Few issues have captured the cultural zeitgeist in 2023 greater than Barbie, Greta Gerwig’s movie based mostly on the basic Mattel toy that has change into a $1 billion-movie since its launch in July. However anybody who has seen the film can attest that it’s greater than only a comedic sendup or a feminist movie lacing into cultural stereotypes of the previous half-century — it’s additionally a deeply musical movie, with songs by Lizzo, Matchbox 20 and others enjoying central roles in how the story performs out.
So it naturally follows that the soundtrack, with authentic songs by Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj, and extra, would make waves as effectively — although maybe few folks predicted it could do this effectively. Three weeks after the soundtrack’s launch, the album stays at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, whereas three of its singles — Dua’s “Dance The Night,” Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” and Ice Spice and Nicki’s “Barbie World” — are within the prime 15 of the Sizzling 100, and the highest 10 of the Billboard International 200. And that sustained success helps earn Atlantic Data West Coast president and Barbie soundtrack album co-producer Kevin Weaver the title of Billboard’s Government of the Week.
The Barbie soundtrack isn’t Weaver’s first movie success — he’s additionally been closely concerned within the soundtracks for The Best Showman, Suicide Squad, Daisy Jones & The Six, Birds Of Prey, Livid 7, The Fault in Our Stars and The Destiny of the Livid, amongst others. However the Barbie movie and soundtrack has captured the world’s collective consideration in ways in which none of these others actually have.
Right here, Weaver discusses the affect of the movie and its music, how Warner Music Group leveraged an all-hands-on-deck technique to promote it world wide and the way the music performed such a central function within the movie itself. “The fact that Greta saw this film almost as a musical, and was so involved with the soundtrack, was an absolutely critical factor in how and why the music worked so well,” he says.
This week, the Barbie soundtrack spends its third week within the prime 5 of the Billboard 200, with three of its songs within the prime 15 of the Sizzling 100. How did this mission come collectively, and what have been the actual difficulties in pulling it off?
We had been monitoring the event of the movie for just a few years and had frequent conversations with Warner Bros. and Mattel about partnering on the soundtrack. As soon as Greta and Noah [Baumbach] grew to become connected to the mission and Margot [Robbie] and Ryan [Gosling] have been solid as Barbie and Ken, we aggressively began to place the items collectively. We attempt to begin early on a lot of these initiatives, so we will actively contribute to how music shapes the mission and vice versa. This was much like after we labored on The Best Showman the place we had a deal in place earlier than the movie was even formally greenlit by the studio.
The Barbie film has change into a cultural phenomenon. What have you ever guys achieved to market the soundtrack alongside that?
The music and our singles actually helped gas the cultural phenomenon months earlier than the movie had even opened. We have been out with our singles, movies, social content material, partnerships and technique beginning in late Could. It felt crucial to us that the soundtrack was an integral a part of the general marketing campaign’s DNA. Our companions at Warner Bros. and Mattel actually leaned into the music by incorporating it into each facet of Barbie media and advertising in a very unprecedented method. The extent of collaboration on this mission and dealing with such smash information was the preliminary driving drive behind this success.
The album didn’t simply resonate within the U.S. — three of its songs are within the prime 10 of the International 200 chart, together with two (Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” and Dua Lipa’s “Dance The Night”) within the prime three. What did you do to assist market this launch past the U.S.?
We enlisted our complete international advertising machine at WMG in a approach that I’ve by no means skilled earlier than. Very early on, Max [Lousada] and Julie [Greenwald] deemed the album a “Superstar Level Release” the place every single obtained our most coveted “track of the week” precedence project. Which means that each observe had each attainable lever pulled behind it, in each territory all through the globe. We additionally had each advertising staff all through the world working hand in hand with their native counterparts at Warner Bros. and Mattel. By doing this, we unlocked each co-op advertising alternative throughout all three corporations, together with digital partnerships, media, bodily retail, in-theater and anything you could possibly think about.
How have you ever guys been capable of faucet into the craze across the numerous merchandising tie-ins with the film?
Now we have some co-op merchandise with Mattel, plus extra within the works for later this 12 months. Mattel helped us tremendously with our vinyl and CDs in any respect main retailers world wide. We have been additionally capable of work collectively on all of their key Barbie promotions, which gave the soundtrack huge further visibility within the market.
Given how music performs such a central function within the movie, how intently did you’re employed with the movie staff and the film studio on the soundtrack?
We labored in lockstep with the filmmakers, Mark Ronson, and the music supervisor, George Drakoulias. We got the chance to see scenes from the movie very early on whereas Greta was nonetheless at first levels of assembling the director’s minimize. This enabled us to provide you with inventive concepts and strategize with Greta as she was making the movie. From that time on, we might all converse and textual content day by day with bi-weekly inventive calls. We consistently handed concepts backwards and forwards, confirmed artists and writers scenes from the movie and shared music for evaluation as quickly as a brand new demo or combine got here in. Everybody offered suggestions in actual time. The truth that Greta noticed this movie nearly as a musical, and was so concerned with the soundtrack, was a completely crucial consider how and why the music labored so effectively.
You’ve labored on a number of enormous soundtracks prior to now a number of years, together with The Best Showman and several other Quick & Livid movies. What did you be taught from those who you utilized to this, and the way was this one totally different?
At the start, I at all times do what’s greatest for the film. It’s important to let the music change into a personality within the movie with its personal voice. For those who super-serve the inventive wants of the film as the premise for every part, then the songs change into a real extension of the movie versus an afterthought. With this clear directive, we work with artists who align with the general aesthetic tone of the film, after which hone in on hit information.
How have you ever been capable of preserve the momentum on this launch going?
It’s the present that retains on giving. We labored deliberately early on to create our personal model with this music and have continued to promote it previous the movie’s launch identical to we might with some other celebrity artist. Greta made a masterpiece and now we get to proceed to develop this music outdoors of the 4 partitions of the movie, which helps each the movie and our music model proceed to flourish. We get to provide you with new inventive concepts every single day whereas having enjoyable constructing upon what we’ve already been capable of accomplish.
Each facet of this mission has been a dream and I couldn’t be extra grateful to your entire staff at Atlantic, the worldwide groups at WMG, our inventive companions, Greta, Mark, George and the filmmakers, in addition to our companions at Mattel and Warner Bros. Each single factor we now have achieved right here has gone in opposition to the grain and we’re grateful to have had monumental assist in an unprecedented capability by all concerned.