JoJo Siwa Announces 'D.R.E.A.M.' EP and Tour
JoJo Siwa is releasing her first EP and embarking on a solo tour, a move that both expands the multi-hyphenate universe of the Nickelodeon and YouTube star, and signals the evolution of the network’s cross-platform business model.
The 15-year-old this afternoon broke the news about the four-song D.R.E.A.M. The Music, which Nickelodeon will drop via 200 digital service providers Nov. 16, the same day tickets go on sale to the general public for her 22-city North American tour, produced by Nickelodeon and AEG that launches May 17.
The venture is a sign of the direction Nickelodeon is heading under Viacom president/CEO Bob Bakish and newly minted Nick president Brian Robbins, of developing associated talent and IP—and holding them closer to the vest. Nick last March signed Siwa to an overall talent deal including original programming, music, live events, social media and consumer products.
Doug Cohn, Nickelodeon svp, music, tells Billboard the Siwa project has been “especially satisfying” for multiple reasons. “These songs aren’t born out of a specific show, as iCarly or Victorious were; rather they appear on all of our various platforms in a multitude of ways—both audio and visual. The landscape is changing, and Nickelodeon is changing with it.”
Of AwesomenessTV founder Robbins, who last month replaced longtime Nick chief Cyma Zarghami, Cohn says, “It’s an exciting time to be here because he has some fresh thinking about music’s place on the network. Ultimately, we want to… make sure that we are forging the best pacts that cultivate new stars and excite our audience.”
It’s also an exciting time for Siwa, who says seguing into singing was always part of her game plan. In April she released her song “Every Girl’s A Super Girl” exclusively through the videogame Star Stable. “I’ve evolved, and I got to the point where I thought, How can I make this bigger? How can I grow from here? And doing this EP was the next step for me,” she tells Billboard.
Siwa escalated to fame among the adolescent set via social platforms, particularly her YouTube Channel, which counts more than 8 million subscribers. That’s where she and Nickelodeon chose to premiere the music video for debut song D.R.E.A.M. on Nov. 3. “It’s kind-of backward in a way to release the video first on YouTube, but I thought, Why not?” Siwa says. “A lot of my fans are on YouTube; I thought it would be fun.”
It’s Siwa’s biggest video production yet, Cohn says, “and we wanted to share the video with her core fans first. The video was released last weekend and has well over 1.7 million streams. We have a ton of behind-the-scenes and other content that will be parsed out across all of our platforms… Our aim is to match the appropriate content with the best outlet for it.”
Aside from “D.R.E.A.M.,” the EP includes songs “Everyday Popstars,” “Only Getting Better” and “My Story,” an autobiographical tome that includes the lyric “I record/you press play.” “That’s literally my life,” Siwa says with a laugh.
Siwa was a headliner at the debut U.S. incarnation of Nickelodeon’s SlimeFest this summer in Chicago alongside Liam Payne and Flo Rida, but this tour marks her first solo run.
“I like when people sing along and dance, and the one thing I’ve learned is I have to set some rules with the audience,” she says. She also hinted surprise guests may join her on stage at select tour dates but stopped short of sharing more info, teasing, “I can’t tell you everything just yet, we’ll talk later.”