The lion and the mouse join forces - Tuff Gong signs distribution deal with Disney

Published: Sunday | September 13, 2009

The Jonas Brothers

A giant of family entertainment has teamed up with the biggest brand name in Caribbean music. Tuff Gong Caribbean Distributors, part of the legendary Marley stable of corporations, has reached an agreement with Hollywood and Walt Disney Records for the exclusive distribution of their catalogue throughout the Caribbean.

The Disney licence allows Tuff Gong to carry the music from classic family films such as The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, as well as current Disney phenomenon Hannah Montana.

As of July 11, three of the top-20 albums on Billboard's pop album chart were from Disney, including country superstars Rascal Flatts and international pop sensations, The Jonas Brothers. The Hannah Montana movie soundtrack peaked the Top Country Album chart and the Billboard 200.

At a time when most record labels complain of dismal numbers, Disney's artistes have consistently posted high sales figures. Miley Cyrus and her alter ego, Hannah Montana, have sold more than three million albums in the last 12 months. The Hannah Montana movie soundtrack has sold 1.2 million copies this year. The Jonas Brothers' last two albums debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, and they show no sign of slowing down now that they have their own hit series on the Disney cable channel. Popular Disney entertainer Corbin Bleu (star of Jump In and all three High School Musical films) already boasts his own Caribbean connection via his Jamaican father. Bleu recently released his sophomore disc, Speed of Light. The latest breakout Disney starlet Demi Lovato (Camp Rock, Sonny with a Chance) new release, Here We Go Again, sold 110,000 copies in its first week.

Popular series

With the popularity of the Disney channel, most of the Hollywood/Walt Disney artistes are no strangers to young people in the Caribbean. Popular series such as Wizards of Waverly Place, Hannah Montana, Cory In the House and family-friendly films like The Cheetah Girls and the High School Musical trilogy are beamed into millions of households each week. The August 28 premiere of the Wizards of Waverly Place garnered more than 11 million viewers, making it the most watched cable programme of 2009.

In addition to being the legendary home of reggae music, Bob Marley's Tuff Gong International has been a leading entertainment distributor in the Caribbean for more than two decades. Music industry titan Universal Music Group, home to superstar artistes like Kanye West, Mariah Carey, U2 and the Black Eyed Peas, is also distributed by Tuff Gong in the region.

Tuff Gong said it is wasting no time getting Disney into the marketplace. Along with traditional music outlets, the company plans to make the products available in speciality venues, including movie theatres and children's apparel shops.