R5 Gets 'Louder' As Ross Lynch's Profile Grows

R5

Christian Lantry

The five-piece's debut album scores a Top 30 debut on this week's Billboard 200 chart.

R5, the pop-rock family band fronted by 17-year-old Disney Channel star Ross Lynch, has scored a top 30 debut with first album "Louder," which sold 15,000 first-week copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The aptly titled set follows the group's "Loud" EP -- which has sold 28,000 copies since its release last February -- as well as months of beguiling fans of Lynch's TV series "Austin & Ally" and Disney Channel film "Teen Beach Movie."

Formed in Los Angeles by Lynch with brothers Riker and Rocky, sister Rydel and family friend Ellington Ratliff, R5 self-released its "Ready Set Rock" EP in 2009, two years before Lynch was cast in the pilot of "Austin & Ally" as teen singer Austin Moon. R5 signed to Hollywood Records in April 2012, months before Lynch raised his profile as the star of "Teen Beach Movie." Since the film's TV debut in July 2012, its original soundtrack has sold 300,000 copies.

Hollywood VP of marketing Robbie Snow says the key to R5's growth was the 50-date North American tour the group began in mid-March, which followed a handful of club shows last year. By last spring, Lynch had wrapped up another season of taping "Austin & Ally," and R5 needed to build a live following with a new product ("Loud") to promote. "We're just continuing to keep them out and playing every time we can get a break in Ross' acting schedule," Snow says.

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Produced by Eman Kiriakou and Andrew Goldstein, Louder is an 11-song collection that includes the four songs from the "Loud" EP as well as new single "Pass Me By" (sample lyric: "I was solo, living YOLO/'Til you blew my mind"). The music video for "Pass Me By" has earned 1.3 million Vevo views and Radio Disney has supported the track, but Snow says "radio's not our focus" with "Louder." Instead, Hollywood wants to keep R5 out on the road as much as possible despite Lynch's acting schedule. More U.S. dates have already been set for the fall, with trips to Japan, Australia and Europe coming in late 2013 or early 2014.

"We're in the long-term business with this band," Snow says. "We're looking toward another album, potentially at the end of next year."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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