ADOTAS Conversations: Edith Bellinghausen, VP of New Media, Razor & Tie

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While the name Razor & Tie has been quickly gaining notice for its popular Kidz Bop children’s music compilations, the company’s business model is actually built on a direct response strategy first and foremost. Though the record label division is a considerable cash crop for the company, Razor & Tie is a multi-faceted entity that also thrives thanks to media buying, home video and most currently, its new media operations. Much of the latter’s success can be attributed to Edith Bellinghausen, who built Razor & Tie’s New Media division from the ground up and turned it into a viable ecommerce business. ADOTAS spent a few minutes with Bellinghausen, discussing her past, her role at Razor & Tie, what makes her division tick and where they’re going from here.

Hi Edith. So what’s Razor & Tie all about?

Razor & Tie has been around for about 15 years. We’re a direct-response marketing company, general entertainment company, record label, children’s marketing company, all of the above. The focus of our business currently is on the label side. We are developing some new bands. We just signed an artist named Kelly Sweet who will be putting out a record later this year.

So tell me about your position within Razor & Tie.

I run the new media department, and all of the online aspects of our company, from e-commerce to online marketing to working with digital distribution. I wear many hats here.

How did you get involved with the company, especially the new media department?

I actually started off in the promotions department doing radio, and then I started in the media department because of my personal interest in the Internet and the opportunities it had and also how it was quantifiable–which tied into the Razor & Tie philosophy.

So what are you guys are doing in terms of music and entertainment?

The big focus of what we’re working on right now is children’s products. I’m sure you’ve heard about Kidz Bop…

Right.

…Which is the number one selling children’s music series in the country. Volume 9 debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard top 200 back in February. And actually, we’re doing a lot of interesting things with Kidz Bop online. We’re putting a big focus on KidzBop.com, adding new content to that. One of the areas that we’re looking to do more in is interactive television. If you go in there, we’ve got something called Kidz Cast. We’re actually partnering with Brightcove, which I don’t know if you’re familiar with…

Yeah, I think we’ve done a couple stories with them.

Yeah. They’re a big player in the iTV space. They’ve got some funding from AOL, and the guy from Macromedia is running the show over there. So we’re creating new video content, which I think is obviously what’s pretty big online right now–conversions of TV in the online space. Lots of networks are taking their programming, and looking to use it in different ways—how do they monetize that, and so on. So we developed a webisode series called the Kidz Bop comic adventures. It’s one of the original programming that we have on Kids Cast.

So it’s online-exclusive?

It’s online-exclusive. We use it as a way to test out the content to see if we can start something online and bring it to more traditional media. Nickelodeon I think has a couple of shows that started on AOL and then moved over. So I see that as where the future is—a lot of video content and monetizing that and spreading that out through traditional-type distribution. So we’re focusing on that—just creating a lot of new content. And seeing how that works out.

Are you guys integrating some of the artists you have on your label with the online space?

We see which works where. For Kidz Bop, it’s been [about] creating original animated content. For an artist like Kelly Sweet, it’s seeking visual elements and creating the story of Kelly Sweet prior to the record coming out. If you go to her website, Kelly-sweet.com, we launched a Kelly sweet branded player where you can see…a couple videos even before any of her music has been released. So it’s definitely a way to promote a new artist. We’re using her videos on MySpace, and we’re working with companies like Yahoo to debut some of her content early.

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