“At least be tolerable”: in the big children’s music business, parents are the last resort Music

IIt’s 8:27 in the morning and I bring a small child and a school child into the car, a baby tied to my chest just to keep it interesting. From the driver’s seat of our Sultan-filled Kia Carnival, I’m switching from my Breakfast Chill Spotify playlist to School Drop Pump Up and We Don’t Talk About Bruno from Disney’s Encanto soundtrack.

Everything about the morning routine – from the oatmeal I soaked the night before to the toothbrushes that are kept close to the back door to move our memories of hygiene – is prepared to facilitate order to the inevitable chaos that is full house for children under six. Playlists are no less vital to our morning success than remembering to wash our greatest sports uniform in time.

As a generation of parents who have spent the last two years with more hours of contact with children than we ever expected, children’s music has become ubiquitous.

“I think the biggest difference between the way parents and children consume music today, even compared to a decade ago, is how portable, adaptable and affordable it is,” said Paul Field, a music giant.

This difference informs his new proposal, the music brand for early childhood Peachy Keen. Released through Apple Music Platoon’s independent music platform, the ambitious project launched this month with their debut album Animal Songs.

Recorded with some of the best musicians in the country and composed by his brother John (who has written over 300 Wiggles hits – their other brother, Anthony, is none other than Blue Wiggle himself), Field says he wanted to offer a diverse range of sounds and focus on the quality of the production (“when you hear the strings of a song, it’s a real string quartet”) instead of focusing on a specific style or genre.

“We just start with the music first [as opposed to creating a band]because in this way we can use a carousel of different musicians, singers and styles. I feel like it adds a lot of variety to the sound. ”

Peachy Keen founder Paul Field, Aria-winning country music artist Shane Nicholson (who has several credits on the album) and composer John Field, in the studio. Photo: Paul Field

When it comes to the genealogy of the industry, Field has a good reason to bet on himself. During his 24 years in office, Wiggles headed Business Review Weekly a list of the best-earning Australian artists for four years in a row, sold millions of albums and appeared on television screens in over 100 countries.

Even taking away Wiggles’ stratospheric success on the world stage, Australian children’s entertainment exports are overrepresented.

“We actually have more listeners in the United States now than we do here,” said musician and comedian Matt Okin, half of the children’s entertainment duo Diver City; his partner is musician and producer Christy Lee Peters. He attributes this international success to the extremely important algorithms for partner recommendations in streaming platforms.

Music has historically been divided into blocks dictated by age; there is children’s music and then there is adult music, each separated from the other. It is this tension, says Peters, that shapes the history of Diver City’s origins.

“When you have kids, you listen to music over and over and over and over and over and over and over again,” she laughs. “Coincidentally, Matt and I both had children five days apart. We went on a family holiday and started talking about it, and the idea somehow came from finding something that could bridge the gap between children’s music and music that adults would like or at least tolerate. ”

For every “bearable” piece of children’s music, there is a certain unbearable alternative. The recurring techno jaggernaut of the Korean entertainment company PinkFong Baby Shark, which has become the most watched video on YouTube of all time, is forcibly embedded in the amygdala of parents around the world.

Baby shark, straight, straight, straight, straight!

And while annoying parents with the musical equivalent of a mosquito can be lucrative, there is fertile ground (and perhaps more longevity) in being able to do something they will enjoy with their children.

“We’ve worked with a lot of artists that adults will recognize,” said Okine, a graduate of Triple J. “Which brings an extra layer for parents.”

These artists include Sam Kromak of Ball Park Music, Art Vs Science and Peking Duk, to name a few. The theme they explore ranges from the sublime hymn of inclusion Love is Love (Rainbow Family) to the ridiculously sad spaghetti written in terms of a lone residual thread of paste. It rises directly from the book of millennial parents.

Diver City’s love is love.

Indeed, the children’s music scene in Australia seems suddenly full to the brim with artists who managed to create adult music, became parents and then turned around. Favorite dance / rock of the 1990s Regurgitator created the children’s offering of the Pogogo Show, reworking the lyrics of one of their NSFW classics into suitable for children I Sucked A Lollipop To Get Where I Am, along with other songs like Mr Butt . The Little Stevies – hardly a common name in their previous life as a folk costume – have found much greater success after the rebranding of children’s favorite Teeny Tiny Stevies.

As for the Wiggles, they play the game the other way around; The ski-clad icons harnessed a second wave of success with more than 18 concerts and a cover of Tame Impala, which crowned them the unlikely winners of this year’s Triple J Hottest 100.

If there is a winning formula for creating successful music for children in this country, it is one that Paul Field has helped shape. “One of the main factors is that you have to look at things through the eyes of a child,” he says.

“It’s not always simple, because our audience varies from pre-verbal to kindergarten and beyond, so you want to do something that engages all levels of knowledge.”

Teeny Tiny Stevie’s The Boss Of My Own Body.

But as we look through children’s eyes, being careful not to offend the ears of adults has another benefit, he added: the increased likelihood of more airtime. “In the world of early childhood, her personal recommendations really carry weight.”

There are few people in Australia who are more trusted to give exactly these recommendations from Zoe Foster Blake, a skincare entrepreneur, author and mother. A prolific curator of great things – her blog Zotheysay once collapsed under the weight of traffic from her post about which baby products she used and loved – one of the entertainers’ tastes is creating Spotify playlists.

“I get great feedback from my parents,” she says of her hobby with playlists. “I think we all just sniff for new ideas as parents; we will try everything. “

In Foster Blake’s family, music is a crucial pillar of family life and something that reflects her playlists – with names like “Hey, Kids, Calm Down,” “Kids in the Car” and “Morning with Kids.”

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“Good music is good music,” she says. “Both The Wiggles and Queen have songs that the whole family can enjoy; it brings me great joy to find and compare them. ”

Field’s Peachy Keen includes many of the traditional early childhood themes you can expect. He has a rough motor boost in Jump Like A Froggy Does and a numerical rerun in Ten Koalas, while Tummy Time, a song tragically close to Field’s heart, promotes safe sleep practices after the father of five lost his daughter Bernadette to SIDS in 1988. d.

He is not afraid of the simplicity of some of these songs, saying that “it’s actually wonderful because, as we all know, in the world of early childhood, everything is new. So what may seem ordinary or banal to two adults is actually magic for children.

Writing off school and kindergarten is over, with full autonomy over the car’s stereo again, I must admit that Field is right. One of the bops of Animal Songs, titled Ten Puppies So Cute! plays: Winehouse-style jazz vocals on a sexy Spanish guitar riff. I’ll have it in my head by the end of the day, and I’m fine with that.

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