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Editorial : Childrens Music In America
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It's a weird place to be...                                                                      4 February 05

The State Of Childrens Music In America

       It's feels like an invisible marketplace, one that exists on the fringe of show business - a surreal industry of artists whose creations are, inevitably, one day outgrown. On the other hand, there are always more children geing born. And while their musical product may be what marketers call "evergreen," this is a place where career artists writing and performing childrens music often struggle against intimidating forces that work against their best interests. And against the best interest of all of us - artists, educators , kids and families.

       If you look at the tiny selection of childrens music in the stores, you will only see products that make it through the filter of the celebrity fixated mass market. The big names get great distribution, but nobody else gets any at all. So unless an artist is already famous, no marketer wants to be involved. The big merchandising chains only accept product from the big distributers, so the most obvious and visible venues are closed immediately. Unless an independent artist personally makes a special arrangement with a local store, even excellent recordings of this artform are ignored by most merchants.

       Children's radio follows a top 40 format that is, of course, celebrity driven. Radio Disney even has a sign on it's website that says it does not accept music. They don't even listen! But the harsher truth is that childrens music on the radio is ignored by kids, because it's ignored by adults. Kid's radio is a dead zone. There are some brave souls who manage to garner an audience, but for the most part, the tide is flowing the other way. There are LESS venues on the air than there were 5 years ago. No radio programs feature indie childrens music, except for local efforts. It's hard to understand why, in a technologically advanced society, there is not one national children's radio program that is part of our childhood experience. There are the new subscription satellite services, but they are tightly formated to top 40. There is web radio, but it is a ghost town even here. Part of the problem is cultural - childrens music on the radio is not something that is part of our lives like children's tv. Several attempts to build a national children's radio network have failed to be commercially viable over the past 10 years.

       As a result, a very large and gifted talent pool is frozen out of the pipeline that reaches the most people. The effect is that childrens music artists are creating wonderful musical art that families with children never get to hear. Is that not incredible? No one hears this stuff outside the local performance zone, or an occasional short lived media blitz.

       So, using the internet, we're doing something about this unfortunate reality. In a partnership with artists, we are cultivating a space where childrens music can be provided an appropriate forum, a place where people searching for childrens music may listen to the work of artists they may never otherwise encounter. Where educators can share information about how childrens music interfaces with school, and specific ways to make it happen better.

       This space is called The Childrens Music Portal - welcome all.

       If you would like to help this endeavor, we ask not for money, but for links. Link your site to our web address. This is seen as a "vote" by the search engines. The more votes, the easier it is for families to find the portal.

       Please link from text that says, "Childrens Music Portal"

       And let us know, we'll link back.

      portal   @    put "" in the subject line
      (retype, don't paste this address, it has spaces to avoid spam)


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