The Little Gym Active Toys Available at Target Canada

Feb24.LittleJimThe Little Gym International has partnered with Aqua-Leisure Industries for children’s development and activity toys for kids ages 3 to 7. The brand’s first line of active toys will be available exclusively at Target Canada stores starting this month.

The line includes products that emphasize physical development, imaginative play patterns, and experiential learning. The Maze Mover is a balance ball game that promotes problem solving, balance, and coordination. The PartyChute emphasizes cooperation, timing, and gross motor skills. The Air Cube allows kids to toss, tap, and keep a large, inflatable cube in the air. The Tube-A-Twist encourages agility, flexibility, balance, and problem-solving skills.

In addition, The Little Gym has launched music CDs designed to get kids moving, learning, and having fun. The CDs are available for download on iTunes and for purchase on Amazon.com. The Little Gym is expected to release additional active toys later this year.

COMMENTARY: So Long Spice Girls–Introducing The Beatrix Girls

There were the Dixie Chicks, the Spice Girls, and even The Pussy Cat Dolls. But now, there’s an all-new girls’ band with its sight set on taking over the world—The Beatrix Girls. If you haven’t heard of this 12-inch fashion doll phenomenon (similar to the likes of Monster High dolls and Barbie), it’s a line of collectable pop star dolls that create, sing, and play their own original music.

The Beatrix Girls BandLark, the fiery redhead and bassist of the band, loves extreme sports like surfing and snowboarding, but most of all she loves making music with her best friends, The Beatrix Girls. As all of the girls flaunt their own style, Lark loves to be dressed up in ripped jeans, combat boots, and pretty much anything that’s not pink. She is, for many reasons, my favorite, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that she was my inspiration in dying my hair red—or would I? [Read more...]

The Toy Book Chats with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO, Popstar Club

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO of Popstar Club, which is the manufacturer of the fresh, new doll line, The Beatrix Girls. Sherry gave me an overview of what makes her doll line so unique, and why girls are going to be clamoring for them this holiday season.

SherryGunther.BeatrixCEO

 

Where did you get the idea for Beatrix Girls?

The Beatrix Girls came out of the idea of tying music and dolls together. Ultimately the approach to this was to create a multiplatform brand that really reaches kids everywhere that they are, recognizing that kids are not just watching TV and they’re not just playing with dolls or toys, they’re not just online playing games or being social, they’re doing all of the above. A forward-thinking property really needed to have presence in all of those mediums and to have an integration between all of those formats ingrained in its DNA.

The webisodes are done in a very unique way. How did you come about using that style?

It’s interesting because the natural for me was to go with animation as I spent over 20 years in animation, but there were a lot of things that attracted me to doing it this way, creating webisodes that have the dolls featured interacting in real life. It comes out of the fact that the concept itself has the girls as real. So they’re real and they interact in our world. They’re a real pop star band, we9’re creating real music, not composed music like we would for a toy property or an animated show, but real, credible, pop music written by a platinum-winning writer/producer, mixed by a Grammy-winning engineer, so this is really relevant, today, great music and so we really want to sell them as true pop stars.

Animation oftentimes, especially when doing them based on a product or especially dolls, skews a little bit younger, and we really wanted to have the cool factor and have these be edgier. The medium that we used felt so much more current and fresh and innovative and YouTube generation-like and it felt much more fitting to the brand itself. It gives the dolls the credibility of being real in our world. They have a real human manager, they perform in real venues, so it allows us to play up that real factor for them. And then the scale gives us a lot of humor opportunities for 12-inch dolls interacting in a life-size world.

The really nice side effect that we found is that girls are really responding to the fact that they can relate to the way it was done because it was shot on purpose with hands showing and manipulating the dolls. The idea was that kids could really relate to it and feel like I can do that, I can get four dolls and with my friends create a scene and a scenario.

 

For some reason it reminds me of Mr. Bill, the old SNL skit.

That’s kind of what we were going for. We were going for rather than just sort of just straight, weak, almost too young-skewing animation. We wanted it to be edgier and quirky and fun and hilarious and this medium allowed us to do that, to have that feel to it.

[Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Play Me a Song, Sweet Music Kit

rockstarlittleBits,the creator of an open-source library of electronic “Bits,” that snap together with magnets for learning and play, partnered with Korg, a leading global manufacturer of electronic musical equipment, to create a kid-friendly, music-making machine, and I was lucky enough to get in on the action. On November 7, the new littleBits Synth Kit was unveiled at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The collaboration of Korg with littleBits may not seem obvious, but it is actually genius. This new synthesizing kit is perfectly designed for the use of everyone—from professional musicians to hobbyists with an interest in making new sounds and pushing the boundaries in technology and music. Using the kit, music lovers can build infinite customizable sounds from practically anywhere.

littleBitsAt the event, attendees were given the opportunity to play with the brightly colored and multi-functioning Synth Kits, listening to the created sounds through Korg headphones. It was such a neat experience, as I felt like a music master using equipment like that used to produce the innovative sound of revolutionary bands such as The Beatles and The Doors, and modern artists such as The Cure and MGMT. It’s such an awesome way for kids to get involved in music at an early age. Yes, most children are able to utilize musical instruments and their voices, but this is such a unique opportunity for kids to get involved in the music production industry. Little musicians can explore the world behind the music with the sound of the synthesizer instrument. Even better, the “Bits” are interchangeable and can be constructed in different ways for different sounds, so kids can build their own sound machines and choose their favorite outcomes. The Bits modules included with the kits snap together instantly using magnets that create circuits. These circuits are similar to those used in Korg’s analog synthesizers, so the quality of these kits is amazing, truly. [Read more...]

With Singtrix, Singers of All Levels Sound Even Better

SingtrixSingtrix, a new music party experience, utilizes advanced, natural-sounding vocal effects to make singers of all skill levels sound even better. The Singtrix bundle includes the Singtrix Studio vocal effects unit, custom microphone, professional mic stand, and 2.1 stereo speaker system.

The Singtrix Studio unit offers more than 300 retro and modern vocal effects presets covering every generation and genre of music, including everyone’s favorite singing anthems. In addition to dozens of professional effects like reverb, flanger, delay, doubling, hard tune, and more, the Singtrix Live Harmony effects provide up to four additional harmony voices, and can be used to make the chorus or bridge of a favorite songs sound larger than life. There is also a “Hit” effect button on the microphone, which conveniently controls this and other effects.

Users can plug in a smartphone, tablet, MP3 player, or computer and choose songs from their own music libraries or stream karaoke videos from sites like YouTube. There is also a Singtrix-branded app powered by Karaoke Anywhere for Apple iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire tablets, which includes a library of more than 13,000 songs with lyrics, and is available for a monthly subscription fee.

The Singtrix Party Bundle is available online exclusively at www.singtrix.com.

The Beatrix Girls Makes Its Retail Debut at Toys “R” Us Stores Nationwide

TheBeatrixGirlsThe Beatrix Girls, a new line of collectible pop-star dolls driven by original music, is set to empower and inspire young girls nationwide with its retail debut this month at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com. Kids can collect their music, join their fan club, and vicariously live the fantasy of being a pop star through play.

The Beatrix Girls have already generated a huge amount of momentum securing early strategic deals with licensing partners such as Peavey Instruments, along with nine other licensing partners covering every major category, including apparel, accessories, back-to-school stationary, footwear, and more.

The Beatrix Girls collection of dolls is recommended for ages 5 and up.

Genius Partners with Pacific Digital to Launch Baby Genius Streaming Service

geniusGenius Brands International Inc., developer and marketer of entertainment products including the Baby Genius line of music and edutainment products and characters, has formed a strategic partnership with Pacific Media Technologies’ Pacific Digital Distribution (PDD) division to bring the entire catalog of Baby Genius video, music, and digital content to a global audience.

PDD, a digital video services company dedicated to the distribution of content to broadcast, cable, Internet, and mobile video platforms, will connect consumers to Baby Genius content through its proprietary Cloud Video On Demand WAVE platform. WAVE is an enabled content management system that includes an e-commerce model for online payment gateways and manages digital distribution to any end-points including all mobile and connected devices, and content models including VOD and subscription rentals.

The new Baby Genius streaming service will be available to consumers beginning in October at a monthly subscription rate for immediate access to 125 Baby Genius videos and 500 Baby Genius songs. Additional digital content including Baby Genius ebooks and Baby Genius apps will be added to the service next year.

Lloyd Miller Releases First Solo Album, S.S. Brooklyn

jpegLloyd Miller, communal songster and leader of the indie band The Deedle Deedle Dees, believes that music is a great way to build a community—especially when everyone’s singing, tapping, and dancing together. Miler will release his first solo album release, S.S. Brooklyn, on September 24.

Miller holds singalongs in various spaces in Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Ditmas Park, and Williamsburg five or six nights a week. S.S. Brooklyn features original songs, as well as the most-requested songs. These events provide audiences an opportunity to support various causes, such as the Red Hook Initiative, Soleil Global, and Sing for Hope—all part of Miller’s ongoing “music outreach mission.” Audience members bring in donations to the shows and Miller delivers them to support children in Haiti or the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

In addition to regular sing-along events this fall, Miller will host concerts at the Brooklyn Historical Society on the first Saturday of every month beginning November 2. An S.S. Brooklyn release concert is planned for October 13 at Shapeshifter Lab, launching the Hip Tot Music Fest season. The album is produced by Dean Jones, and guest artists include Marianne Tasick, Abby Rock, and Debbie Lan.

Musical Toys: An Inspiration to Pursue the Art

by Rachel Matthews, guest blogger

Not too long ago, the Kidz Bop kids found their way performing at venues in New York and New Jersey. Their collection of poppy, top 40 covers has allowed them to produce dozens of compilation albums, launch a U.S. star search, release books, video games, and toys.

The line-up of the group is in constant rotation as each member ages. Because of this rotation, many a child beg their parents for a singing lesson—especially in New York—after seeing a Kidz Bop performance. The chances of becoming a member is hard pressed as detailed by this young musician, but the combination of their U.S. talent search and brand gives hope to many children within the States.

Of course, aiming to sing for a band such as Kidz Bop is only part of what’s driving up sales in music -parents must by music-related toys to help further their children’s ambitions.

[Read more...]

Josh &The Jamtones to Release New CD

PromoImage.jpgBoston-based kindie rock band Josh & the Jamtones are ready to break new ground with the release of its second kids’/family CD, Bear Hunt!

Bear Hunt!  introduces an array of musical styles, all delivered with a sense of current musical taste, from New Orleans-style street music, roots/reggae, second-wave ska, pure folk, folk-punk, alt-country, and classic country/bluegrass.

Bear Hunt! will be released on October 1. Josh & the Jamtones will perform live September 21 and 22 at the Life is Good Festival in Canton, Mass., November 24 at the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, Mass., and February 1 at the Symphony Space in New York City.