If the frenzy at last year’s Jingle Ball is any indication, the Jonas Brothers are just about the only thing in the music industry right now with earning potential, which is probably why Disney isn’t about to take any chances with their upcoming album. Under pressure from the brothers’ management team, Disney is reportedly shopping around for a different international distributor for said record, thanks to uncertainty surrounding the Mouse’s longtime partner EMI.
Leading the pack of candidates to pick up the job is Universal Music Group, Disney’s current distributor in the US.
While no decisions have been finalized, the situation highlights the challenges that EMI faces as it tries to keep its artists, managers and the other labels it distributes happy at the same time it attempts to dramatically transform itself under new private-equity owner Terra Firma.
Disney’s international distribution pact with EMI expires in a year, and with EMI in flux, a source close to Disney said the company is keeping its options open in deciding whether to renew or go elsewhere.
Multiple sources said Disney also is trying to determine if the sale of EMI to Terra Firma gives the company an immediate out under a change-of-ownership clause in its deal.
Some industry watchers have suggested that if the Jonas Brothers album is distributed through Universal, it will serve as a test case for Disney eventually moving its entire business over to the music giant.
This seems like a pretty drastic move, but can you blame Disney for wanting to make sure every tween girl in Europe will be able to get her hands on that sweet J-Bro. nectar? Those boys are the geese that lay the golden eggs. Plus, Disney’s got other gems in its stable that deserve only the best in international distribution:
To be sure, Disney’s business is valuable to whoever distributes the catalog. Hits like the soundtracks to “High School Musical” have become global smashes. The soundtrack to last year’s “High School Musical 2,” distributed by EMI, sold 3.5 million copies outside the US, and Disney has a crop of budding stars to export around the world, including “Hannah Montana” star Miley Cyrus, and Grammy-nominated rockers Plain White T’s.
Not the Plain White T’s! Is no corner of the globe safe from the reach of “Hey There Delilah”?
Musical Mouse Games [New York Post]