Angry Birds is pretty much everywhere these days. The characters were popular Halloween costumes, there is a board game, there are t-shirts, and the game has been referenced in American television shows such as Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, and The Simpaons.
The franchise has had over 500,000,000 downloads.
So now what?
Obviously, people are searching for "Angry Birds" in Apple's App Store and elsewhere. And obviously, people love the game... So why not take advantage of the momentum?
That's exactly what Wisconsin-based musician, Mr. Billy, decided to do.
But taking the idea one step further, he recorded everything on an iPhone!
What's your background?
My family has been in the music business for four generations. I started playing and writing at age nine. I spent about 20 years playing and touring with my own bands. In the late 90s, I retired to start a marketing business using the skills I learned from keeping my bands employed and selling CDs and merch.
Why music for kids?
When my son turned five, he took me to show-and-tell, but I didn't know any kids' songs, so I just sang some classic rock songs. To my surprise, his teacher suggested I could do kids music for a living.
So I did some research and found that, at that time, there were a few kids' folk musicians in my area, but no kids' rock singers. So I decided to create a new niche locally and it just took off.
Where did you get the idea for a song about Angry Birds?
When I got the new GarageBand app for my iPhone, I started messing around and it sounded so good that I decided to write a "real" song and put it on iTunes over the weekend.
I've been following the success of bands like Pomplamoose using current pop culture as a marketing tool and realized that my target audience (kids and parents) are really into Angry Birds. I actually wear Angry Birds t-shirts to my gigs!
Angry Birds and iPhone also seemed like a good match and potential headline for press.
Talk more about your writing and recording process...
The song took an hour to write, including researching Angry Birds on the web.
I recorded it on eight tracks using only GarageBand sounds, the sampler (that's my voice doing the bird and pig sounds), and loops. I played guitar into the GarageBand amp models and sang directly into the phone (no mics).
I sent it to my computer, had my son draw some angry birds, drew myself in cartoon form, uploaded the whole thing to CD Baby, and ta-da!
Any advice for musicians breaking into the children's music market?
I just want to say that since shifting from rock to kids rock, I have done just about everything I dreamed of my whole life... I play all originals, I only do covers if I want to, and I play to people that actually come to see me. I'm the center of attention, which is what I've always wanted to be, I've been on TV, I've been on radio, I do interviews, I've won several awards, and I've been flown to shows... You name it.
As far as advice... Kids music is great, but you have to actually like kids, period. Know what they like and what the parents love and try to find a common ground. I was lucky, I never changed my musical style or performance style... Just the words are different and there is no swearing at the show!
I do 200+ gigs a year at libraries, schools, and concert events. I write and record songs specific to each of my markets. In 10 years I have released 15 albums and various singles like Angry Birds.
Make music that people actually want to buy and listen to... stuff they NEED...and you will succeed.