo Outloud tour, which the company outlined on Monday, will run nationwide through February and March, visiting 20 cities near more than 60 colleges.

The tour’s Web site features discounted tickets as well as rich media content — such as exclusive videos, tour footage and Webcasts — featuring the headlining band, Weezer.

Yahoo is promoting the site, the content and the tour as an effort to bring Weezer and the tour’s other bands to a worldwide, online audience.

“We’re confident that this year’s tour will give Weezer fans a truly unique online and offline music experience,” said Tiffany Hein, brand manager, Yahoo Music.

The move also strengthens Yahoo’s rich media content, following the recent launches of its video-heavy ShoppingVision and FinanceVision sites.

More importantly to Yahoo’s bottom line, it could also be leading to an effort by the Santa Clara-based company to monetize rich media portions of its site.

According to some reports, Yahoo might be planning a move into the commerce space by charging for streaming rich media and/or downloadable music and video. Considering that Yahoo properties see about 56.5 million hits monthly (according to the latest Jupiter Media Metrix figures) the company stands to gain some sizable income if it decides to start charging for at least some of its services.

The Yahoo Outloud site will include downloadable music, the company said, although it has declined to discuss in detail whether it is planning pay-for-music services.

“Whatever revenue opportunities the record labels are exploring, we are certainly open to exploring those with them,” said Matt Rightmire, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Media and Entertainment.

It also is not known how much of Yahoo’s traffic is from users of broadband or other high-speed Internet access, who able to view bandwidth-intensive rich media content.

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