Universal Music Group has teamed up with production company Grace/Beyond (GB) to start development on three new television series with the temporary titles of 27, Melody Island, and Mixtape.
The two parties have an existing relationship: UMG’s Republic Records releases soundtracks to Josh Wakely’s Beat Bugs (pictured), the Netflix hit animated series where each episode is inspired by a Beatles song, including performances by several UMG artists.
The companies are also collaborating on an Untitled Motown Project at Netflix that will feature newly recorded versions of Motown classics.
Smokey Robinson is the series’ Executive Music Producer and UMG is a primary investor in the series.
The soundtrack will be released on UMG’s Motown/Capitol label through GB’s Melodia imprint, which previously released the Beat Bugs soundtrack
As part of a new agreement between the companies, GB will develop other future projects based on UMG’s recorded music and publishing catalogs.
In their own words, the newly commenced projects include:
27 (current title)
“A startling array of legendary musicians, artists and entertainers died tragically young at the age of 27. This series explores the life circumstances behind a fictionalized variety of characters coming to a crossroads at the pivotal age of 27. Viewers will be able to experience the series in a traditional linear format as well as engaging with it through interactive choice of storytelling. The live-action, scripted program features songs from artists spanning the UMG publishing catalogs.”
Melody Island (current title)
“Each episode of this animated series for children features a story inspired by a classic UMG master or composition with an uplifting message and tropical island feeling. Live action segments hosted by luminaries from popular culture will teach children a project or craft they can do at home with their families or fellow students in the classroom. The series weaves encouraging messages with classic songs interpreted by contemporary music superstars.”
“Mixtape is a melodically rich episodic drama that mirrors the way a mixtape works – fast forwarding, pausing and rewinding on the pivotal moments that define the relationships, love and heartbreak of the stories’ characters. Each episode is based on and connected to an iconic song on that forms the 12-track season.”
Grace/Beyond is led by principal partners Josh Wakely, Mikael Borglund and Trevor Roy.
They represent the creative and production team behind the Emmy Award-winning Beat Bugs, which features re-imagined versions of The Beatles’ classics by stars of today including P!nk, Sia, Eddie Vedder, Rod Stewart, and many others.
“From my very first meeting with Josh, I was struck by his unique vision and innovative storytelling that holds music as the centerpiece of his film and TV projects,” said Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President of UMG.
“I’m so proud to expand our relationship with Josh, Mikael, Trevor and the incredibly talented team behind the Emmy Award-winning Beat Bugs and the forthcoming Motown show. At UMG, we support and work with great artists from every medium and I’m thrilled to be working closely with Grace/Beyond to bring original experiences to life based on our extensive catalog and artist rosters.”
“It’s an incredible honor to be entrusted with the jewels of these catalogs of music and songs to create projects that will perpetuate their popularity and reach new audiences around the world,” said Josh Wakely, principal partner at Grace/Beyond.
“I’ve long held some very specific ideas that have been burning through me while I searched for the right environment in which to bring them to life. This agreement is a creative dream come true, as I know we have found the perfect partners in Lucian Grainge, Michele Anthony, Boyd Muir and the entire UMG team.”Music Business Worldwide