Original Music to Be Created for Kid Genius and Baby Genius Branded Content for Global Distribution, Including All-New Music-Driven Tween Brand SpacePOP, Debuting This Year Online and at Retail
BEVERLY HILLS, CA--(April 18, 2016) - Genius Brands International, Inc. ("GBI") (GNUS), a global brand management company dedicated to providing entertaining and enriching 'content with a purpose' for toddlers to tweens, is teaming with Sony Music Entertainment and its Legacy Recordings label, to create a new, innovative kids music label, Genius Brands Music, to produce and distribute original music and popular cover tunes from hit artists for the global market. The announcement was made today by GBI's Chairman and CEO Andy Heyward, and Sony Music Entertainment, Richard Story.
"Music has more and more, become the universal language of kids. It is simply not possible to effectively launch a kids brand today without music playing an integral role. Sony Music has nurtured, advised, guided and invested in the development of independent music labels spanning virtually every music genre imaginable," said GBI's Heyward. "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 children's entertainment sector, especially in music, requires a unique understanding of how to create both compelling content and audience appetite," explained Richard Story. "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."
GBI's current brand roster, which will feature original music, as well as cover songs from popular young artists from Genius Brands Music, include:
SpacePOP targets tween girls, age 8-12, offering a colorful blend of music, fashion, beauty, friendship and intergalactic adventures resulting in an engaging lifestyle brand.
GBI Chairman & CEO, Andy Heyward, an Emmy Award-winning children's content producer responsible for over 5,000 episodes of children's entertainment (Inspector Gadget, Strawberry Shortcake, Super Mario Bros, Sabrina the Teenage Witch) spearheads production efforts; Emmy Award-nominated Steve Banks, head writer and story editor of Sponge Bob Square Pants serves as content writer; and original character designs created by Han Lee (Pink Fizz, Bobby Jack). A best-in class-team has been assembled to deliver original music, including producer of multiple Grammy Award winners and music veteran Ron Fair (Fergie, Mary J. Blige, Black Eyed Peas, Pussycat Dolls, Christina Aguilera and more) his singer songwriter spouse Stefanie Fair, a founding member of RCA's girl group Wild Orchid with Fergie, who created the theme music and several original songs. Additional original new music has been created and produced by veteran music producer and composer John Loeffler (Kidz Bop, Pokemon).
Currently in production on 100+ serialized, music-driven animated videos (3-4 minutes in length), SpacePOP will be digitally distributed via the SpacePOP channel on YouTube and other digital platforms, capitalizing on today's media consumption habits of tweens and teens. The first six videos will debut this summer with two new videos released weekly thereafter. The music will be woven through a narrative story. The debut of the SpacePop videos will coincide with a new book series from MacMillan's Imprint launching with the first title, Not Your Average Princesses, an original middle grade novel with graphic novel inserts written by author Erin Downing and illustrated by Jen Bartel.
The launch of the SpacePOP brand will be supported by GBI's music-based apps, web series, linear TV exposure, potential live tour, and licensing and merchandising program with top tier partners set to launch new SpacePOP branded products at retail nationwide in fall 2016.
For over ten years Baby Genius® has earned worldwide recognition for creating products with purpose for toddlers. Amassing a catalogue comprised of 500 songs, 125 music videos and countless music-based toys that enrich and entertain children, Baby Genius has also earned the trust of parents and caregivers around the globe. Continuing to nurture the unique appeal of Baby Genius offerings, GBl re-launched Baby Genius with fresh, new designs of the Baby Genius signature characters from celebrated artist and self-described professional doodler Todd Goldman. There is also engaging new content and myriad new products that correspond to children's natural growth, stimulating their development while also providing guidance for parents. Plus, the entire library of Baby Genius' evergreen nursery rhymes, classic learning songs, holiday tunes and more have been re-recorded and videos have been refreshed to ensure Baby Genius' content with purpose is delivered in the highest production quality available. Under the new Genius Brands Music label, all new music will continue to be created for Baby Genius.
Thomas Edison's Secret Lab , which recently launched on Public Broadcasting Stations throughout the U.S., and the all-new Kid Genius channel on Comcast's Xfinity on Demand, follows Angie, a 12-year-old prodigy, and her young science club after they accidentally discover Thomas Edison's Secret Lab. The 'tricked out' dream lab is equipped with gizmos and gadgets, including two of Edison's very last inventions: a hologram that brings Mr. Edison himself "to life," and a virtual reality machine that lets them go anywhere. Thomas Edison's Secret Lab delivers fun-filled comedy, exploration and adventure to show kids how much fun science can be, encouraging them to explore the possibilities of their own imaginations. It even has a wacky (and slightly nervous) robot called Von Bolt, who becomes part of every adventure. In each of the episodes, Edison encourages and inspires the kids through a variety of scientific and technological explorations and lots of other fun, whacky, wild and engaging topics. Genius Brands Music will distribute the School House Rock-style music videos, created by Ron and Stefanie Fair. Genius Brands Music will also collaborate with other artists on the creation of an original pop album and music videos supported by an animated series and merchandise and licensing programs.
Llama Llama is the central character in Anna Dewdney's New York Times bestselling book series of the same name with 9.4 million units in print. GBI partnered with Dewdney and publisher Penguin Young Readers to develop animated content for preschoolers based on the bestselling books, as well as a comprehensive line of Llama Llama licensed products, including toys, games, apparel, accessories, bedding, and healthy snacks and meals. New and original music will be created under the Genius Music label.
About Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment is a global recorded music company with a current roster that includes a broad array of both local artists and international superstars. The company boasts a vast catalog that comprises some of the most important recordings in history. It is home to premier record labels representing music from every genre, including Arista Nashville, Bazmark Records, Beach Street Records, Bystorm Entertainment, Columbia Nashville, Columbia Records, Day 1, Descendant Records, Epic Records, Essential Records, Essential Worship, Flying Buddha, Fo Yo Soul Recordings, Freesolo Entertainment, Kemosabe Records, Latium Entertainment, Legacy Recordings, Louder Than Life, Masterworks, Masterworks Broadway, OKeh, Polo Grounds, Portrait, RCA Inspiration, RCA Nashville, RCA Records, Reunion Records, Sony Classical, Sony Music Latin, Star Time International, Syco Music, Vested in Culture and Volcano. Sony Music Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. For more information, visit http://www.sonymusic.com/.
About Genius Brands International
Headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, Genius Brands International, Inc. "GBI" (GNUS) is a publicly traded global brand management company that creates and licenses multimedia content for toddlers to tweens. Led by award-winning creators and producers, GBI creates "content and products with a purpose," providing enrichment as well as entertainment. The Company distributes its content worldwide in all formats, as well as a broad range of consumer products based on its characters. GBI's portfolio includes award-winning Baby Genius, recently re-launched with new entertainment and over 40 new products; adventure comedy Thomas Edison's Secret Lab, available on Netflix, public broadcast stations and GBI's Kid Genius channel on Comcast's Xfinity on Demand reaching 21 million households; animated movie Stan Lee's Mighty 7, the first project from Stan Lee Comics, a joint venture with Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment and featuring an all-star voice cast led by legendary Stan Lee; and Warren Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club, created with and starring iconic investor Warren Buffett. The Company is also producing a new animated preschool series based on Llama Llama, the NY Times bestselling children's book franchise; and a tween music-based adventure series SpacePOP.
GBI's wholly owned subsidiary A Squared Entertainment is a brand management and licensing company that represents third-party properties across a broad range of categories in territories around the world. The company currently represents From Frank, a humor greeting card and product line, and Celessence Technologies, the world's leading microencapsulation company.