Hayden Panettiere

Starbux / WENN

Why are so many celebutantes/reality stars recording albums? Who the heck is telling them that's a good idea?
—Penny, Denver

Now, now. I hear the manatees living off the coast of Florida cannot get enough of Scarlett Johansson's album. They line up along Cape Canaveral and thump their stumpy flippers and take turns mooing just like ScarJo does on "Fannin Street."

If you need to blame someone for this recent spate of craptastic singer-actress albums, blame the cheap-ass music industry. More on exactly how cheap-assness has resulted in a Hayden Panettiere album after the jump.

You see, children, way back in the day, even before Miley Cyrus was a mere babe clinging to her daddy's mullet, the music industry was different. It was wealthy. And it was patient. It invested years of time, and pots of cash, in developing and supporting an artist.

Cut to 2008, and the industry is in a financial mess. It wants insta-superstars, prepackaged plastic dolls who come with a built-in audience that need no marketing. Enter the actress-slash-singer.

"These people are more commodities, merchandise," music-industry marketing consultant Jaci Rae says. They've been on TV or in movies. People already know who they are. No bazillion-dollar ad campaign necessary.

Another factor in creating singing celebutantes: overseas markets.

"Paris Hilton's CD totally died in the U.S., but in Japan it sold out like crazy," Rae says. "It was insane. They were nuts over here. Her video was all over the place. The record company isn't just looking at the U.S. market. They're looking at everything."

You ask who, exactly, tells these ladies that albums are a good idea. Look no farther than the moguls who have invested in them. Look at Disney. Disney has a solid history with Hayden, having cast her in Ice Princess and Remember the Titans and some Disney Channel movie called Tiger Cruise.

Thanks to that string of movies, Disney audiences are now very familiar with Panettiere and want to see more of her. Disney would be stupid not to oblige with as much Hayden-related product as the world can possibly stand. So, coming soon, from Hollywood Records—a Disney company—is Hayden's album.

I'll alert the manatees.

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