New York kids folk singer to the stars gets into kidvid
New York-based kids musician Laurie Berkner, who counts pop stars including Madonna and Sting among her modest yet impressive core fan base, will release her first video this month. With the title Laurie Berkner’s Video Songbook (US$12.98), the 40-minute tape will feature Berkner in concert performing her quirky trademark songs, along with some crudely rendered 2-D animated overlays. Berkner co-produced Songbook with a friend and will release it under her own label Two Tomatoes Records. Though her music has traditionally only been available at independent toy stores and via www.laurieberkner.com, Berkner has signed a deal with Alliance Distribution, an outfit that will make her CDs available at larger book chains like Barnes & Noble.
Berkner, who began her career as a music instructor for the Manhattan preschool set in the late ’90s, quickly established a national profile. Early on, her zany, folk-tinged compositions about dinosaurs and eating caught the attention of many celebrities, initially landing her a gig to play a party for Madonna’s daughter Lourdes. Fellow stars Sting and actor Ally Sheedy also hired Berkner to play parties for their kids. Other high-profile engagements followed, including gigs at the White House’s Easter Egg Roll last year and, more recently, a performance on the Today show. Far from executing a carefully designed marketing strategy, Berkner credits her success to the grassroots efforts of her adult fans.
‘Parents are starving for good kids music, which is really hard to find because it’s not mass marketed or played on the radio. The only way you hear about it is through a friend or by going to a concert,’ says Berkner, whose three CDs have collectively sold 32,000 units. Next up, Berkner says she is heading into talks with Scholastic about creating her own book series, and is also recording her fourth album for release next year.
DreamWorks goes tech-crazy for Shrek’s DVD release
DreamWorks has upped the tech quotient for the DVD release of its hit distorted fairytale flick. Scheduled to street on November 2 for US$19.95, the two-disc set will include a copy of the movie and a new DVD-ROM program that lets consumers voice their favorite characters from the movie. ‘Shrek’s ReVoice Studio’ will enable users to record dialogue from 12 scenes in the movie and then play them back in synch with the animation. Other features include outtakes, the customary making-of doc and never-before-seen material, and a kids section that will offer a variety of games and activities.
DreamWorks will support the Shrek DVD and VHS (US$15.95), which both prebook on September 5, with an instant-win promo offering consumers a shot at winning X-box consoles, KIA Sedona mini vans, Game Boy Advances and Baskin-Robbins ice cream. Beginning this month, the studio will also support the release with a multimedia ad campaign, Halloween events, an Internet sweepstakes and a series of Shrek-themed in-school programs.