Bloomberg has a fascinating piece on Kidz Bop, the preteen kids band that has more top 10 Billboard singles than all but 8 mega artists.
Carefully selected by industry veterans, the band is in its fourth iteration. The current lineup of Bredia (13), Grant (12), Ashlynn (13) and Matt (11) have been together since 2014 and recently released Kidz Bop 27 to a number 3 position on Bloomberg. In 2013 the band accounted for a massive 18.8 percent of all children’s music units sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Success like this requires near professional levels of both management and performance. Ashlynn is a notorious perfectionist who insists on doing take after take of radio promo snippets to make sure she gets it just right. Behind the kids are a fleet of handlers including two of their moms, one A&R guy, their manager, Kidz Bop's COO and a full time teacher. It takes this level of support to maintain their Sirius XM radio show, their Youtube channel with over 18 million followers and their live tour (currently in full swing).
The idea for the group was something of an accident, the product of two former lawyers who got into direct marketed compilation albums. The duo, Balsam and Chenfeld, started by acquiring rights to 70s songs and putting them on compilations. They sold them via commercials aired on cheap TV channels like the Game Show Network. While moderately successful (remember Monster Ballads? It sold 3 million copies!) the pair stumbled on the Kidz Bop idea while raising their own children.
As their children grew up they became too old for Barney and Sesame Street yet too young, at least in their parents' eyes, for Eminem and Britney Spears. The duo decided to record some songs with studio musicians and find 4 kids of similar age to their own to sing. The first album was a runaway success and the duo have been focused on Kidz Bop ever since.
They've even generated big name talent. Ross Lynch, star of Disney's hit TV show Austin and Ally, is a Kidz Bop alumni and a talent sure to grace the big screen in the near future.
The future looks bright for Kidz Bop as well. Their mastery of both traditional and new media combined with a sustainable franchise means the business isn't likely to slow down anytime soon.