Netflix unveiled its first unscripted music show today. “Westside,” which premieres globally on Nov. 9, is a genre-defining eight-episode series that follows the lives, loves and assorted struggles of nine aspiring artists (including former “American Idol” finalist Pia Toscano) as they pursue ever-elusive success in the modern-day music industry. Eschewing the standard competition-style format, this innovative approach intersperses raw docu-series footage with slick music videos (directed by such heavy hitters as Diane Martel, Hannah Lux Davis and Sophie Muller) and 20 original songs that emphasize the show’s themes and character story arcs.
The production quality of the series’ cinema-verite approach, along with a gritty, unfiltered look at the reality of struggle for success in Hollywood, makes “Westside” the polar opposite of the sanitized fantasy-like “Cinderella” story approach of a show like “American Idol.”
“Westside” also features original music written by some of today’s top hitmakers, among them Diane Warren, Philip Lawrence, Ryan Tedder, Shane McAnally, Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd, Pat Monahan, Johan Carlsson, Ross Golan, and Busbee. The soundtrack will be released by Warner Bros. Records. Two tracks are already available at DSPs, “We Are the Ones” and “Vibe.”
Said label co-Chairman and COO Tom Corson: “’Westside’ struck me immediately as a quantum leap forward in the synergy of contemporary music with the raw vibe of today’s unscripted series innovations. Musical diversity as a powerful social force is the cornerstone of Westside, and nowhere is that relationship better understood than at Warner Bros. Records.”
“The creation of original music for Westside – featuring an unparalleled team of multi-platinum producers/songwriters, working together in real time with the cast and unscripted narrative – has produced a remarkable outcome,” added James Diener, Executive Music Producer of “Westside.” “The initiative for music integration in Westside will lead the way for original programming to come.”
Variety’s inaugural Music for Screens Summit, scheduled for Neuehouse in Hollywood on Oct. 30, will feature a panel discussion with the team behind the Netflix show. Capping off the session, there will be a “Westside” screening and networking lunch. For more information, head over to the Music for Screens Summit site.
Watch the “Westside” trailer below: