Kidz Bop’s dirty little business secret
Kidz Bop still makes albums. And there's a surprising amount of business lessons from this “band.”
So what’s Kidz Bop?
It's a collection of a few kid—and a few more mediocre adult—musicians who take the hottest pop songs and recreate them for kids.
The first one of these monstrosities came out in 2001. 20 years later, and they’re still going strong.
Now, why am I clogging up your inbox with talk about a children’s cover band?
Glad you asked, cully.
Kidz Bop has sold 21 million albums to date. And they didn’t sell any albums in physical stores. Nope. Instead, they bought a bunch of TV spots on children channels and ran an infomercial selling their CDs.
(Lesson in there that would make Gary Halbert proud.)
Their success doesn’t stop at 21 million sales either. According to my extensive research (aka a quick Google search), they’ve had 4.5 billion streams across various music streaming platforms.
And since 22 of their records have hit Billboard’s Top 10 list, they’ve had more “hits” than legends like Madonna, Bob Dylan, and Elton John.
The story only gets better too:
Remember, they’re just a children’s cover band (with some adults) with a great marketing angle. But they ain't even good at making music. Yes, they’re good for kids, I’ll give you that. But the adults carry many—and I mean a metric fvckton—of their songs, including doing most of the singing.
So, it’s a bunch of mediocre (adult) musicians with some kiddos sprinkled in.
And they’ve had more “hits” than Madonna, Bob Dylan, and Elton John. Technicality, yes, absolutely. But still true.
(Lesson in there.)
Another interesting part of their business model:
Most of their sales, to this day, come from selling physical copies, which is unheard of in the world of music today. Nobody buys CDs anymore. If fans buy any physical copy of an album, they buy vinyl records. New cars don’t even include CD players. With one exception, and this is pure speculation here: minivans.
Yet despite all that, Kidz Bop defies the music industry’s norms, and brings in most of their sales through physical copies.
(Lesson in there.)
But how do they get kids to be their little unpaid sales interns who manipulate their parents into buying a physical copy of a shitty album that they might not even be able to listen to if they don’t have a CD player?
Stickers and magnets, cully, stickers and magnets.
(Another lesson in there.)
And check this out:
They didn’t only go after an audience too young to buy albums. They also targeted a much older audience first with their oldies compilation albums. They had the same marketing strategy: Buying TV spots and running infomercials.
Back when I was a little tyke, my family went to my grandparents house to watch a Steelers game. And my grandpa would change the channel from the game to the oldies infomercial in the middle of the game.
How many ads have you seen that have the power to stop you from doing something you enjoy because they demand your attention?
Now, to be fair, the infomercials just played 10-30 second clips of the best oldies bangers. Nothing fancy, manipulative, or even persuasive. But the simplicity is worth studying.
They didn’t have nearly as much success with their oldies compilation albums as they did with Kidz Bop, which is another lesson unto itself: Pivoting your business at the right time.
Plus, the Kidz Bop albums are “timeless.” Modern pop music is trash and doesn’t have a long shelf life in the pop culture zeitgeist. But kids keep being born. They stay the same age forever. And they also like radio hits more than most demographics.
Whereas their target audience for oldies hits are either dead, deaf, or scrolling through Facebook using talk-to-text and commenting on every post instead of listening to music.
See the benefit of knowing your audience?
There’s even a great biz lesson from the “z” in Kidz. Yes, it looks more “hip” to the youngins.
*inserts Steve Buscemi “how do you do, fellow kids?” meme*
But the real reason?
The “z” made it easier to trademark their name.
As for some cherries on top:
They earn an estimated $1.38 million per year, if you believe this article I found. I’m guessing their talent isn’t too expensive. And the music—the product of their million-dollar business—ain’t even good. Now, I bet kids think it’s good, which is important. But they did so much of the heavy lifting with their market research, marketing, business model, and branding that their product doesn’t have to be that good to clear 7 figures.
Wild, ain’t it?
I probably can’t help you start a children’s cover band that brings in over a million dollars a year. But it might *feel* like that if you book a Discovery Call, and we work together on your emails.
Try it, and let’s find out.