Disney is famous for its parks and movies, however, the music in Disney attractions has much to do with its success. The Disney Music Group is a collection of music publishing entities and affiliated record labels, owned by The Walt Disney Company. The group was formerly known as Buena Vista Music Group.
In April 1947, Disney formed the Walt Disney Music Company to publish and license Disney songs. In 1956, the Walt Disney Music Company’s Disneyland Records label was founded on the strength of Fess Parker’s hit recording of the Ballad of Davy Crockett which was licensed to Columbia Records.
In 1998 the Buena Vista Music Group (BVMG) was founded. It consisted of Walt Disney Records, Hollywood Records, Buena Vista Records, and later added Lyric Street and Mammoth Records. In September 2005, Buena Vista Music Group signed with EMI for distribution of its album in the United Kingdom, Europe, South Africa, and the Middle East replacing Warner Music Group.
In November 2006, Disney Music Publishing and Warner/Chappell Music Inc. agreed to a licensing agreement for Europe and South America major markets. In 2006, Buena Vista Music Group launched a concert production arm, Buena Vista Concerts starting with The Cheetah Girls: The Party’s Just Begun Tour and High School Musical: The Concert.
The flagship label of the group, Walt Disney Records, was founded in 1956 as Disneyland Records. Capitol Records or RCA Victor had issued Disney albums prior to that time. Under the Disneyland label, the studio released new soundtrack LPs of some of the animated Disney films, including, a 3-LP album set in the monophonic sound of all of the classical music heard in Fantasia, perhaps the first soundtrack album containing virtually all the music from a feature-length film.
Disneyland Records also released cover versions (rather than soundtracks) of the songs from some of the other animated films, such as Lady and the Tramp. In 1989, the label was renamed to its current branding and now releases a broad range of Disney-branded music for children, teens, and families such as soundtracks to Walt Disney Pictures’ films, original music from artists such as They Might Be Giants, Mitchel Musso, and compilations of music made popular by Radio Disney. In April 2007, Disney decided to semi-retire the Buena Vista brand.
Hollywood Records, primarily focuses on pop, rock, alternative, and country genres. The label releases music from a variety of major artists such as Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Lucy Hale, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Plain White T’s, Redlight King, and ZZ Ward, & Bridgit Mendler, Zendaya, and more. The label also continues to release select soundtracks to non-Disney branded films, such as Marvel Studios, in conjunction with Marvel Music. The label was originally primarily a soundtrack label for non-Disney branded releases by Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures, with few major artists, like Queen.
The publishing rights to music from Disney’s film, television, theater, and theme park divisions are controlled by Disney Music Publishing Group. Walt Disney Music Company, Wonderland Music Company, Touchstone Pictures Music & Songs, Hollywood Pictures Music, Buena Vista Music Company, Fuzzy Muppet Songs, Mad Muppet Melodies, Marvel Comics Music, Marvel Superheroes Music, and ABC Family Music are just a few of the entities under the Disney Music Publishing Group.