Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Oscars 2017
The Latest News and Insider UpdatesDon't Miss

Article

Unauthorized music DVDs are stealth hits

Posted on

DVD sales may be slowing, but at least one under-the-radar video niche is actually taking off: the unauthorized DVD music biography. A home-video version of Behind the Music-style documentaries, unauthorized DVD bios are made quickly and cheaply to piggyback on more famous Hollywood releases. Prime example: On Nov. 15, Highland Entertainment released The Unauthorized Biography of Johnny Cash, well-timed to cash in on the release of Walk the Line three days later. Granted, the ”unauthorized” tag lends these titles a somewhat shady aura, which means mainstream distributors pretty much steer clear. But that hasn’t deterred buyers: 2004’s Eminem: AKA and 2002’s Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel have each sold more than 100,000 copies — and this despite a lack of hit songs or extensive artist footage (there is naturally zero cooperation from the musicians or their labels). To wit: The recently released DVD 50 Cent: Refuse 2 Die doesn’t feature, say, ”In Da Club” or interviews with Fitty, although his grandfather and tangential figures appear as talking heads. Still, there’s a plus side to working without the artist’s approval, says the disc’s director, Mike Corbera: ”I’m giving fans the straight dope.”

Comments