The beat goes on for music-based content in the kids entertainment space, with simple tunes and accompanying visuals playing a major role in capturing kids’ attention. A great deal can be derived from the strategic approaches driving the transformation of catchy little ditties into the sweet refrains of a booming bottom line. In our four-part series, Kidscreen is looking at newcomers like Little Baby Bum and Baby Shark, as well as industry giants like Disney, which are all trying to figure out just exactly how they can get the dough out of the Do Re Mi.
New York’s KIDZ BOP has managed to stay on top for the past 18 years while it has navigated seismic shifts in the way kids consume music. In 2015, the franchise accounted for more than 20% of kids music units sold, but the days of physical media were soon coming to an end.
Launched in 2001, KIDZ BOP began by offering up “kid versions” of popular songs like “All the Small Things” and “Oops, I Did it Again,” compiling them on CDs and bolstering the brand with music videos and live touring events.
In January, the company released its 39th full-length album and regularly produces around 75 different songs annually. As the kids market dramatically shifted, however, KIDZ BOP was forced to evolve.
Physical media now accounts for less than 20% of the company’s business, with the team shifting its approach to focus on streaming.
“There has been a profound change in the last two years,” says Victor Zaraya, KIDZ BOP president. “YouTube has had a massive influence.”
Zaraya says in the past, success was the result of compilations of big hits driving physical media sales. But now, as YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music are the primary distribution platforms and people can easily seek out their favorite tunes, individual songs take on more importance.
“Right now, it’s all about releasing powerful singles and also creating visuals for them,” he says. “Sometimes we are creating multiple videos.”
For example, there are often versions on YouTube that are just the lyrics, and others with full dance routines. Zaraya says popular songs, like “Uptown Funk,” will have the “official video” as well as other iterations, like videos by external partners or karaoke tracks.
The idea is that if something is popular, the YouTube audience hungers for as many different iterations of it as possible, he says.
While some musicians bemoan the royalty rates doled out by streaming platforms (a recent report from CNBC found that Spotify pays between US$0.006 and US$0.0084 per stream to rights holders), Zaraya says the sheer volume of content KIDZ BOP produces has made the streaming model more than viable. “The pennies add up,” he says.
Want more musical moneymaking tips and tricks? Check out our entire series here.