Pursuant to my previous post, here's another mention of the high-flying tween music market. But I have to say that the other major labels have yet to even come close to Disney Music Group's success because of the multi-channel synergy they employ.
The article mentions Sony BMG's act Paula DeAnda, who records for the Arista label. I worked the Limited Too and Justice accounts for the company when her record came out, and I can tell you her record was NOT targeted at tweens. There were at least 3-4 tracks with guest raps from Hip-Hop artists, and Hip-Hop is not appropriate for tweens.. While that is a statement I agree with it's not me setting those rules. It's the retail gatekeepers for the tween market - Limited Too, Justice, and Club Libby Lu - that are setting the rules.
Top 40 radio may have played "Walk Away" by Paula DeAnda, but unless that artist, or any other artist looking to break into these key three accounts, has a whole album full of squeaky clean tracks, then that label can kiss their chances of success goodbye. Because parents trust these brands. They'll pay full price on CDs at these chains' stores because of that trust factor. All three of the chains cater to tween girls, girls who are already exposed to too many oversexualized and profane images in the media through other channels. These chains are an effective filter for parents. The music may be somewhat disposable, but at least the songs are tunes parents can feel okay about their kids singing along to without further contributing to their pre-pubescent maturation.
I believe in the tween market as a market to be targeted by the record labels, but they will be sorely disappointed if they think just "talking the talk" about the tween market will win them converts at tween retail. Case in point: I happened to be in a mall yesterday and walked into the Limited Too store - only one non-Disney title was stocked by the store!
Personally, I think the real big win would be to find a tween country artist. Why? Because country is an already healthy genre, it's a genre of songwriters (who can easily shape songs to this market), and it's not dependent on Radio Disney per se. Country radio dwarfs Radio Disney in terms of influence and size.