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Orlando Sentinel: Disney reaches retro's limit, folds classic-tunes CD burner

Discussion in 'Archive' started by PlazaParrot, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. PlazaParrot

    PlazaParrot Member

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    Disney reaches retro's limit, folds classic-tunes CD burner
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/or...iness-headlines

    Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer
    Posted October 14, 2006

    Tucked away in a couple of corners of Walt Disney World, Burl Ives, Annette Funicello, Mary Martin and Fess Parker still belted them out. But no more.

    Walt Disney World has closed a small, obscure, yet unique attraction: two consumer CD-burners loaded with old Disney music.

    The "Wonderland" machines were set in back corners of the Once Upon a Toy store in Downtown Disney and the Virtual Magic Kingdom store in the Magic Kingdom. For $15.99, customers could burn copies of albums not elsewhere available for generations.

    Dozens of offerings included Burl Ives -- Chim Chim Cheree, Annette -- Volume 1 and it's a small world 1964 World's Fair.

    But the machines simply weren't very popular, a Disney spokesman said.

    In their place are shelves of Disney CDs, including a few, such as Mickey's Top 40 Tunes, that feature repackaged, select oldies.

    Disney observer Nathan Rose, creator of the Magicalmountain.net Web site, said few people knew about the CD burners because Disney did almost no promotion. He called their albums "lost music."

    Rose said Disney insiders told him the company pulled the machines after deciding to sell all the music on the iTunes Internet music service run by Disney's business ally, Apple.

    "When I heard it was going to iTunes, I was a little upset," Rose said.

    A Disney spokesman disputed that report, saying the issue was Wonderland sales.

    "During this trial period the guest response was not strong," Jacob DiPietre said.

    Scott Powers can be reached at spowers@orlandosentinel.comor 407-420-5441.

    >
     
  2. X-S Tech

    X-S Tech Active Member

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    Re:Orlando Sentinel: Disney reaches retro's limit, folds classic-tunes CD burne

    Why would Disney deny that they simply wanted to sell them on itunes?

    Disneyland sales were always very high. The Wonderland CD's were the top sellers in that store during thier entire run.

    Now whether the parks could have promoted them more and made them better sellers, is probably true. They were probably "Pocahontas" successful, when Disney was looking for "Lion King" successful. Or perhaps with iTunes being a cheaper no frills way for the Company to release the music, a more appropriate analogy is "Cinderella II" succesful- minimal expenditure for maximum profit.
     
  3. Fantasmic

    Fantasmic Member

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    Re:Orlando Sentinel: Disney reaches retro's limit, folds classic-tunes CD burne

    They should come up with a new DL and WDW Forvever system for the parks now
     
  4. jeffcot

    jeffcot Guest

    Re:Orlando Sentinel: Disney reaches retro's limit, folds classic-tunes CD burne

    I know there are mixed opinions out there about iTunes-mainly over the quality issue, but for me, its a win-win.

    I do not have the trained ear that many have, hence iTunes is great for me. My iPod has really re-ignited my music passions, and has really provided a great way to manage all my Disney audio.

    I loved the WDW Forever and Wonderland kiosks and bought quite a few CDs from them. But I live 600+ miles away . . .

    iTunes will provide greater accessibilty and lower prices.

    The one time I spoke to a cast member about it, he said response to it was generally low key, and bugs with the burning software/equipment made it a real headache at times.
     
  5. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    Re:Orlando Sentinel: Disney reaches retro's limit, folds classic-tunes CD burne

    It is sad to see the system go ... independent of my personal opinion regarding iTunes (DRM & quality issues), I am doubting that sales will significantly increase if the material is added to iTunes.

    Without elaborating on it, just a few short problems I see with the iTunes-strategy:

    - currently limited to the US-market only, as material is only available on iTunes US frequently (e.g. the soundtrack for Brother Bear 2)
    - non-collectors sometimes saw the systems, took a look and bought something on the whim in vacation mood / CD-buyers look for a different CD in the shop and see a release and buy it on a split-second decision - while the second can be recreated by advertising on iTunes (which costs money to be paid to a THIRD party) the first one can not be recreated on iTunes
    - Disney needs to PAY Apple to advertise its material on iTunes or shoppers will only see it if they look for it - how many people will have stumbled on the BrotherBear 2 soundtrack by chance on iTunes??
    - Disney has to spend money to make the public aware of their material being available on iTunes
    - iTunes only carters to those owning an iPod and / or running iTunes on their computer, but their is a fair share of users using the Windows-Media-Player and compatible mp3-players "only"


    Yours

    Dirk
     
  6. jeffcot

    jeffcot Guest

    Re:Orlando Sentinel: Disney reaches retro's limit, folds classic-tunes CD burne

    Your points are well-made Dirk. but I think accessibilty is still the key to it all.

    These titles are clearly for a niche market. There are consumers that want them, but not nearly enough to support their release on normal CDs. They tried releasing some of them normally a number of years ago with little success.

    Wonderland was clearly an attempt to distrubute them without risking a lot of $ on production costs, with the hope that many of the collectors out there that wanted them were also theme park visitors. Unfortunately, not enough of these folks were able to connect to these Wonderland locations frequently enough to provide the support they needed to maintain the service.

    I really think it's likely that digital distribution is the only option they have left. I know that I personally will spend more on these if they are available to me all the time, and I can budget out my purchases over time. When I was at the parks, I could only really afford to buy one per visit.

    Disney may have to incur addtional costs by going through iTunes, but they are going to get more exposure than they ever could get from kiosks in park shops. Millions versus hundreds.

    I really think you underestimate the draw of iTunes--Disney has had incredible success there (High School Musical for example) with minimal cost. Their movie downloads especially have been hugely successful.

    Regards-

    Jeff
     
  7. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    Re:Orlando Sentinel: Disney reaches retro's limit, folds classic-tunes CD burne

    Well - the question here is: what do they expect? Since we are talking collectors' items here: are collectors going to go for "digital download" only? This might be a big question, since a lot of the material is also illegaly available online already. With the DRM and reduced quality of iTunes another incentive for collectors to buy the material has now disappeared compared to a CD release. Also: many collectors already bought the old Archives series and many CDs from the Wonderland system. So to get their money new collectors' material needs to be prepared and added to iTunes. Just moving the Wonderland material to iTunes will not make these collectors go any buy any major amount of material.

    Also it should be noted that smaller companies such as LaLaLand Records and Varese Saraband are extremly succesful with limited edition CD-releases for collectors. So this is an option if done properly and handled through internet shop. Varese Saraband Club releases (=limited releases) frequently sell out and are bought by customers around the world. Those CDs (e.g. the score to Ghostbusters) are for a very limited niche market as well. So this would be an option if handled e.g. through the Disney Catalog which is selling worldwide.


    These two thoughts are actually what makes me fear that Disney will be EXTREMLY disappointed by the sales numbers of the former Wonderland material on iTunes.

    Exposure is the key - right. BUT millions vs. hundreds? Well, if we would compare guest numbers of the park vs. numbers of users visiting iTunes we would say millions of international guests vs. millions of US (and Canadian?) users (since so far the material is limited to the US-store only. But since you seem to be referring to the number of guests who actually recognized the Wonderland (hundreds) we shouldn't take the millions who visit iTunes into comparison but only those who actually see the section with the former Wonderland material on iTunes. While the potential customer base here is millions of Americans (and Canadians?) I doubt they really will all find this material on iTunes. The starting page will only rarely have room to advertise this kind of "out-dated", "collectors only" material and will concentrate on more up-to-date releases. So to actually get potential customers to see this material advertising is necessary. Since they didn't do it in the parks when it was "free" for them (in the sense that they would have only had to pay a fellow department for it), I doubt they will splurge on it now that they have to pay an external company.

    Your reference to the success of the movie soundtracks on iTunes is also a fear of mine. If Disney actually expect something similar to happen with the Wonderland material I fear they are in for a rude awakening. Something like the HSM-soundtrack was basically advertised by the success of the movie on the Disney Chanel in the wake of which viewers were looking for the soundtrack and searched for it on iTunes wanting to buy it and assuming it would be available there as a new release. Now for the Wonderland material there is no big success of any tv-show creating interest and nothing that would imply to non-collectors that there is a reason to search on iTunes for this kind of material. Basically every soundtrack of a current release has a build-in-audience/potential-customer-base some of which will search on iTunes for it (this percentage certainly depending again on which part of the public is interested in the movie and the soundtrack). I think the soundtrack for Brother Bear 2 is a good example that even this kind of build-in-audience does not guarantee a hit. The soundtrack (to my knowledge) was / is available on iTunes and the digital WalMart download store, but no-where on CD. Well, how many discussions had we here on this board (many member of which buy each and every Disney soundtrack released on CD) about the actual content of the soundtrack? How many of us bought it? How far up the iTunes charts did it go? And that release had a major artist contributing songs!!

    While I think iTunes is a niche in which to release material, I fear Disney might have to high expectations once again as it seems they did with the Wonderland system.


    Yours

    Dirk
     
  8. BLM07

    BLM07 Member

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    Re:Orlando Sentinel: Disney reaches retro's limit, folds classic-tunes CD burne

    Question: How hard would it be to create a semi advanced website for selling music in lossy and lossless formats?

    I don't know, but it sounds like it might be easier and cheaper for Disney to run their own music site. No software to download and no restrictions on playback. Just pay and download.

    Is it out of the question to set up a site like that? And what about world wide, could tracks be sold world wide on a site like that?
     
  9. jeffcot

    jeffcot Guest

    Re:Orlando Sentinel: Disney reaches retro's limit, folds classic-tunes CD burne

    It was not my intent to imply that any Wonderland title would be as successful as HSM.

    My point remains that there is just not enough demand for any of these titles to warrent any kind of non-digital release. This has already been proven. I think that putting them on iTunes is Disney's way of testing the waters to see if there is enough interest to support a digital business model. Just because Disney is currently in partnership with Apple, it doesn't prevent their pursuing other digital distribution venues in the future.

    As for Brother Bear 2, I'm guessing that past direct-to-dvd soundtracks did poorly as cd releases. I'm willing to bet that BB2 would not have been released on CD at all regardless of iTunes.

    In putting these items on iTunes, Disney is not trying to reach the mainstream consumer. They are placing them where collectors will be able to find them. And just based on the discussions on this board, they are going to find them.
     
  10. musicradio77

    musicradio77 Member

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    Re:Orlando Sentinel: Disney reaches retro's limit, folds classic-tunes CD burne

    RIP: Wonderland Music System :'(

    You can find old Disney music on iTunes.
     

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