'Kidz' On The Mic
Not quite karaoke and not quite artist albums, several CDs aimed at the children's music market are delivering pop hits sung by fellow kids. Independent label Razor & Tie has developed the concept into the successful "Kidz Bop" franchise. This week, the label will deliver the fourth volume in the series. The collection will include covers of 18 pop favorites, including Avril Lavigne's "Sk8ter Boi" and Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River."
"It's a very simple concept," Craig Balsam says of the series he developed with fellow Razor & Tie co-owner Cliff Chenfeld. "He and I each have kids. And we thought to ourselves, wouldn't kids really love hearing kids sing popular songs and kind of take the edge off of them a little bit so that parents and kids both feel comfortable with it?"
The formula has worked well. Since the release of the first set in 2001, all of the "Kidz Bop" titles have either debuted at or reached No. 1 on Billboard's Top Kid Audio chart, including a 2002 "Kidz Bop Christmas" collection.
"I think it turns kids onto new music in a way, which is also a fun thing," Balsam adds. "Kids feel more connected and more involved if they're listening to something current and they can talk to their friends about something current."