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Disney's new pop world

If you have not heard of Hannah Montana, Vanessa Anne Hutchinson or Ashley Tisdale you are saddened.


[pop] "This is the start of something new," Zac Efron and Vanessa Anne Hudgens sing in the Disney movie High School Musical. Efron plays football hero Troy, while Hudgens is the shy and schoolboy Gabriella, and together the unusual duo challenges twins Ryan and Sharpay Evans about the lead roles in the school's prestigious musical. The feud not only puts East High School in Albuequerque on its head, but also the American film and pop industry.

With 1,2 million DVDs sold in six days, High School Musical became the fastest-selling TV movie of all time (the two will come this summer), and after a slow start, the film music topped the Billboard charts, and has so far sold around four million copies in the United States. The actors were sent on tour, where both Vanessa Anne Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale (who plays Sharpay Evans) got to launch their solo careers. The Disney group has clawed its way into the children's pop market, and does not intend to let go.

The ties between Disney and the pop industry are not new, with pop classics such as "When You Wish Upon a Star," "Heigh Ho," and "Hakuna Matata" on the roll. Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera all have backgrounds from the Mickey Mouse Club television program, but Disney has now become more successful at blurring the boundaries between children's and pop culture. When record collections like "Hits For Kids" are crammed full with Sugababes and Gwen Stefani, it's no wonder that music aimed at kids is influenced by today's biggest pop stars.

High School Musical is packed with chewing gum pop, hip hop, r & b and heartfelt ballads, while 21-year-old Ashley Tisdale takes her "bad girl" style a step further in her solo debut Headstrong. Here she turns her ass out at the hip-hop club, and gives us a pop-opportunistic album tailored for a world where Britney, Gwen Stefani and Nelly Furtado have made hip-hop producers such as The Neptunes and Timbaland into pop pop. On the other hand, Disney focuses on radio-friendly guitar rock at school after Ashlee Simpson, Hilary Duff and Kelly Clarkson in the TV series Hannah Montana, where the album just debuted on the VG list and the series goes on Disney Channel in Norway. Here we meet the schoolgirl Miley Stewart, who lives a double life as the pop star Hannah Montana after school.

Insanely popular now as a whole generation dreaming of winning in Idol, or at least Singstar on PlayStation, and 14-year-old protagonist Miley Cyrus is, oddly enough, the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, herostratically famous for the 1992 hit "Achy Breaky Heart ". On the record we even get a duet.

Interested? Check these out:

Various Artists: High School Musical DVD (Disney 2006)

The movie that kick-started Disney entered the pop charts

Various Artists: Hannah Montana: Soundtrack (Disney / EMI 2006)

Children's new heroine. Billy Ray Cyrus, everything is forgiven!

Ashley Tisdale: Headstrong (Warner 2006)

Can she become the new Britney, or is this too much for the fans?

Knocks out competitors among many of the kids who can watch the channel.

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