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Tune Thursday : Is Disney getting ready to launch a new record label?

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Tune Thursday : Is Disney getting ready to launch a new record label?

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Wanna see something interesting? Open a new window on your computer and then type in "carolwoodrecords.com." Now watch what happens.

For those of you who don't know, Lyric Street is the country music label that the Disney Music Group started up back in June of 1997. Thanks to how hugely successful Rascal Flatts has been these past few years, this Nashville-based operation recovered its initial start-up costs (i.e. $10 million) back in 2004. Which means that Lyric Street has been operating in the black ever since. Which is really rather impressive, given what's going on the music industry these days.

Anyway ... Disney would dearly love to be able to capitalize on this success. The only problem is ... Well, as Randy Goodman -- the president of this arm of the Disney Music Group -- explained in a 2007 interview with the Nashville Business Journal :


Randy Goodman, president of Lyric Street
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

"What we've decided to do is keep (Lyric Street) lean and our roster small and focused. So that when we hit something big like Rascal Flatts, we become an ATM machine for (corporate parent) Disney Co."

Which is all well & good. But when you only have a handful of artists (The groups & performers that Lyric Street currently has under contract are SHeDAISY, Bucky Covington, Trent Tomlinson, Josh Gracin, Sarah Buxton, Phil Stacey and Marcel), the odds are against you when it comes to getting any additional airplay. Particularly when it comes to placing another song in the Top Five on the Country charts.

So the only way that you can improve those odds is by starting up another record label. Which is where Carolwood Records comes in.


Walt Disney & friend take his miniature steam train for a spin around the Burbank lot.
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

Now Disney history buffs will -- of course -- recognize the Carolwood name. Given that this is what Walt Disney called that miniature steam train that used to run around in his backyard: The Carolwood Pacific.

As for Carolwood Records ... Back on the 21st of September, the Walt Disney Company registered a rather large pile of Carolwood-related names. Among them:

  • CAROLWOODARTISTS.COM
  • CAROLWOODCOUNTRY.COM
  • CAROLWOODCOUNTRY.NET
  • CAROLWOODMUSIC.COM
  • CAROLWOODMUSIC.NET
  • CAROLWOODRECORDS.COM
  • CAROLWOODRECORDS.NET
  • CW101.COM
  • CWDOWNLOADS.COM
  • CWPROMOTION.COM
  • CWRECORDS.NET
  • CWRMEDIA.COM
  • CWRPR.COM
  • CWRPROMO.COM

Now as to Carolwood Records itself ... I'm told that Lyric Street's second imprint will stick with this record label's original business plan. Which is to start small and stay lean. Which will allow Carolwood to quickly respond to forces in the marketplace.


Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

As for the type of music that Carolwood Records' roster of artists might record ... I've heard that the Disney Music Group is seriously considering using Lyric Street's second imprint as a way to enter the Christian music field. Which is one of the industry's fastest-growing genres.

As to when the Mouse will get around to officially revealing its plans for Carolwood Records ... I was told that this new division of Disney Music was originally supposed to be unveiled just before Halloween. But when the Mouse learned that reporters like myself were already sniffing out this story, they significantly stepped up that timetable.

So what do you folks think? Do you think that it's wise for the Disney Music Group to launch a second country label? Especially one that would follow in the footsteps of Hollywood Records? And by that I mean taking advantage of all the synergistic opportunities that are currently being offered through the Disney Channel, Radio Disney and the ABC television networks?

Your thoughts?

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  • Couldn't hurt, considering how they did with Lyric Street.  Personally, I wish they would have used a label name like Carolwood for re-releasing classic Disney attraction and show soundtracks (especially now that WDR's esentially become Kingdom of the Tweens), but that's the Disney geek in me...

  • Might this also be Disney preparing for a possible influx of talent that they "find" at the all new American Idol Experience opening at Disney's Hollywood Studios next year?

  • They should get Fall Out Boy!

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