Disney sounds off

'Hannah' on top of chart

For Disney’s music units, what were once surprises are now sure bets.

The studio has scored its third chart-topper this year as the soundtrack to the Disney Channel’s Saturday show “Hannah Montana” sold 281,000 copies in its debut session.

Mouse has already scored the No. 1 album of the year, as the soundtrack to the Disney Channel telepic “High School Musical” has sold 3.2 million copies, and the biggest debut of the year, as Rascal Flatts’ “Me and My Gang” sold 722,000 in April. (Band records for Disney-owned Lyric Street.)

Disney also scored a top 10 debut with the soundtrack to “Cars.”

Distrib, which is considered an indie in the music world, has a 6.5% market share in the week’s top 200, the highest of any indie.

“Hannah Montana” posted the best opening numbers for a soundtrack this year. Show and soundtrack features Miley Cyrus, daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus, as the title character.

Disney has two other soundtracks in the top 50. The “Nightmare Before Christmas” disc debuted at No. 31, selling 27,000, while “Cheetah Girls 2” is a slot lower on sales of 26,000. Its cume is 590,000.

A year ago at this time, Disney’s labels had five albums in the top 200, but all were at the end of their run. Rascal Flatts’ “Feels Like Today,” released in September 2004, had sold 2.8 million, Jesse McCartney had rung up 1 million in sales, and Hilary Duff, one of the first Disney Channel stars to register high on the music charts, saw her “Most Wanted Collection” hit 674,000. Hollywood Records sold 130,000 copies of Ally & AJ’s “Into the Rush.”

This year, however, “High School Musical” could pick up steam in the coming months as a holiday gift and the strong showing for “Hannah Montana” positions it well as fourth quarter heavy-hitters arrive week after week.

Seemingly, the only competition for the tween dollar is the debut from 12-year-old Bianca Ryan, the “America’s Got Talent” winner signed to Sony.

“Hannah” soundtrack beat out two discs receiving considerable media attention, the fourth album from New Jersey pop-punk act My Chemical Romance and the sophomore effort from R&B crooner John Legend.

Also, according to Nielsen SoundScan, MCR’s “The Black Parade” (Reprise) sold 240,000 copies in the week ended Sunday, far outdistancing its last studio album’s opening-week sales of 38,000 in 2004.

Legend’s “Once Again” (Columbia) opened at No. 3 on sales of 231,000. Singer’s 2004 debut, “Get Lifted,” was released in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, a previously off-limits time period that now looks like a solid spot for new releases. Legend won the new artist Grammy for the disc.

Top 20 debuts include two rookie efforts, a national debut for a Baton Rouge, La., rapper and the latest from country legends Alabama.

“Jibbs Featuring Jibbs” (Geffen), by St. Louis rapper Jibbs, sold 47,000 copies (No. 11); Alabama’s “Songs of Inspiration” (RCA Nashville), their ninth disc to crack the overall top 40, sold 44,000 (No. 15); Lil Boosie’s first disc with national distribution, “Bad Azz” (Asylum), sold 41,000 (No. 18); and country singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, bolstered by her hit “Tim McGraw,” sold 39,000 copies of her Big Machine Records debut (No. 19).

Other debuts included country duo Montgomery Gentry’s “Some People Change” (Columbia Nashville), which sold 37,000 (No. 23); the first album from rapper Shareefa, “Point of No Return” (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam), 37,000 (No. 25); and Brooke (daughter of Hulk) Hogan’s “Undiscovered” (SME/SoBe), 30,000 (No. 28).

Debuts from Kiss’s Paul Stanley (No. 53), Kelly Price (No. 54), George Benson (No. 58) and Intocable (No. 59) sold between 17,000 and 15,000 copies each.

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