Juice Wrld’s posthumous album highlights New Music Friday. Also out: a new Kid Cudi and Eminem song, plus tracks from Tim McGraw and Katy Perry.
Pitbull is going digital, with plans to host four pay-per-view concerts in the coming weeks that will enable fans worldwide to see the rapper perform live on their computers, mobile devices or smart TVs.
The move comes as the global coronavirus pandemic has shut down concert venues, putting a temporary stop to in-person performances.
“We’re about to have a good time,” Pitbull told USA TODAY. “Any stage we can get on right now, I’m excited.”
To make it all happen, Pitbull has teamed with LiveXLive Media, a company that specializes in livestreaming audio and video technology. The deal came together, the rapper said, when he was looking for a way to host a virtual graduation celebration for his Sports Leadership Arts and Management (SLAM) charter school.
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Quickly realizing they didn’t have the technology, Pitbull says his team reached out to LiveXLive and the plan grew into something much bigger.
“It’s one of those rare moments of business and life where you have a connection right out of the gate,” LiveXLive president Dermot McCormack said. “You know you’re brothers when you meet.”
The fan experience, Pitbull promises, will be the same as an in-person show.
“They can expect what they see when they see us live: a lot of energy, a lot of fun, a lot of positivity, which is what they need right now,” he said in an interview Monday.
Tickets to each pay-per-view show will be $9.99 and go on sale starting Aug. 14 on the LiveXLive website. The first concert is Sept. 12, with the remaining three shows following on consecutive weekends.
Pitbull says his team plans to make each show as different as possible, promising a number of surprises.
“We’re coming up with ways right now,” he said. “Mixing up the set list, mixing up the sounds. One weekend we might be mixing a little more Latin America and then Europe and then the States.”
Even though he’s a big-name performer who regularly sells out arenas across the globe, Pitbull says performing without a live, in-person audience won’t be an issue for him.
“Whether it’s one person, no people or 100,000 people, you give 150,000%,” he said.
During the coronavirus shutdown, Pitbull has stayed busy, dropping inspirational single “I Believe We Will Win.” The music video features images of everyday people.
Lyrics, such as these, aim to help people stay positive: “You know what spreads faster than any virus … Is fear // When it comes to fear you can either forget everything and run // I said I (I) // Or you can face everything and rise // I believe (I believe) // And let me tell you what I believe // I believe that (I believe that) // I believe we gonna face everything and rise // I believe that we will win (I believe that we will win).”
He also teamed with the Global Entrepreneurship Network to provide loans to struggling Latino-owned small businesses.
The rapper, who has sold more than 80 million singles, says COVID-19 and its impact on the world remind him, in a way, of what he witnessed during his own childhood.
“I relate to what a pandemic is like,” Pitbull said. “Growing up in the ’80s in Miami, it was coke, crack cocaine or AIDS. It builds all the character.”
In addition to the pay-per-view shows, Pitbull will launch a video podcast that will live on LiveXLive’s PodcastOne platform.
McCormack says he expects the offerings to appeal to people around the globe.
“They call him Mr. Worldwide for a reason,” he said.
In addition to Pitbull, LiveXLive has worked with 1,100 artists, big and small, this year. McCormack anticipates that, when venues open again, it will become the norm for most performers to offer the option of in-person or virtual tickets — or a combination of both.
“COVID has sped up this business model,” McCormack said.
Follow Gary Dinges on Twitter @gdinges
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