Fox Digital Entertainment and Myspace will announce on Tuesday (March 13) a scripted web series starring Andrew W.K. that is designed to expose bands to larger audiences in a setting not seen in other media.
The seven-episode "Let's Big Happy" will launch March 28 on Myspace and through a variety of digital download stores. Taco Bell will sponsor the show's first season, which features performances from Chiddy Bang, We Are Scientists, Math the Band, Generationals and the Gay Blades. The show will be announced at a SXSW panel.
It is the second distribution partnership between Fox Digital Entertainment and Myspace for an original web series, the first being "Wolfpack of Reseda," which Kia Motors sponsors.
"This was done under a different model," Fox Digital Entertainment senior VP Matt Glotzer tells Billboard. "Taco Bell made a great partnership with feedthebeat.com, their band incubator site. The creative team here was really excited about how Taco Bell has got a lot of musicians [involved]. It has had a unique impact on music and on culture."
All of the bands in the show are involved in Taco Bell's feedthebeat.com program.
Angela Sarafyan ("Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2") stars as Olive Shipley, who starts a music blog called Let's Big Happy. Shipley attempts to help propel bands by pulling off absurd, attention-seeking stunts. There are tacos featured in the plots as well. Creator Fox Digital Entertainment is a division of 20th Century Fox dedicated to creating new content for emerging distribution channels.
"The branded entertainment space has evolved over the last few years by doing what is typically labeled as 'organic' integration all the way up to a sponsor wrapping themselves around a program that never mentions their product, Glotzer explained. ""Where we wind up are in places where the creators are willing to weave (products) into the story. (The debut episode) almost has a level of kitsch. The mindset of Taco Bell is as a certain prop element; there are not tacos in every episode."
But in each seven-minute episode, there are bands.
"The one thing Myspace gets right is supplying what the music needs, being strong in the music space," says Myspace Entertainment president Roger Mincheff.
To that end, Mincheff says, Myspace is looking for content that includes a narrative element, opportunities for musicians, comedians and other performers and, when possible, sponsorship opportunities. Mincheff and Glotzer stress that "Let's Big Happy" is more a model of the content they see Myspace carrying, and not necessarily the business model for future programming.
"We'll have our coming out party in the spring," Mincheff says, "and we know how important it is to come out strong. We need content and we need to break these shows."
Ensemble, the branded entertainment arm of IPG Mediabrands, engineered the partnership.
"Let's Big Happy" will be available at www.myspace.com/letsbighappy.