Throw two former preschool teachers, a rock band keyboardist and a singer together and you get the world’s most famous pop band for the toddler set: The Wiggles.
CNNMoney reports that now in their 18th year, the Australian band has become a global powerhouse in children’s entertainment, earning $45 million annually from live concert tours, albums, TV shows, merchandise and licensing agreements.
How did you guys meet?
Anthony Field: I started studying early childhood teaching, then gave up university for two years because the rock band I was in [The Cockroaches] was going well. I went back to school in the late ’80s and met Murray, who’d played in some bands. Greg [Page, who has since left the band] was a roadie with The Cockroaches. I’ve known Jeff, who also played with The Cockroaches, since 1979.
Did you have a business strategy in the beginning?
Murray Cook: The model for nearly everything we do is self-financed. We own everything and create it ourselves.
We wanted to keep financial and creative control. The Cockroaches’ record label had taken some control over their work, and we wanted to avoid that type situation. With our background, we know what’s good for children and what’s best for The Wiggles. No one else had done what we were doing.
What’s been your greatest challenge?
Anthony Field: Greg was such an exceptional talent and so well-loved. We didn’t want to stop when he got sick [with orthostatic intolerance], so the challenge was to adjust to a new person, and for us to demonstrate we still had something creatively to give to children. Sam was Greg’s understudy and was a natural.
It was an honor to take his place in 2006. There was a little bit of trepidation for me about how the audience would respond. We filmed a video of Greg handing the yellow skivvy to me. Most children understood.
Photo by The Wiggles.