How a B.C. couple created a kids' YouTube channel with 1.85 billion views and counting
Pancake Manor has the kind of online audience that most musicians can only dream of
Billy Reid and Reb Stevenson have the kind of online audience that most musicians can only dream of.
The couple from Saanich, B.C., are the minds behind Pancake Manor, a YouTube music channel for children that has more than 2.6 million subscribers and 1.85 billion views.
The channel features brightly coloured music videos that combine puppetry and animation.
Their most popular video, a version of Old MacDonald Had a Farm, has more than 440 million views on YouTube.
Buoyed by their online following, Reid and Stevenson have released their eighth album, Just a Minute.
The album consists of 25 songs that, according to Reid, have a "nice 80s vibe" and, as its title suggests, are around one minute in length.
All of the songs on the album got a stamp of approval from their young daughter.
"She hears the songs before anyone else does," Stevenson said.
"We do think that this album is well-tested, at least on her, a three-year-old girl. If you have a three-year-old girl chances are she'll like it."
Pancake Manor has signed with Moonbug Entertainment, which represents big names in children's entertainment like Blippi, CoComelon, and Little Baby Bum. Their music is available on streaming services, including Spotify and Apple Music.
Given their huge online following, Pancake Manor will be producing videos for all 25 songs on Just a Minute.
- LISTEN: CBC Kids music playlist
They are something of a one-stop shop, writing and producing their music as well as directing and doing the puppetry in their videos.
"Growing up with Jim Henson, The Muppet Show and Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers and shows like that, it's really informed a lot of our decisions when making a video," Reid said.
The two met in Ontario, where Reid was writing music targeted at adults. They found themselves drifting toward music aimed for a younger audience long before they became parents.
"We both really love children, it really called to us," Stevenson said.
"As soon as we started making kids stuff, it felt so right."