The art of the music video is generally lost on today’s youth. While the occasional video from OK Go or the like may attract some viral attention, today’s teen looks to MTV for reality programming like Jersey Shore or 16 and Pregnant. In general, unlike my generation, today’s millennials are not tuning in to see the world premiere of a video by a breakthrough artist to admire the new special effects, styles or dance moves. MTV has shifted so far away from its original purpose of featuring the work of new and favorite music artists that it recently dropped the “Music Television” caption.
Entrepreneurs Randall Green and Dan Gellert may be in position to change to change this dying art form.
These two gentlemen realized their two preschool-aged girls were absolutely in love with music. However, there was no way these dads were going to allow themselves to listen to irritating kids’ tunes. So, tapping into the growing kindie scene, they decided to launch their own online music video and radio station for kids, jitterbug.tv.
Jitterbug.tv is a one-stop destination for independent children’s musicians to share their music videos and songs, and for parents to introduce quality music to their kids. The sites offers both streaming videos and songs, all congregated in one location to avoid endless YouTube and web radio surfing.
One thing that amazed me when surfing through the videos on this site was the imagination and work put into the music videos. From the candy-colored world of The Jimmies videos, to Gustafer Yellowgold’s original animated pieces to the low budget-and-endearing Recess Monkey shorts, music videos have become an essential part of the kindie scene. As the scene itself grows, and music videos get more viewings, jitterbug may be a key contributor to the rebirth of the format as well as the growing kindie music genre as a whole.
Co-founder Dan Gellert, also a Grammy award winner and music industry veteran, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Check out his Nugget Island interview below.
Nugget Island: What has been the general reaction from the artist community?
Dan Gellert: Most artists have been enthusiastic to get involved with jitterbug. Many artists contact us to get posted. I think they know the audience is totally focused on kids’ music, so it’s a good place to show your videos and music. And we are all for promoting great artists.
N.I.: Were you a big music video fan as a youth?
D.G.: I was not a big music video fan actually. I’ve always appreciated a well-crafted song, whether it be a pop production or a loose folky song – if it is well put together, I pay attention. I think a video can enhance a song, especially today when video is integrated in our online life so much. I’ve noticed toddlers love the music videos but given the right context, they really pay attention to songs with no videos also.
N.I.: How have your daughters reacted to this site?
D.G.: My daughter asks for jitterbug by name – and that is the goal, for jitterbug to enter the fabric of toddlers parents’ lives and be the starting place to find fun music and videos.
N.I.: Looking at the music industry, are there any business models that you respect or admire?
D.G.: I think the business model of offering part of a service for free and having a premium service that people pay for is a good model.
N.I.: What advice would you give to a family music artist trying to make a name for themselves in the industry?
D.G.: First, write music that is honest and appeals to parents and kids. Don’t try too hard to make it “kid friendly”; the kids comprehend more than we know. If you are serious about getting into this niche, there are many internet tools to help you market to your audience, distribute your music, gather fans…. a good starting point for the Do It Yourself artist is here: http://www.topspinmedia.com/
N.I.:Where do you see the kindie scene going in the next few years?
D.G.: My crystal ball tells me the Kindie music niche is going to keep growing and more artists will start making a living at it. I think the production quality will become better and more “venues” will pop up to accommodate all those enthusiastic toddlers with parents.
N.I.: Any future plans for jitterbug you are comfortable sharing?
D.G.: Jitterbug is going into phase 2, which will be rolling out more features on the website, more fan engagement and interacting with mobile devices as well as helping more artists promote themselves.
Check out jitterbug now!