With ‘DCapella’, Disney Takes on Penatonix and the Online Acapella Industry

This year, Disney’s digital network launched the debut of DCapella, an all-new acapella group dedicated to creating and recreating Disney music and beyond. Perhaps DCapella was created as Disney’s effort to jump on a new trend of popular acapella groups whose popularity have grown out of the Youtube era, like Penatonix, but DCapella is also a fascinating study into the possibilities and limitations of Disney’s online strategies, in an ever-expanding digital presence for The Walt Disney Company.

The ‘DCapella’ troupe. Photo by DCapella

Overall, the debut of DCapella works surprisingly well, while hitting all the same cylinders one would expect the troupe to. DCapella is dedicated to the legacy of Disney and to Disney fans, while making the Disney brand and its iconic music a central piece of its act, and of course, making it hip and cool in the digital era. Like previous online debuts, like last year’s Club Mickey Mouse, the first effort that DCappella addresses is finding a way to finding new ways to preserve  decades-old music true to the Disney heritage also relevant to teens and millennials in the modern era. DCappella’s roster of performers are endlessly talented, and each of their unique talents elevate one another, and bring a wonderful new blend to the original music they tackle. At a D23 member performance in New York City, the performance group of DCapella discussed the research and original videos they studying when practicing ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ from The Jungle Book, and the result is a pretty impressive one. Once again, Disney has found a way to preserve its deep heritage while making it cool, again.

While a quick YouTube search for an acapella cover for ‘I Wanna Be Like You’, will turn up many results–many of them incredibly talented, this is the first time Disney has put themselves in the position of benefiting from an already popular industry online, and gives them the ability to control their foothold within that division. Disney has already dived deep into the world of controlling ‘fansites’, launching their official fan-sites and shows, ‘OhMyDisney.com’, D23, The Star Wars Show, and more. Much like most of those divisions, DCapella is a great tribute to talent, and opens up the possibilities that Disney can extend its resources to for this team to thrive in many new ways.

With less than a year already under their belt, DCappella is launching quickly, recently announcing a nationwide tour next year, recently debuting a new album, and Christmas single/cover, DCapella has kickstarted their way into the online acapella world, showcasing new digital feats for The Walt Disney Company and the Disney Interactive and Disney Digital Network divisions specifically. DCapella is off to a fascinating start and it will be more interesting to see where the act and the troupe can go from here. This could be the start of a company once again revitalizing what online fandom may look like, but until then, it’s a neat collection of talent performers bringing their best to some great Disney classic covers.