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Can Pharrell Williams Create a MTV for a New Generation?

Pharrell Williams
Mark Thompson | Getty Images
Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams is one of the most powerful forces in music — a Grammy winning musician, who's produced and scored dozens of hits from pop to rap.

He even wrote the "Lovin' It" jingle for McDonalds that's inescapable if you turn on the TV.

He also has a slew of lifestyle clothing brands and has designed limited edition jewelry, furniture and glassware for Louis Vuitton. Now this Renaissance man is trying to create an MTV for a new era — what it calls the "Verge Generation." That's 18-34-year-olds who are multi-cultural and tech savvy.

Williams has joined a company called Karmaloop.com — an online retailer of streetwear, which attracts about 5 million monthly unique viewers. It may be best known as a retailer, but it's also an online TV channel — Karmaloop TV is the 18th most viewed YouTube channel and expects to draw 40 million views this year.

Now Williams and Karmaloop's CEO Greg Selko are meeting with cable and satellite TV companies to bring Karmaloop to your TV set — to make it a proper TV channel. Does this generation, (which I'm a part of,) even own TVs in the numbers of previous generations? Selko says yes, telling me that rumors of cord cutting are greatly exaggerated. Williams says this demographic is sorely underserved-- both online and on TV. and they have the spending power to be a real draw to advertisers as well as to cable and satellite TV operators.

We'll be watching to see what kind of distribution Karmaloop gets — but Selko says they expect to be available on the old-fashioned dial by the end of this year.

Check out the interview — Pharrell explains why he's trying to build a new version of MTV for a very new generation.

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