Monday, December 14, 2009

Virtual World Planet Cazmo Shares Music and Holiday Giving with Teens and Tweens

You won't find the words "killer app" in any marketing or promotion campaigns for Planet Cazmo but the virtual world targeted at teens and tweens just might be brewing a secret sauce with at least two killler ingredients - social spaces and mainstream music. Combine an American Idol all star line up (David Archuleta, Jordin Sparks and Allison Iraheta) with a dash of charity and and suddenly the Planet Cazmo kitchen is cooking with good fun, good music and good will with the Toys For Tots Virtual Concert Series launching weekend.

Planet Cazmo kicked off the Planet Cazmo Virtual Concert Series in November 2008 with Interscope-Geffen and Sony Epic Records and has recently partnered with music industry veteran Tommy Mottola as well as Island Def Jam, and The Jive Label Group to expand the series into a mainstream music machine.

I had a chance to talk with Planet Cazmo CEO and Founder Mike Levine recently about how music plays a part in the world and what's coming up.

Q: This year Planet Cazmo has secured several key partnerships with record labels and most recently with Tommy Mottola to bring big name artists into the virtual world including Soulja Boy Tell Em, David Archuleta, Jordin Sparks, Kristinia Debarge, Ciara, Natasha Bedingfield, Allison Iraheta and Metro Station. Do these artists perform live for the Planet Cazmo listeners, or are all of the concerts pre-taped?
A. While we have the technical capability to do live music, several factors have made it not necessary up to now, though we do hope to try it someday. The logistics and cost associated skyrocket when doing a live performance, and we have found by and large the kids are thrilled with they way we are doing them, which isnt really any different then them watching a pre-taped live show of a concert, with hundreds of their friends simultaneously.
Q: How do the artists like the experience so far? Have you received any direct feedback about what works best and/or what you might change?
A. I can tell you the artists who have been involved love doing it, and many have done repeat performances with new exclusive audio like David Archuleta.

Q: Do you have plans for simulcast events in 2010 that you can share?
A. If you mean live events not right now. We are going to be debuting the first of its kind inside the world “TV Show” in upcoming weeks however where we will interview celebrities and cazmos.
Q: Planet Cazmo is targeted to tweens and teens globally and currently attracts people from over 170 countries. Do you plan to extend your music label /artists partnerships Internationally?
A. Yes we are already working with international pop stars like Jay Sean, and we are in talks with foreign labels as well. We get 50/50 male/female so Cazmo has a diverse appeal

Q: During concerts there are direct to purchase offers for the performing artist merchandise. Does Planet Cazmo get a percentage of those transactions?
A. We mainly just sell their music through affiliate links. So yes we make money but its pennies per transaction.

Q: What types of goods sell the best at the concerts - physical or virtual?
A. The concerts are free so you don’t have to buy anything per se. We do see great virtual good sales around them but more use the concerts to bring in new kids and keep our fan base happy with fun events.

Q: Do you have plans to include non-signed musicians as part of you Concert Series?
A. We are talking to some but its tough as we do these to bring in new kids. We have done many “emerging” acts, but without a major label support its tough to bring in traffic. We do plan on soon launching our own bands inside Cazmo, I can tell you that and we are open to indies in the future as the platform grows. We envision a not too distant future where anyone can put Cazmo on their site, and throw their own concert for their friends.

Planet Cazmo looks like a great place for teens and tweens to socialize around music and the team is sensitive to safety and security of the residents. If you are a parent looking for some answers, have a look at the Parent's Page and let me know what you or your kids think!

Peace, art and music ~ Grace

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