Blue Ivy. Budweiser. Barclays. Brooklyn Nets. YouTube.
To say Jay-Z has had a busy year would be an understatement, and now the rapper/entrepreneur is adding a new venture to his crowded plate: a YouTube channel.
Jay-Z's Life+Times channel will launch Saturday at 9:30 p.m. ET with a live stream of his final sold-out concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. (Which also happens to be the home court of the Brooklyn Nets, the NBA team that lists him as a minority owner.)
"His philosophy has always been to do things out of the box, do them first, do them in a surprising way," says IconicTV co-founder and chief creative officer Michael Hirschorn of his company's collaboration with Jay-Z and YouTube. "I think that's one of the main reasons he has kept his brand as fresh and robust as he has ."
The channel, an offshoot of Jay-Z's personal blog by the same name, will feature original video content, including the Brooklyn Nets docu-series The Road to Brooklyn, the fan-interaction show Roc Nation Check-In and Well Dunn With Jourdan Dunn, which follows the exploits of the British supermodel.
Hirschorn says the channel will operate like a television network, right down to monetizing through advertising.
"The site really is a way for Jay to showcase the breadth of his interests, from fashion, architecture, music, style, food, consumables, electronics, and so forth," Hirschorn says. "We're approaching this channel and programming it, not at the level of an MTV or a BET -- at least, not yet -- but really programming it as a real channel that will have regular content, some featuring him, some under his creative direction."
Jay-Z, 42, is among the latest spate of stars entering into digital content creation. This summer, Tom Hanks launched the Web series Electric City on Yahoo, Larry King brought news to Hulu, and Jerry Seinfeld premiered a comedy series on Crackle. Upcoming and ongoing YouTube star collaborations include Pharrell Williams, Queen Latifah and Shaquille O'Neal.
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