IIt’s 8.27 a.m. and I’m carrying a kid and a schoolboy in the car, a baby tied to my chest just to keep things interesting. From the driver seat of our Sultana-strewn Kia Carnival, I switch from my “Breakfast Chill” Spotify playlist to “School Drop Pumped Up” and we’re not talking about Bruno from Disney’s Encanto soundtrack.
Everything about the morning routine — from the oats I soaked the night before, the toothbrushes that are kept near the back door to jog our hygiene memories — are curated to feature a loose order to the inevitable chaos A house which is full of children under the age of six. Playlists are no less important to our morning success than remembering to wash my eldest’s sports uniform on time.
For a generation of parents who have spent more contact hours with children over the past two years than we might have ever imagined, children’s music has become ubiquitous.
Music industry veteran Paul Field says, “I think the biggest difference in the way parents and kids consume music these days compared to a decade ago is how portable, customizable and accessible it is. “
This gap has informed their new offering, the childhood music brand Peachy Keane. Released through Apple Music’s independent music platform Platoon, the ambitious project launches this month with debut album Animal Songs.
Recorded with some of the country’s top musicians and composed by his brother John (who wrote over 300 Wiggles hits – his other brother, Anthony, is none other than Blue Wiggle), Field says he enjoys a variety of music and music. The sounds wanted to offer and focus on production quality (“when you hear strings on a track, it’s an actual string quartet”) rather than focusing on a specific genre or genre.
“We’re starting with the music first [as opposed to creating a band], because in this way we can use carousels of different musicians, singers and genres. I think it diversifies the sound quite a bit.”
As far as industry pedigree, Fields has good reason to bet on itself. During his 24 years of management, the Wiggles topped business review weekly List of the highest-paid Australian entertainers for four years, sold millions of albums and appeared on TV screens in over 100 countries.
Even barring Wiggles’ stratospheric success on the world stage, Australian children’s entertainment esports are over-represented overseas.
“At the moment, we actually have more listeners than we do here,” says musician and comedian Matt O’Kine, who is half of children’s entertainment duo Diver City; His fellow musician and producer is Christy Lee Peters. He credits the all-important peer-recommendation algorithm on the streaming platform with this international success.
Music, historically, has been divided into age-determined blocks; There is children’s music and then there is adult music, each different from the other. It’s the tension, says Peters, that makes Diver City’s origin story.
“When you have kids, you listen to music over and over again, and over and over again,” she laughs. “Incidentally, Matt and I both had kids five days apart. We went on a family vacation and started talking about it, and the idea stemmed from finding something that bridged the gap between kids’ music and music. that adults would prefer or at least be tolerable.”
For every “bearable” piece of child music, there is a famously unbearable alternative. Korean entertainment company Pinkfong’s repetitive tech juggernaut Baby Shark, which has become the most-watched YouTube video of all time, is forcefully embedded in the amygdala of parents around the world.
And while it may be tempting to pamper parents with the musical equivalent of a mosquito, there’s fertile ground (and perhaps more longevity) in the prospect of creating something they’ll enjoy with their kids.
“We’ve collaborated with a lot of artists that the bigwigs will recognize,” says Okaine, an alumnus of Triple J. “Which brings an extra layer to the parent.”
These artists include Ball Park Music’s Sam Cromack, Art vs. Science and Peking Duck. The subject matter they explore ranges from the excellent inclusive anthem Love Is Love (Rainbow Family) to the ridiculously sad spaghetti, written from the point of view of a single leftover strand of pasta. It lifts straight out of the millennial parent’s playbook.
And indeed, the kid music scene in Australia suddenly seems to be full of artists who made it big to make music for adults, become parents and then pivot. Old-school ’90s dance/rock favorite reggaetor has offered the Pogogo Show for kids, combining songs from one of their NSFW classics into a kid-friendly song like I Sucked a Lollipop to Get Where I Am, among other tracks. together Mr. Batto, The Little Stevies – hardly a household name in its former life as a folk costume – have had more success than ever since rebranding kids’ favorite Tiny Stevies.
As far as the Wiggles are concerned, they are playing the game upside down; The skeevy-clad icons have harnessed a second wave of success through more than 18 gigs and a Tame Impala cover, which crowned them the potential winners of this year’s Triple J Hottest 100.
If there’s any winning formula for making successful music for kids in this country, it’s Paul Field who helped shape it. “A major factor is that you have to see things through the eyes of a child,” he says.
“It’s not always easy, as our audience ranges from pre-verbal to kindergarten and beyond, so you want to create something that appeals to all levels of cognition.”
But looking through children’s eyes, taking care not to hurt adults’ ears has another benefit, he says: the potential for more airtime. “In the world of early childhood … it’s the individual recommendations that really carry the weight.”
There are very few people in Australia who are more trusted than Zoe Foster Blake, skincare entrepreneur, author and mom, to make such precise recommendations. A prolific curator of Cool Stuff — her blog Zothese once crashed under a load of traffic from her posts about baby products she uses and loves — is one of playlist creation on Spotify.
“I get excellent feedback from parents,” she says of her playlist hobbies. “I think as parents we’re all just snooping around for new ideas; we’ll try anything.”
In the Foster Blake household, music is an important pillar of family life and her playlists are reflected in such names as “Hey Kids, Calm Down”, “Kids in the Car” and “Morning with the Kids”.
“Good music is good music,” she says. “The Wiggles and Queen both have songs the whole family can enjoy; I take great pleasure in finding and matching them.”
Field’s Peachy Keen includes many of the more traditional early childhood themes you might expect. Numerical repetitions in Jump Like a Froggy Doo and Ten Koala have gross motor incentives, while Tummy Time, a track tragically close to the heart of the field, promotes safe sleep practices when the father of five gave his daughter Bernadette in 1988. I was lost in SIDS.
He doesn’t shy away from the simplicity of some of these tracks, arguing that “it’s really wonderful, because, as we all know, in the world of childhood, everything is new. So, two adults who are ordinary or ordinary.” It may seem, he is actually magic for kids.”
School and daycare drop-off complete, with full autonomy on the car stereo once again, I have to admit, the field is right. One of the most popular songs from Animal Songs, Deserves ten puppies, so cute! Playing: A jazzy Winehouse-esque vocal over a sexy Spanish guitar riff. I’m going to keep this on my mind for the rest of the day, and I’m fine with that.