As the second quarter got underway, Disney Music Group (DMG) found itself in an unexpected position - surging ahead of Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA) in current-album market share, thanks to the 2013 Frozen soundtrack. The startling news comes as the music division attempts to move successfully beyond the animated phenomenon with a 2014 slate of releases - including Dconstructed, an EDM album of Disney songs remixed by such DJs and producers as Avicii and Armin van Buuren - and an artist-development strategy that president Ken Bunt says puts "creating careers" over market share.
According to Nielsen SoundScan data, through April 27, Disney's year-to-date 2014 market share for current albums is 6.7 percent, which puts the music group in fourth place behind Columbia Records (8.5 percent), Republic Records (7.9 percent) and Capitol Music Group (7.6 percent), and ahead of IGA (6.0 percent). For the same period in 2013, Disney's market share was a mere 1.1 percent.
The surge is almost entirely due to Frozen, which is in its 12th week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and the year's biggest-selling album (2.1 million copies). Though market share has long been one of the industry's favorite barometers of success, a single album can have a big impact on a label's standing because of the continually shrinking album market. For instance, the success of Adele's 21 helped make Columbia the only label with a market share greater than 10 percent in 2011 and 2012. In 2010, its was 7.8 percent.
Bunt says he's not touting DMG's numbers at Disney's Burbank, Calif., offices, however: "We don't talk about market share. We're trying for the best batting average."
On deck at DMG, which includes Disney and Hollywood Records, are Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale, whose album Road Between is out June 3, and Bella Thorne, whose Call It Whatever is due June 24. And boy band R5 will record a follow-up to its debut, Louder, after a tour-ending June 10 performance on ABC's Good Morning America.
Aware that synergistic efforts have a payday beyond SoundScan reports, DMG continues to work tie-ins with other Disney divisions. "Fire N Gold," a song from Bea Miller, the 15-year-old singer whose Young Blood EP debuts at No. 64 on the Billboard 200, will air in an ABC Family summer promotion. The Disney Channel and Disney XD will plug Dconstructed the week of May 5.