Multichannel.com Tunes into Pharrell Williams, Karmaloop TV

 Music producer, entrepreneur and fashion mogul Pharrell Williams recently joined the executive team of upstart youth-culture network Karmaloop TV as creative director for new programming. He has also taken an equity position in the channel. Williams, who has worked with and produced hits for such artists as Gwen Stefani, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, talked about his plans for Karmaloop TV in an e-mail interview with Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead.

Multichannel: Why did you decide to take both a financial and creative interest in upstart Karmaloop TV?

Pharrell: Because I believe in what they represent, and what they are trying to do, creating a multiplatform network catering to the tastes of “verge culture.”
I really appreciate how they are trying to both serve and merge cultures — creating a new programming platform that reclaims the 18-to-34 demographic for cable operators, and gives techand trend-savvy young people a network catered to their interests. It’s also a great business proposition, creating a network for the most underserved audience in cable.
From a creative perspective what projects would you like to bring to Karmaloop TV?
[Laughs] We’re not telling you everything just yet, but expect it to be next-level.
One thing I’m especially excited about is Rat, Rang, Rilla. It’s an offbeat puppet show for which I am creating the characters that chronicle the music-superstar lifestyle. Think The Muppets with an edge, merged with Entourage.

M: What’s your message to cable, satellite and telco distributors who are deciding whether to launch Karmaloop TV to their subscribers?

P: First of all, we want to thank you for having us. We just want to tell them we look forward to helping each other out and forming a big bro/big sis relationship.
We also want them to look to us to help them understand the motivations and how to market to this new edge of the youth market, which has over $90 billion in buying power, for advice on social media, viral marketing and e-commerce — something Karmaloop has employed to great success for a decade.

M: How will Karmaloop serve a young demographic better than other, more established networks such as BET and MTV?

P: It’s not about being better than one network or another. We just want to serve a particular culture that we feel has been underserved. There are many messages out there: MTV has a message, BET has a message and we feel that we will have our own unique message. Karmaloop TV can help operators tap a huge and lucrative audience, one that will be key to the future of not only cable, but the advanced services they want to sell in to these early adopters.

M: Beyond Karmaloop TV, what other projects are you working on?

P: Well, I’m always working on a lot of things, but today I’m just here to talk about Karmaloop TV. I wouldn’t be talking to you if it wasn’t one of the most important projects I’m working on!



“Inside Out” By Pharrell Williams

“Inside Out” by Pharrell Williams:
So many of us often wonder what if…
Most of these wonders have to do with the idea of what people’s lives would be like if they made different choices. Since I was a little boy my wonderous curiosities were based on fictional things that television offered. My mind was crammed pack with creatures fit for a child that were often funny, designed for youth and usually a profitable franchise like cartoons. Even still, I couldn’t stop thinking about angels.
Seemingly human with wings.
The perfect representation for man’s sojourn in this dimension.
A way to conceptualize his aspirations and goals.
The moment his feet left the ground all who watched considered him on his way…but to where?
Maybe the why of it is something that each of us must discover alone. The why we aspire for higher. Perhaps my good friend Dr. Ramachadrian, from the University of California, San Diego, has the most simple explanation: “Apes reach for fruit while man reaches for the stars.” But then again, everyone races to answer that question which is why I wanted to take on the more difficult challenge: how?
When discussing it with my colleagues they reacted as they often do—with a wordless brow lift and subsequent whispers that I was “taking it too far this time.” Like no concept in existence is crazier and alien than mine. It’s as if I’m addicted to them sucking the life and air out of my curiosity, but never my enthusiasm. That cannot be touched. How could it? Thoughts are fourth dimensional just like the unit of awareness known as self or spirit. It’s all akashic substance disseminated among the ether.
By definition ether means the upper regions of space, the clear sky, the heavens. Funny enough, because of its super thin consistency and transparency, the ether is thought by most to be non- existent. Hahaaa…that which is the truest in form is transparent. We as a society live by that metaphor, but quite often we limit our truths to semantics instead of allowing these ideas to be applied to nature. That is where I find my peace, my mind, my air. Uninterrupted air. It feeds nearly everything with the exception of plant life. It’s typically an unappreciated sign of life. That’s actually the case with all things, including ideas. All good ideas need air. Some sort of openness to what is possible. All great and egregious concepts start with the openness of air.
And then it dawned on me…
That’s it.
I’ll take a subject that I’ve often pondered about in various ways since I was a child.
I would focus on the “how” by bringing it to fruition.
It had to be clear and transparent.
It had to have a physical representation of man involuting his “openness” or “air” to the possibility.
We met the people from Venice Projects who operate one of the finest glass blowing shops in Murano and also did the Glasstress show during the 54th Venice Biennale. It was important for it to represent what the inside body of an angel (Greek for the word “messenger”) looked like. The blowers captured exactly how I saw these angels in my mind. I am beyond pleased and impressed with the results.
All I wanted to do was present an idea that was clear, transparent and with the posterity that only the breath of man could offer.


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