A Disney-EMI Divorce?
February 14, 2008 at 5:38 AM (PT)
When 'tween music powerhouse WALT DISNEY releases the next album from boy rockers THE JONAS BROTHERS via its HOLLYWOOD RECORDS unit later this summer, it may pass on having international sales handled by EMI, its normal distribution partner outside the U.S., reports THE NEW YORK POST.
Multiple sources familiar with the situation said the label is facing pressure from the band's management team of JOHNNY WRIGHT, PHIL MCINTYRE and father KEVIN JONAS, SR. to come up with an alternative to EMI to distribute the record, citing uneasiness over looming staffing and structural upheaval at the recorded music giant.
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 insiders 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.
DISNEY and EMI sources emphatically deny that their relationship is on the rocks, or that DISNEY is looking for a new home.