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Lego and Universal Music Group Launch Music Video Maker

In yet another example of how the world of music licensing has evolved over the past two years, LEGO and Universal Music Group (UMG) announced on Jan. 26 the launch of LEGO VIDIYO, “a playful and innovative music video maker experience designed to celebrate and expand children’s creativity and passion for music.”

The companies say in a joint statement that LEGO VIDIYO is a “brand-new way to play that helps children dream big by directing, producing, starring in, and sharing their own music videos, using tracks from across the globe, led by chart hits from UMG’s unrivalled artists.”

It’s also another way that music publishers like Universal have expanded the ways in which they license music, with a pronounced accent on licensing to social media networks and video games. While LEGO is not primarily an app or video game company, this collaboration does involve an app and a toy that can traverse the worlds of physical and digital play. The platform lets children experiment with play and music, which the developers say is a powerful combination that’s fundamental to child development, extending their ability to connect with other people emotionally and creatively.

It’s also a great way to promote music, essentially integrating Universal’s music catalogs into the daily play time of children. However, LEGO VIDIYO does take precautions, as it requires verified parental consent—along with anonymity—and external moderation of all content uploaded to the App feed, so that parents can be reassured their child is unleashing their creativity while staying safe online.

Split image with a phone displaying the LEGO VIDIYO app on top and a collection of beat bits on bottom

The system is an entirely new direction for LEGO, going far beyond the world of the most sophisticated physical blocks. VIDIYO consists of physical LEGO elements, mini figures, music, augmented reality elements and a bright, vibrant new App. The creators say LEGO VIDIYO will be filled with endless combinations of editing options unlocked through new special effect ‘BeatBits’. Young creators can enjoy and experiment with their own individual styles and ways of bringing music videos to life.

Here’s how it works, directly from a joint statement from LEGO and Universal:

  • Choose one of the many songs in the App from a broad variety of established artists—both contemporary chart toppers and instantly recognisable classics.
  • Create your band from a vibrant collection of new, physical minifigures, which can be customised and brought to life in different scales through AR technology in the VIDIYO App.
  • Line up special effects in the form of ‘BeatBits’ and place them on the scanning stage. BeatBits are decorated 2×2 square LEGO elements, which once scanned unlock digital effects that let you control everything from video and music styles to scene effects. Creators can see their vision realised by choosing anything from black and white bling effects, to confetti showers and even X-ray vision. They can also add audio effects such as DJ scratching, mouse voice or sax solo, as well as fun signature character moves and gimmicks, from breakdancing to surfing on a shark.
  • Set the stage. From parks to bedrooms and backyards to brick-built models, LEGO VIDIYO music videos can live anywhere. In just three seconds, your location is scanned and production countdown starts.
  • Hitting the selected BeatBits in the App, children then take creative control of their own music video production, triggering dance moves and audio/video effects in an amazing 60 second performance, which can be trimmed down to 5, 10, 15 or 20 second shareable clips.
  • Clips can then be uploaded to the App feed, but only once the content has passed moderation. Any content featuring personally-identifiable information, such as children starring in the video, will not be approved for App feed upload, but can be stored locally in-App, to be enjoyed in-person with friends or family members.

Using new AR technology, LEGO says this will be the first-time children can play with mini figures in real-life scale and at a super-sized scale, in addition to the iconic mini figure scale. The App lets children style all of their band members, select names for their band, design album covers and much more.

Image of a collection of beat bits standing up in a row

Thanks to the agreement with Universal, new music, challenges, and inspirational content will be added regularly to the App to keep gameplay fresh and encourage children to continue developing their creative skills, the companies say. The challenges are designed to help young creators transform their videos from simple performances to exciting and dynamic productions, while ensuring they take full advantage of the wide range of features LEGO VIDIYO has to offer through new unique BeatBits.

“We want to feed the imagination of the next generation of creatives, providing a new canvas for kids to creatively express themselves,” said Julia Goldin, Chief Product & Marketing Officer of the LEGO Group. “Research shows over three quarters (79%) of parents globally wish their children had more creative confidence, so we’re launching LEGO VIDYO to help make that happen. We know children are always chasing new ways to experiment creatively, and LEGO VIDIYO is here to help all kids with a passion for music unleash their creativity through LEGO building and music video production. We can’t wait to see what they come up with!”

Music and creative play are incredibly important in the lives of children, as revealed by research from both the LEGO Group and UMG:

  • 89% of parents say music helps build creative skills, while 83% say it helps build confidence.*
  • 94% of parents believe playing with LEGO bricks helps develop creativity, 91% say it improves problem-solving, and 89% say it builds confidence.*
  • 74% of children aged 5-12 say music helps them connect with friends* with over half of children aged 6-10 confirming they listen to music every day.**
  • 76% of both parents & children aged 5-12 believe music helps them express who they are.*
  • 81% of parents say music brings families together and helps them bond with their kids.*
  • 92% of parents and 95% of children aged 5-12 say LEGO play is fun for the whole family.*

By bringing LEGO play and the power of music together in a safe and social environment, the companies say LEGO VIDIYO pays respect to these trends, allowing children to flourish in their creative expression.

Lifestyle image of three children looking at the LEGO VIDIYO app on a cell phone

LEGO VIDIYO is the first collaboration between the LEGO Group and Universal Music Group, after the two companies announced their partnership in April 2020. As the global industry leader, UMG shapes culture around the world through the power of music. UMG brings both local and global superstars, along with an unrivalled catalogue of recorded music, covering all genres and languages, to LEGO VIDYO. The LEGO Group itself has worked to inspire and develop children through play since 1932. It brings to the partnership boundless experience in innovating and developing play for children and their families around the world, generation after generation.

*LEGO Play Well Study 2020: Survey conducted across 18 markets between May and June 2020, asked to a total of 18,117 parents with children aged 1.5–12 years old, and 12,591 children aged 5–12.

**UMG Music 2019 consumption study across 6–10 and 11–13-year-olds in the UK, DE, USA, 1500 children and 1200 parents.

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