Music Marketing

Raising Kindie: The Golden Age Of Kids’ Music

image from At a time when the record and music industries are fraught with declining record and ticket sales, kindie music, described by John Campanelli as “children's tunes by independent artists with the indie sensibility”  is booming.  Why?  

It’s pretty simple really: artists, parents, and kids.  Acts like Dan Zanes and They Might Be Giants crossed over into the kids music genre, about a decade ago, and made respectable gains. Parents tend to not be that keen about letting their youngest children listen to pop music garbage—if they can help it.  And, today’s kids, if sang to from a perspective that actually aligns with their world, are willing to tune in. As a result, the golden age of kids’ music is upon us and many artists, like Justin Roberts, have found themselves within a niche market that not only pays the bills, but, in many ways, offers far more artistic experimentation.

Kids, as it turns out, are rather open to catchy, indie music—if its relatable. No more songs about brushing their teeth and eating more veggies.  Try songs about having a brother that's obsessed with trucks and the fear of getting lost in the mall; the lyrics get stuck in your head easier than you would think. The best thing of all: parents are the ones buying the music and it’s not likely that kids that young are privy to file-sharing just yet. These forces have the effect of creating an opportunity for artists who are willing to put themselves in smaller shoes and contemplate the real things that concern kids. The funny thing is that the parents end of being fans of the artists themselves. As opposed to the drudgery of Veggie Tales and Barney, kindie music is a happier, more sane medium. Read more.



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  1. What a great post! It always surprises me how little coverage this genre gets given the fact that it’s one of the few genres with growth in CD sales these days.
    I’m a dean at Berklee College of Music by day and for the past 3 years I’ve been a family music artist with “Debbie and Friends.” After playing in a number of bands over the years, I can safely say there is no greater, more appreciative, more attentive audience in the world than kids and families! And, the artists and industry folks who work in this genre are extremely supportive of each other.
    Thank you for your post, Kyle!
    Debbie Cavalier

  2. An interesting topic. An artist that I know, Tom Freund, is a pretty successful indie musician and has ventured into the Kindie world with an album called Hug Trees. Funny thing is that Freund’s songwriting in both the Kindie and Indie genres is incredible. Admittedly I listened to the Hug Trees album and was a little weary but it was good. He even does children oriented performances with the songs from Hug Trees. Never knew there was such a calling for this kind of music but hey to each their own.

  3. One of my favorite bands from a few years back is Tilly and the Wall. They have a sound that intentionally appeals to an adult’s inner child, so to speak. But it would not have sold as kids’ music. The self-awareness of the content does not translate. I wonder how much crossover goes on in terms of music spilling into the kids’ music genre. It seems to be possible with every other genre in popular music.

  4. The music industry as a whole has no concept of a demographic that has kids. Most music venues are crummy bars where the shows don’t start until late. Not only are the venues not suitable for kids, anyone who has to get up at 7 AM may not want to go either.
    Also, once you have kids your financial priorities change. You are likely spending less on luxuries for yourself and more for those things the kids ask for. So while you won’t spring for a concert for yourself, if it is what your child has been begging you for, you might buy some tickets.
    There’s also a big need for free and low-cost family entertainment. Communities that put on free early evening concerts that families can come without spending any money are a godsend for families on a budget. Also, if you have kids, you are always looking for activities the whole family can do on a weekend.
    Another area that hasn’t been tapped enough are events where there is something for the parents to do and simultaneously something for the kids. Maybe have concerts in recreation centers, churches, and schools where there are already childcare facilities.
    And lastly, kids, young kids at least, are less concerned about looks and age than the teen and young adult market. So if you are a musician but you have aged out of the pop market, you might consider targeting kids and their parents.

  5. Another thing to be said about music for kids is that it isn’t so self-centered.
    What I mean is that the songwriters and performers usually think about what would be appropriate for and entertain kids. So in a way the kids music market is more advanced that the music community as a whole because the primary goal is delivering something of value to the kids and their families rather than being about self-expression of the musicians.
    The point of being a kids musician is to serve the kids. But often musicians in other genres think in terms of serving themselves, which is fine, but may not facilitate community building and participation.

  6. How interesting is that.
    To be bluntly honest, I haven’t even thought about the “kindie” genre.
    Being a parent myself and yes having my kid in the back of the car and singing along with “Poker Face” – Lady Gaga / “That’s not my name” –  The Ting Tings / “Boom Boom Pow” The Black Eye Peas, etc, I noticed that the songs that would attract his attention would be the very rhythmic ones.
    Then, Micheal Jackson died. His videos were playing everywhere. Although I was very sad about his death, I got so excited about seeing Thriller again. I didn’t even think that the images could be quite scary for him! We watched it together and I was telling him about how the zombies are not real and the make up is a piece of art. He was fascinated and at 3 and half years old, he was living and breathing Micheal Jackson. Clothes, the make up, the music, the dancing (he has all CDs and videos).
    I think there is a parent perspective. I  believe it is about awareness more than hiding or banning the not-so-child-friendly music from their lives. They will listen to it one day whether you like or not. My son is very creative and I probably felt instinctively that it was contributing to his artistic nature.

  7. I think one reason we are discussing kids music is that it is another avenue for musicians. Sure, some parents are happy to let their kids listen to whatever adults listen to, but other parents and media outlets like Nick Jr. are very interested in music for kids, so it’s a new potential audience for some musicians.
    Getting a gig on Nick Jr. is a big deal. I’ve watched many musical numbers on that channel — actually more music there than on any other station because that’s the channel that was on the most.

  8. I’m glad to know it is another avenue for musicians. If the musicians feel inspired by it and want to provide for that niche, I would be the first one to say go ahead and write some “Kindie” songs!
    I just never thought of that genre and I’m happy to be aware of it now 😉

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