Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Songs for sale

Kenny Loggins is the latest to peddle his musical wares on QVC.

Kenny Loggins is selling his new album, "All Join In," at QVC's madly bustling suburban campus in West Chester. (Elizabeth Robertson / Staff Photographer)
Kenny Loggins is selling his new album, "All Join In," at QVC's madly bustling suburban campus in West Chester. (Elizabeth Robertson / Staff Photographer)Read more

Irrepressible QVC program host Shawn Killinger is launching Q Check, the home shopping network's noon segment.

At the top, she teases the appearance of Kenny Loggins. Behind her, the veteran singer-songwriter and his backing trio perform the opening chorus of Donovan's "There Is a Mountain."

For the next 25 minutes, Loggins stands patiently under the lights on the set while Killinger blitzes through offerings for necklaces ("18-carat gold for under $80," she marvels), nylon blouses, and combo birdfeeder/birdbaths.

Then, as promised, Loggins sings two songs.

The singer is selling his new album, All Join In, at QVC's madly bustling suburban campus in West Chester.

We're not at Live Aid anymore, kids.

Welcome to the brave new world of music marketing.

Loggins is among the well-known musicians, from Neil Diamond to James Taylor, who have made the pilgrimage to the mecca for discount beauty products, jewelry, and household items to sing for their suppers.

Barry Manilow and Alabama set the benchmarks for this strategy, each moving more than 40,000 units in an hour's time.

"We're not looking for a specific genre," says Rich Yoegel, QVC's director of merchandising for sports and music. "What we're looking for is somebody who has a broad appeal, somebody who has what I would refer to as a cult following."

Loggins fits that designation. Over a nearly 40-year career, he's created hits from folk ("House at Pooh Corner") to soft rock ("Your Mama Don't Dance") to soundtrack smashes ("Footloose").

Some musical visitors to QVC really enter into the retail spirit. Dancer-turned-country-star Julianne Hough, for instance, stuck around, spatula in hand, to take a turn behind a backyard grill.

Loggins, 61, strives to maintain his dignity.

"Basically, I came out and did the music," he says afterward. "I didn't get involved in the pitch. I don't think that's my job."

His new collection, released on the Disney label, with songs from the Beatles, Randy Newman, and others, is music for kids. But Loggins takes pains to identify it as "a family album."

"Most children's albums are strictly for the children, and the parents have to listen to it whether they like it or not," he says. "My goal has been to make an album that parents love as much as the children."

He first got into kids' music when a former wife was pregnant with his fourth child, Luke (now 16).

"I realized that I was heading towards another few years of Barney and stuff like that. I thought, 'Somebody ought to make a record that I would like as much as my kids.' It dawned on me," he says, laughing, "that it would probably be me."

That insight resulted in two collections of lullabies - Return to Pooh Corner in 1994 and More Songs From Pooh Corner in 2000.

The artfully rumpled troubadour notes that the music business has changed radically in that interim. His last pop collection, for instance, 2007's How About Now, was sold exclusively at Target.

"Everything is a marketing opportunity," he says, pointing to the fact that Disney has enrolled him on Twitter.

"It's bizarre what's happening now," he says. "My son, Crosby, who is 28, is coming out with his second album for Jive. He told me the other day he was running a 102 fever and had to go and play in a conference room at People magazine for about 25 people. They would never have brought something like that to me back when I was young and starting out."

The old stuff still has its appeal. Loggins is touring this summer with his early '70s partner, Jim Messina. The duo broke up in 1976, but advance sales have been brisk.

"I think it's the nostalgia ticket that is getting stronger right now," he says.

As for the new album, it doesn't go on sale until next month. But you can preorder the $19 package for $17.39 exclusively on QVC.

As Loggins performs, a group of elderly folks wanders by above him on a glassed-in balcony. Tours of QVC's 11,000-square-foot facility: $7.50 for adults. Leaving hourly.

Before Loggins has taken off his guitar and left the set, Killinger is already flogging the Satchel of the Day: a Hobo bag with buckle accents. Retails for $89. Yours for $79. Shipping and handling: $7.22.