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Nat Geo confirms move into music

Washington DC-based National Geographic’s commercial arm has today gone public about the launch of its music division, National Geographic Music and Radio (NGMR).

C21 first reported Nat Geo’s plans to launch a music TV channel here last month, but NGMR’s remit goes far beyond TV channels and includes radio content, live events, music publishing and MP3 downloads.

NGMR will be run by music industry veteran David Beal, who will preside over music labels, publishing and radio operations, and Mark Bauman, as executive VP of radio and video production.

Beal recently worked on the successful launch of WorldMusic.NationalGeographic.com and was previously president of Palm Pictures. Bauman was previously an award-winning producer of non-fiction TV and news for 15 years, for Nat Geo and ABC News.

Launching with distribution partners Clear Channel, Salem Communications and NPR, the new music division’s mission is to “reach people and inspire them to care about the planet through music and the power of radio.”

The fruits of NGMR will be distributed via National Geographic Channels worldwide, the firm’s film arms and kids production unit National Geographic Kids Entertainment, as well as its magazines and digital media divisions.

NGMR content is also expected to feed a standalone Nat Geo Music channel launching this October in Europe and adding to recent factual channel launches Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Adventure.

The new division is already producing music for various National Geographic arms, such as films Arctic Tale and Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure, and kids series such as Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies.

“NGMR will engage listeners with great talk and sound, and also offer artists and experts who care about global culture and the environment an outlet to create awareness for important issues,” said National Geographic Ventures president and CEO Tim Kelly.

Content will include artist performances and interviews. So far NGMR has been working with stars Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and Peter Gabriel.

“Music is an integral part of history and culture and brings geography to life. The overwhelming enthusiasm for the World Music site launch demonstrated that audiences are engaging with different cultures through music,” said Beal.

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