The multi-day song camps will be held in the Spotify Secret Genius Studios in each city with Edmonds and other professionals mentoring the winners, some of whom will be signed to Good Vibes Music Group.
“A song comes from everywhere,” Edmonds tells Billboard. “It’s just a little spark of an idea. It’s being able to recognize that and go for those moment when you have that. Ultimately, that’s what we’re looking do do.”
“When we started this conversation, it started with mentorship,” Murray adds. “But then, what is the end game? Where do we see ourselves going through this process? For us, it was building a team through the camp. Bringing people to L.A., sign them to a publishing deal. We’re starting without a franchise player, but we have an amazing coach.”
Indeed, Edmonds is an 11-time Grammy winner with seven Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits to his credit. He says it could have been even more if he’d had a mentor like this when he was starting out. “This did not really exist when I was growing up. It didn’t exist 10 years ago,” he says. “This kind of concept doesn’t really exist where [undiscovered songwriters have] the opportunity to be in a room and learn. You usually have to be an existing songwriter.”
Songwriters and producers fill out an application and submit two written songs and/or audio tracks. The only requirement is that they not be currently signed to a publishing company.
Edmonds and Murray, who met through mutual friends a few years ago, are funding the camps themselves. “We’re not making any money on the camp,” Murray says. “We didn’t want it to be about money. It’s about developing great friendships and relationships.”
And about passing on knowledge. “You’re just really trying to find those special people that I know are out there and just need the right kind of nudge to open them up all the way,” Edmonds says. “People think that writing music or placing songs is all political. The truth is it’s not. It’s do you have a hit song that makes people feel good and is catchy and can you do it on a consistent basis?”
Spotify is donating its studio space and will be involved in rolling out content, as will other social media platforms. “We have a lot of great ideas with playlisting, we’ll be shooting pieces with each of these camps, rolling stuff out in real time,” Murray says. “You’ll see vignettes and things that we’re doing around each camp. At the end, there will be something around the body of work we create, whether visual or audio, coming out of this.”
Both Murray and Edmonds say they have no minimum or maximum on the number of songwriters and producers they will sign from the camps. “You could end with two songwriters and if they’re successful, you’ve done the job,” Edmonds says. “If you find Paul McCartney or Stevie Wonder, then you don’t need 20 of them. I look at it as when you inspire others, that’s part of your history. You helped music in that way.”
Edmonds launches his new company as his former LaFace partner, Antonio “L.A.” Reid bows his new label and publishing company, Hitco, following his departure from Sony last year amid allegations of harassment. During Reid’s Epic tenure, acts such as Meghan Trainor, Future, Fifth Harmony and DJ Khaled broke through, and Edmonds expects more of the same from Reid. “I think he’ll have major success,” Edmonds says. “He’s a forever partner of mine and I support him in everything he does…I expect good and great things from him.”