UMG to distribute Disney Down Under

Miley Cyrus, Rascal Flatts fall under new agreement

BRISBANE, Australia -- The Disney Music Group has reached a licensing agreement that will see Universal Music Group market and distribute its recordings in Australia.

Effective April 1, Universal in Australia will handle digital and physical releases for Disney's roster of artists affiliated with Hollywood Records and Walt Disney Records, plus their catalogs. Until now, EMI had represented the Disney license down under through a pact struck in August 2006.

The new arrangement will include forthcoming album titles from the Jonas Brothers and the "Hannah Montana" movie soundtrack. Disney's roster is crammed with pop talent, including Miley Cyrus, Jesse McCartney, Rascal Flatts, Demi Lovato, Plain White Ts, and the "High School Musical" and "Camp Rock" soundtrack properties.

UMG has an existing international licensing deal with the Disney Music Group covering Asia and Canada, a distribution pact in the United States, and a license deal with Hollywood Records in South America. It also has a licensing partnership in Europe for the distribution of the eponymous 2007 album by the Jonas Brothers and the Miley Cyrus album "Breakout."

"We are pleased to expand our excellent business relationship with Universal Music into the Australian marketplace and feel confident that we will do great things together there with [Universal Music Australia managing director] George [Ash] and his team," said David Agnew, president, Walt Disney Records, and executive VP/GM of Disney Music Group.

"We are thankful to our colleagues at EMI for having successfully launched many of our artists and repertoire in Australia and New Zealand over the past three years, and wish them continued success."

Disney's "High School Musical" franchise has been nothing short of a recording phenomenon. According to the IFPI, the first two soundtracks were the world's best selling albums in 2006 and 2007, respectively, while the latest in the series, "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," ranked at No. 8 in 2008.