LONDON — Sony Music UK is launching its first dedicated kids music label to capitalize on what the company identifies as an “untapped” family entertainment market.
Called Magic Star, the label is headed by Will Speer, who joins Sony from NBCUniversal where he oversaw international marketing for DreamWorks TV and NBCU Kids and Family. Campaigns he worked on for the U.S. media giant include Trolls, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train your Dragon and Spirit Riding Free.
Based in Sony Music’s London office, Speer will be responsible for signing and developing artists and branded projects aimed children’s audiences. Magic Star’s first release is yet to be announced, although Sony says the imprint will partner with established brand leaders in the family entertainment market, as well as explore new opportunities with the major’s other U.K. labels and artist rosters.
“We recognise family entertainment as an untapped market so launching Magic Star provides a wealth of opportunity for us and will strengthen our capacity for growth,” said Sony Music UK & Ireland COO Nicola Tuer. She called Speer a “highly respected executive with a track record of success” and said his knowledge and expertise would help advance the label.
Sony Music U.K.’s move into the family and children’s entertainment market is the latest example of major record companies turning to non-pop genres that execs believe will grow in popularity as streaming transitions further away from early adopters towards mainstream audiences.
Warner’s Arts Music division was launched in 2017 with a brief to focus on classical, theater, jazz, family entertainment, children’s music and film scores. Last fall, Sesame Street Records was revived under the Arts Music banner. More recently, the Kevin Gore-headed division teamed up with Warner Chappell Music and Build-A-Bear Workshop for a new label partnership.
Universal has similarly committed significant resources to growing its share of the lucrative family and children’s market and is the global distributor for Disney Music/Hollywood Records, specializing in movie soundtracks and TV and teen artists. It also acts as global music partner for the Voice and Voice Kids TV format and distributes Razor & Tie’s Kidz Bop brand.
Commenting on Sony Music U.K.’s move into the space, Speer said there was a “huge opportunity within the family entertainment market to create fresh new audio and audio-visual content” based around artists with “huge family appeal.”
“The scope is endless,” he added, “and I am very much looking forward to bringing my experience in kids’ media to such an entertainment powerhouse like Sony Music.”