Kindie-Chartin': Sirius-XM's Kids Place Live "13 Under 13"

kpl-img.jpgA few weeks back, I attempted to provide some sense of the relative popularity of various family musicians by taking a look at the quasi-objective metric of Facebook fans. The purpose of the review was not to start fights between artists. As I noted in the piece...
1) I know that the number of fans someone has on Facebook has nothing to with quality or talent or anything. Mostly. 2) I'm not trying to start any fights between artists. [See? I wasn't kidding!] 3) As someone who considers how to bring artists in concert to a place that's not New York or DC where concerts happen weekly, the lack of hard data in evaluating an artist's popularity does not help. I can tell you exactly who I would bring in if attendance and cost were no object. But they are.
Nor was I attempting to be exhaustive in my review of artists (as soon as I finished, I came up with another half-dozen artists I could have mentioned). If you're an artist at the level of the folks I mentioned, then perhaps you're doing OK. But Facebook isn't a perfect proxy. (Again, as I noted... "it's a poor proxy for album sales and possibly for concert attendance, and it's a single data source.") So this piece is a second -- and definitely not the last -- way to look at popularity. (Hence my new title for the series - "Kindie-Chartin'.") I decided to look at Sirius-XM's Kids Place Live. The station, likely has the largest audience of any family music radio station, especially since it broadcasts kids music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (It also has nearly 11,000 fans on its own Facebook page.) As such, songs that do well there are songs that have resonated with a large group of kids on a national basis. Clearly, interest on the part of the DJs there have some influence on what does and doesn't get played, but when you're programming as much live music as KPL does, you need to respect what kids do (and don't) respond to. One way to evaluate airplay would be to search playlists, but that would take forever just to get a "point-in-time" view of whatever artists I (or you) feel like searching. Better (and perhaps easier) to look at their weekly "13 Under 13" broadcasts, which count down thirteen of the most popular songs on the station for the past week. Music director and DJ Robbie Schaefer describes the list as a "subjective snapshot of our live shows for that week," reflecting not only programmed spins and listener requests, but also the more nebulous concept of "momentum," which might take into account responses on Facebook and listener e-mails. In other words -- and this is my phrasing, not Schaefer's -- the list is as much art as science. But, it's put together by DJs who are spending many hours a week interacting with their listeners and who get reminded repeatedly when songs do (or don't) get a reaction from their audience.

The Ketchup Report, Vol. 8

Time once again for all the news that didn't fit into a separate post due to time, interest, contractual, or legal obligations -- it's your favorite pun-titled file folder of a blog post, the Ketchup Report! Yaaay! (Cue Kermit the Frog wild arm-flailing here...) WorldOfHappiness.jpgThe World of Happiness single, the "We Are the World" of the kids' biz, "A World of Happiness," is here. Except your kids might actually want to listen to this new song when they become parents themselves. Sales of the single, produced by Tor Hyams and Joanie Leeds, benefit Autism Speaks. The single includes a whole host of folks besides Leeds and Hyams -- Molly Ledford (who gets the honor of leading off the track), Frances England, Ralph Covert... it just goes on and on. A bunch of the participants will be recording a concert later this month for broadcast on Sirius/XM Radio later on. Anyway, it's $1.29 well-spent right here. I could probably start a whole separate post listing all the recent crowdfunding projects in the kids music world. Heck, it's almost getting to the point where I could start a blog listing all the recent crowdfunding projects in the kids music world. I've been partial to Kickstarter, of course. The two most recent projects have been a Professor Banjo and his successful second-album project and Ryan SanAngelo and his not-one-but-two-Kickstarter-projects. But other sites do the same basic thing. Van Oodles didn't quite succeed in making a video for a song of his, but LA indie-rockers Ellen and Matt and Chicago's Laura Doherty are both looking for funds for their next disks. Should you feel so inclined, help out Ellen and Matt here and Laura for her new album Shining Like a Star in the widget there to the side. -- For a limited time, Doctor Noize's "Bananas" iWhatever app is free. Download the ever-so-slightly-educational app here. (Note: may no longer be free.) -- Finally, with Earth Day coming up, a it's time for Earth Day-related tunes. Dan Zanes has a new, original tune, "Hail the Creatures" written by Zanes for a new exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo. You don't need to be near Philly to enjoy the track, just near an iTunes-enabled gadget that can download this, with proceeds benefiting the Zoo. (More details on the tune and the Zoo's new exhibit here.)... Bill Harley is offering a free download of "Keep It Green" from his 1996 album Big Big World -- you can get it here... And finally, DARIA is offering a mini-CD of 6 "earth friendly" songs, free just for the price of an e-mail address (and an earth-friendly suggestion).

You Know, Mindy, Peter Himmelman Has Some Theme-Writing Experience...

PeterH_XM_Studios_lowres.jpgSirius-XM's Kids Place Live has been busy as of late, what with a whole bunch of folks filling as Robbie Schaefer heads for Uganda on a KPL-related mission. And you've got people like Peter Himmelman stopping by in advance of the release of My Trampoline later this month. As previously noted, the album is the first from Minivan Productions, whose head Dan Perloff is there in the photo along with Mindy Thomas, whose Absolutely Mindy show is looking for a theme song. Specifically from you, the kids music community. (Or I'm sure she'd be happy to have Spoon write something, too. But I think she wants you.) The song should be about 30 seconds to one minute long, recorded to CD, and snail mailed and postmarked by August 14th. Mindy will (try to) air all entries received throughout the week of August 17 to the 20, and a final song will be chosen on Friday, August 21. The winner themester will be interviewed live on Mindy's show and have their winning song played every afternoon "UNTIL WE GET TIRED OF IT," as Mindy puts it. (The fine print entry details can be found here.) I think artists should enter just for the chance to be interviewed live by Mindy. And who knows, maybe Himmelman was there in DC he was cooking up some ideas for a post-Land of Nod-related theme. (And, er, he's scored a bunch of TV shows.) Photo courtesy Sirius-XM Satellite Radio

Chaotic, But In A Good Way

Very briefly, I had fun last night on Absolutely Mindy's show on Sirius-XM's Kids Place Live. I was asked which I liked more, being on NPR or being on Absolutely Mindy, and while I can't compare the two, there's something about being asked spontaneously to call Secret Agent 23 Skidoo to congratulate him on winning the KidVid Tournament 2009 that is infinitely more chaotic than the more planned NPR chats and reviews. (I'm pretty sure Melissa Block has never called someone's answering machine live on the air.) Oh, and Mindy's Easter Egg Roll cracks me up.

What Kind of [Fill In The Blank] Are You?

Last night on Kids Place Live, "re-percussionist" Billy Jonas made an appearance plugging his upcoming family CD Happy Accidents (due out next month). And for those of you who find "What Kind of Cat Are You?" ridiculously compelling ("Kat..hmandu"), you're in luck -- there's a sequel. "What Kind of Dog Are You" makes an appearance, and on the radio, Jonas went through a whole list of animals (e.g., cows), not just dogs. Clearly, Jonas has stumbled upon a song format which he'll probably be playing for, like, the next 20 years. In case this confuses you, watch (OK, just listen) to this: