By Ed Christman
Genius Brands, the company that creates and licenses entertainment for toddlers and tweens, is partnering with Sony Music Entertainment and its Legacy Recordings label to create a new kids music label, Genius Brands Music, which will produce and distribute original music and popular cover tunes.
The partnership will leverage the content of GBI’s multimedia properties such as “Baby Genius,” “Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab” and “SpacePOP,” to create new musical concepts for the Genius Brands Music label, which will have two imprints: Baby Genius for the toddler market and Kid Genius for children-to-tweens market.
The deal provides global distribution for the labels and grows the relationship with Sony, which earlier this year saw Genius Brands International enter into a multi-year marketing and distribution agreement with Sony Picture Home Entertainment.
“Music has more and more, become the universal language of kids,” Genius Brands International chairman and CEO Andy Heyward said in a statement. “It is simply not possible to effectively launch a kids brand today without music playing an integral role…With the access, distribution and promotional expertise of Sony Music, Genius Brands Music launches with a pedigreed partner that will help strategically drive its success.”
The partnership has put together a team consisting of producer Ron Fair and his spouse singer songwriter Stefanie Fair, who created the theme music and original songs with producer and composer John Loeffler for its SpacePOP property.
The music team will work with Genius Brand writers and editors Steve Banks, character designer Hans Lee and Heyward to produce more than 100 serialized, music driven animated videos, with the first six expected to debut this summer on the SpacePOP channel on Youtube and other video platforms, followed by two new videos every week thereafter. The team will also work on the music issued through Genius Brand Music. Moreover, the brand will be supported by GBI’s music-based apps, web series and a potential live tour with a licensing and merchandising program set to launch at retail in the fall of this year.
While Genius Brand already has a catalog comprised of 500 songs, 125 music videos and music-based toys, the entire library of Baby Genius nursery rhymes, learning songs and tunes have been re-recorded and videos have been refreshed, according to the announcement.
“The children’s entertainment sector, especially in music, requires a unique understanding of how to create both compelling content and audience appetite,” Sony Music Entertainment ’s Commercial Music Group president Richard Story said in a statement. “Andy Heyward is a legendary innovator in children’s media and his cutting edge team is developing incredibly fresh and innovative concepts for kids across all platforms, and we are excited to partner with them on bringing the music from these projects to the global audience.”