TV & Radio
Sony targets gay and lesbian audience
Dan Glaister in Los Angeles
Thursday January 12, 2006
I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor is bound to make it. So too, perhaps, will the more discordant tones of Yoko Ono's club hit, Walking on Thin Ice. But you can count on Barbra Streisand being there. Sony Music announced the launch of a label dedicated to supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered artists.
Music With a Twist, a joint venture with Wilderness Media and Entertainment, will feature artists who have crossover appeal, and also plans to release compilations aimed at gay and lesbian audiences. "We're looking to sign artists who make great hit music that can have mass appeal regardless of genre," said Matt Farber, president of Wilderness. "There have been independent gay and lesbian labels before, but nothing that has the clout of Sony. We can mine all the great music within the Sony archives and beyond."
The disposable income of the estimated 30 million gay men and women in the US is thought to be more than $300bn (£170bn). Mr Farber points to the mainstream success of television series such as Queer Eye and Will and Grace as an indication that gay artists can reach a mass audience.
He likens the commercial appeal of gay artists to other niche markets such as African-American and Hispanic music. "Beyoncé may be African-American but she sells way beyond her core," he said. "Media and entertainment brands are now being created for the gay and lesbian audience following the success of brands for other minorities."
Wilderness is at the forefront of that trend. In June last year it launched Logo, the gay and lesbian network run by MTV that reaches 20m American homes. This weekend the company is also launching a national radio show called Twist, which will target gay and "gay adjacent" audiences with a mix of music, celebrity interviews, entertainment reports, lifestyle advice and news.
The first release from Music With a Twist will be a compilation in June to coincide with National Gay Pride Month.
Music Label Formed to Push Gay Artists
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: January 11, 2006
Sony Music Label Group and the founder of the Logo cable channel said yesterday that they had struck a partnership to create a record label aimed at developing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender recording artists.
The label, to be called Music With a Twist, plans to release a series of compilation CD's featuring hits from established artists and music from emerging gay acts, said Matt Farber, who started Logo and is president of Wilderness Media & Entertainment, a company focused on gay and lesbian-oriented business ventures.
The label has not yet signed any of its own artists, Mr. Farber said, but is scouting for those who seek to make their sexual orientation part of their identity from the onset of their career.
Sony Music Label Group, a unit of the music giant Sony BMG Music Entertainment, will also be a leading sponsor of Wilderness Media's new syndicated gay and lesbian radio program, Twist. The program is to be introduced Jan. 14 and 15 on music stations in major markets, including WPLJ-FM in New York, and online.
Sony Music launches gay label
Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:38 PM ET
By Sue Zeidler
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The recording industry is coming out of the closet.
Sony Music on Tuesday said it was launching the first major music label dedicated to nurturing lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered artists.
The label, Music with a Twist, is a joint venture with Wilderness Media & Entertainment, the company led by Matt Farber, who founded Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks' new gay and lesbian channel LOGO, which is available in an estimated 20 million homes.
The label also comes as Wilderness Media plans this weekend to launch a syndicated national radio show called Twist targeting the gay and "gay-adjacent" communities, debuting on FM stations and the Web.
The weekly two-hour radio show will feature music, celebrity interviews, entertainment reports and relationship and lifestyle advice and news in a "morning show" format.
"It's an idea whose time has come," Farber told Reuters, referring to the expansion of gay-themed media properties.
"Only now are media and entertainment brands being created for the gay and lesbian audience following the success of brands for other minorities," he said.
Farber noted that the success of brands dedicated to the African American and Hispanic audiences have also helped talent in these communities cross over well beyond their core audiences.
Likewise, Music With a Twist's roster will feature gay artists who have mass appeal and hit potential across all musical genres. The label will collaborate with Sony Music's other U.S. labels and divisions, including Columbia Records Group, Epic Records, Sony Nashville and Sony Urban Music.
Sony Music is part of Sony BMG, a joint venture of Sony Corp and Bertelsmann AG.
The label also plans to release various compilations geared toward gay and bisexual audiences, as well as music fans everywhere, featuring hit songs by established artists that have been embraced by gay, bisexual and trans-gendered audiences as well as tracks from emerging gay artists.
The first of these compilations will be released in June 2006 during National Gay Pride Month.