The Jonas Brothers: What Went Wrong?

The world-conquering superpowers of teen-pop juggernaut the Jonas Brothers have once again been called into question — and this time not just by some know-nothing blogger! In yesterday’s New York Times, Brooks Barnes adds up the twin disappointments of the trio’s low-grossing 3-D movie and low-rated TV show and asks, “Are the Jonas Brothers fizzling as a full-blown Walt Disney Company franchise?” Surprisingly, their manager and the president of their record label say no. But it’s plainly obvious that the Jonases haven’t become the money-printing, three-headed Zac Efron that we once had them pegged for. So, why not?

Is it their credibility problem? Specifically, do they have too much credibility? Their albums and tickets to their concerts are still selling reasonably well, despite the collapsed economy and the fact that nobody pays for music anymore. But Disney — a corporation accustomed to extracting Hannah Montana–sized paychecks from its teenage laborers — needs the Jonases to be a global megafranchise, not just simple pop stars, which means selling lunch boxes, movies, and TV shows.

It’s interesting that the two blemishes on the trio’s mostly spotless track record are the underwhelming receptions of Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience and JONAS, their Monkees-style Disney Channel kids’ show. While Efron and other High School Musical alums struggle to be taken more seriously, the Jonases (who play their own instruments, co-write their songs, and sing live at concerts) are in the hilarious position of having to convert fans of their music to their less serious endeavors. As Lucy Schiller, 8, tells the Times: “My friends aren’t really talking about [their TV] show … I like them as singers.”

So why haven’t today’s sensible teenagers fallen in line? We have no idea! We’re already on record as having enjoyed their last album, and find their recent failures as baffling as Miley Cyrus’s continued profitability, proving that we know nothing. By the way, have you heard their new single? We’ve embedded it below. We think it’s awesome, which probably doesn’t bode well for its success.

Boy Band Is Starting to Feel the Heat [NYT]

The Jonas Brothers: What Went Wrong?