Execs at Walt Disney’s Hollywood Records have shot themselves in the foot. Again.
The decision to pull about 100,000 copies of Insane Clown Posse’s “The Great Milenko” from retailers shelves is also the latest example of the label’s schizophrenia.
It wants to be a player in the music business, yet by pulling the album it sends a decidedly artist-unfriendly message that it will not support an act’s creative expression. The label will likely drop the band once the controversy ebbs.
“When the lyrics of Insane Clown Posse’s album were brought to the attention of senior management, the decision was made that they were inappropriate for a product released under any label of our company,” the label said in a statement.
Hamper the Disney attempt
The incident will also likely hamper the attempt by Disney chieftains to lure a new label prexy to the fold, as it advances the perception that Disney chairman Michael Eisner and Walt Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth — and not the label chief — will be calling the creative shots.
The chiefs failed to land Interscope Records prexy Tom Whalley, recently pulled support from the bow of the Suicide Machines and nixed a move to release a pair of soundtracks of Disney films on the label.
Former Hollywood prexy Bob Pfeifer was ousted earlier this year for allegedly failing to make the label successful, though he did succeed in enhancing the label’s credibilty, inking a potent distribution deal with Polygram and positioning the label to become profitable this year. (Daily Variety, April 17).
But this latest episode will likely have eviscerated much of Pfeifer’s advances.
Corporation ‘hasn’t a clue’
“When you are a struggling label and you fail to support an act, it doesn’t send a great message,” noted a rival label chief. “We’ve all been in these situations, but this highlights that there is nobody running that label and the corporation hasn’t a clue what it wants Hollywood to be when it grows up.”
Retailers sensed a buzz on the band — which has also released albums through Jive Records and independently. But when buyers tried to place additional orders for the disc they were told to send them back.
Although Hollywood said “unfortunately, our internal review process did not initially flag the album and allowed it to proceed,” label insiders noted the disc’s profane and sophomoric lyrics survived scrutiny from legal eagles several months ago — though some changes were made.
The disc was originally set to bow on May 20, but was pushed back to June 24.
Band manager Alex Abbiss suggested Hollywood execs capitulated to the pressure aimed at Disney from the Southern Baptists, who voted to boycott the company over what the religious group says are “anti-Christian” policies, such as insurance benefits to same-sex couples.
But insiders said the change of heart stemmed more from internal politics at the studio where Roth has assumed a larger role in overseeing the label’s operation.