29 June - Retailer fined in France for copying Madonna song
The Virgin music retailer in France has been fined 600,000 euros (756,000 dollars) for illegally downloading a Madonna song to resell it on its own pay-per-tune site.
A Paris industrial court imposed the penalty on the company's VirginMega.fr subsidiary after finding it ignored an exclusive contract between Warner Music France and France Telecom and its mobile unit Orange by copying Madonna's song Hung Up and retailing itself in October last year.
France Telecom and Orange had bought sole rights to sell the song online for a week in France from Warner for 500,000 euros, according to the court's ruling given last Friday.
The verdict ordered VirginMega to pay 100,000 euros to Warner, and 250,000 euros each to France Telecom and Orange.
Warner Music France welcomed the result, saying it had succeeded in "having its rights and those of its artist respected".
Virgin France, though, argued that the judgement "confirmed the need to do everything to help build a balanced market for legal downloads".
It and another major French music retailer, FNAC, have criticised recent moves by recording companies to farm out top selling singles to Internet and mobile operators first under exclusive contracts.
Virgin France was bought from Britain's Virgin Group in 2001 by the French conglomerate Lagardere. (source: AFP)
28 June - Liz Smith interviews Madonna
IF there is one quality that marks my long professional relationship with Madonna, it is her matter-of-factness. She never ever beats around the bush, acts coy, promises what she cannot deliver. When I got through to her here in Manhattan, on the eve of her six-night sold-out stand at Madison Square Garden, the star said, "Liz, I'm glad to do this for you, but what more do you need to know about me? You know more about me than I do myself." I promised I wouldn't ask her more than 20 questions. She laughed, "Oh, I've heard that before!"
The funny thing is, for all the column space I have devoted to this remarkable woman, I had to be prodded to pay attention to her, back in the day. She was already a big star by the time she appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1985, but I was keeping my distance. Others then clued me into MTV, to her videos, her persona, her daring. When I spoke to Rosanna Arquette, on the eve of "Desperately Seeking Susan" being released, she claimed Madonna - who had a supporting role in the film - said to her, "Wouldn't you give anything to be me for just an hour?" Rosanna demurred, but I loved that remark. It reminded me so much of other great ego-driven stars - Streisand, Diana Ross, Mae West!
And so Madonna became a column constant. I didn't always agree with what she said, or what she did, but the hysterical over-reaction to her caused me, if not to defend her, then at least try to put a more balanced perspective on her astonishing ongoing saga - which the rest of the media kept insisting was just about to end. She gave me access and trusted my judgment. She gave me the scoop on her first pregnancy - "Liz, I'm pregnant!" she barked without preamble, all the way from Budapest, as filming began on "Evita." She was generous. When I met her face to face for the first time, at the premiere of "Truth or Dare," I was being profiled for "Prime Time Live." The producers wanted her to talk about me. I did not think this would happen. I was wrong. Madonna said, "I like Liz Smith because she has big balls, just like me!"
And, at the height of her "Sex" book/"Body of Evidence" notoriety, Madonna called from the out of the blue. "Hi, it's Madonna," getting right to the point. "I just want to say thanks for the all the support. I know you get a lot of crap because of it." I did. I still do. And I couldn't care less.
Liz: Are you happy to be back in New York, performing your shows at the Garden?
Madonna: I am always happy to be back here, because, as I've often said, this is where it began and I still consider New York home. I didn't leave Michigan and go to Hollywood. I came to New York, which was the center of the world to me then. My connection to this city and its people will always be very strong. I've had plenty of fun in this city and the audiences are always fabulous.
Liz: You say it was the center of the world "then." No longer? You prefer England?
Madonna: England is where my husband is from and I made the choice to live there with him. But the center of my world is my family. We travel back and forth and I feel privileged to be able to live in the U.S. and in Britain.
Liz: If your family is your center, why do you work so much?
Madonna: Because I love my work, too, and I have much to say and so much to do.
Liz: What's the best part about being a mother?
Madonna: Not thinking about yourself all the time.
Liz: And the worst?
Madonna: Not thinking about yourself all the time!
Liz: And marriage?
Madonna: Diane Sawyer once said that marriage is a contest of generosity and I agree but sometimes I lose and sometimes I win. But I am still in the game and this game has taught me the art of compromise and the art of diplomacy. These two qualities have served me well.
Liz: Did kaballah help you adjust?
Madonna: Having a spiritual life has forced me to be less selfish. Not that I'm serene by any means. I'm still driven by big fat ego and all my insecurities, but I manage better.
Liz: You never seem insecure, in what ways are you?
Madonna: Ha-ha. Don't get me started, I'm never good enough.
Liz: Why do you continue to provoke such controversy in your work?
Madonna: Because I want my audience to think. But I also want them to have fun. I think the two can co-exist in entertainment.
Liz: So the crucifix you are suspended on -
Madonna: Is what you make of it. If you want to be shocked, be shocked. As I've said, I don't think Jesus would be mad at me, as my message during that song is not so different than his. I want to help make the world a better place. I want to open people's eyes to the suffering that's going on in especially the children still dying of AIDS in Africa. Besides, Jesus was not the only person who died on a cross.
Liz: Are you as manipulative with your image as you are often accused of being?
Madonna: All entertainment and art is some form of manipulation. There is nothing wrong with it. The question is what is the intention? To make people laugh? To seduce people into being sheep? Or to wake people up and make them think and ask questions. The latter is obviously my game.
Liz: I heard you are doing a sequel to you enchanting children's story "The English Roses."
Madonna: The sequel is coming out in the fall. It's called "The English Roses-Too Good To Be True." My daughter and I really had a great time following up on the adventures of these five close friends.
Liz: And you're expanding into the retail world?
Madonna: Yes, another reason to go on calling me "The Material Girl!" Actually, my dancers and I just shot an ad campaign for H&M. I worked with their designers on a track suit that will be in the stores by August. It's Gaultier onstage and H&M off.
Liz: You were already around 25 when you hit really big, a grown woman, with a lot of experience. Do you think that helped you - that you didn't become a sensation at 18 or younger?
Madonna: I was hardly a grown woman at 25, but it was good to have that much time to be anonymous and learn how to survive privately. I certainly knew what I wanted by the time I was able to get it. But, I wasn't prepared, could never have been prepared for the scope of what happened to me. You might fantasize about being famous - and I did! - but never that famous. Luckily I really have managed to carve out a life for myself that is mine and mine alone.
Liz: There's a major equestrian theme in this show, yes?
Madonna: Yes, I love horses. They are the most beautiful creatures I think I may have been one of Henry the VIII's knights in another life, riding through the great forest.
Liz: What did the success of this album mean to you?
Madonna: Well, first of all - and nobody believes this when I or any artist says it - I don't write songs or record because I'm thinking "big hit!" I have to be satisfied with what I do. Not that I ever am. I mean, I'm always thinking something can be done better. But, I absolutely appreciate commercial success and it means so much if my fans, who have been devoted through thick and thin, like what I do. When this album debuted at No. 1, when it was No. 1 around the world at the same time, I opened up a bottle of champagne and I cried.
Liz: Is it true you've given up on movies?
Madonna: Actually, I'm more interested in directing at this point. I have so many tales to tell. Making movies for me was never about being a big movie star, it was about being a good actress. But it's not easy with critics going after you before the movie is even released. It's easier to be a visionary as a director.
Liz: Do you have any beauty secrets?
Madonna: Somebody told you to ask me that, right? I love it. I have no secrets. I get incredible facials. I take good care of myself. I eat healthy food. And when and if I ever decide to have plastic surgery - because I know that's the next question - I'll do it. But I won't be holding a press conference.
Liz: Hmmm ... I think I'll skip the retirement question then.
Madonna: Oh, no, please. When I was 30, it was all ... "she's 30, when is she going to quit" ... then 35, 40 ...all this speculation that once you reach a certain point you have to stop doing what you love doing. And don't you dare look good doing it, either. It's the furthest thing from my mind. I tell you what, Liz. We've known each other for a really long time. I've always admired your energy. I'll quit when you do.
Liz: Madonna, you and I will be the last girls standing at the rodeo.
Madonna: Yeah, we can ride off into the sunset together.
(source: New York Post)
26 June - Madonna dumps Aussie fans
Madonna has broken her promise and dumped Australia from her world tour plans.
The snub, confirmed yesterday, comes after Madonna vowed to include local dates if her tour reached south-east Asia.
"If I go to Japan I'll go to Australia, I promise," Madonna said in October.
Now they appear to have been hollow words used to spruik her latest album.
Madonna's Australian tour promoter Michael Gudinski said yesterday: "Australia is not under consideration for a Madonna tour. I am sure she will come back here one day.
"She likes Australia. It'll be worth the wait."
Last week, promoters had their hopes raised when Madonna confirmed she would tour in Japan in late September. That opened the possibility of outdoor shows, post-footy season, in October.
But she declined. "She knows how keen I am," Gudinski said.
"She can ring me anytime."
Madonna's rebuff does have a bright side. Her production team has now become available toinstead do U2's tour in November. (source: Sunday Telegraph)
22 June - Madonna to get bill for police escort
Musical superstar Madonna is about to learn the cost of a Montreal police escort.
Madonna is performing tonight [and yesterday] at Montreal's Bell Centre. They are her only Canadian concerts. The 47-year-old singer will be sent a bill for the motorcycle cops who escorted several black limousine SUVs on Tuesday from the airport to the swanky St. James Hotel in Old Montreal.
As admiring fans waited by the freshly laid red carpet, the American singer entered through a side service entrance.
She later exited through the front door but didn't respond to the enthusiastic screams of fans.
A TV news helicopter aired the 10-kilometre journey along city highways.
Local taxpayers will pay for police protection outside the arena, as is customary for these type of events. (source: Canadian Press)
22 June - More tickets for Miami on sale
Kicking yourself for missing out on tickets to Madonna's concerts July 22 and 23 at downtown Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena? Here's your second chance: a ''limited number'' of newly released tickets to the pop icon's Confessions Tour at all price levels ($57, $97, $167 and $352) are available now through Ticketmaster. (source: Miami Herald)
22 June - New exhibition of Marcin Kokowski, Sorry cover photographer
Marcin Kokowski, a close friend of the Mad-Eyes webmaster and also the photographer who provided us gorgeous pictures of the Drowned World Tour, Re-Invention Tour and the G.A.Y. gig is holding a new photo exhibition in his homeland Poland, entitled CONFESS YOUR SOUL. One of the highlights of this exhib will be the original picture that was used by Madonna herself for the cover of the Sorry single. other pictures on display will include snaps from the G.A.Y. performance as well as a few pictures from the Drowned World Tour. The exhibition can be viewed at Café Miedzy Nami in Warsaw, Poland from June 23rd till July 14th. The opening night on Friday the 23rd will be attended by partners MTV Poland, Machina, Fashion Magazine and Dlaczego?. The opening will be at 7pm, followed by the Express Yourself Party @ M25 Club at 10pm. There will be a contest for the best Madonna impersonator. The Confess Your Soul exhibition follows Marcin's successful exhibition at Le Madame, which was held in April 2005, displaying 20 photographs of the Re-Invention Tour.
22 June - Madonna turns down millions for sex pill ad
Pop superstar Madonna has reportedly turned down US$3.6 million to promote a new diet and sex pill.
The 'Material Girl' declined an offer put to her by a UK firm to advertise the Slimnsexy tablet, which it is claimed aids weight loss while increasing libido.
Company boss James Dixon tells British newspaper the Daily Star, "We thought it wasn't bad for 10 minutes work. But it was deemed too raunchy for her new lady-of-the-manor image. It seems basques and crucifixions are OK but talking about her sex life isn't." (source: Soundbuzz)
22 June - Madonna tickets sales thump Soul2Soul
Madonna concert tickets demand a higher price than Soul2Soul II tour tickets on the secondary ticket market. Based on ticket sales from June 1, 2006 to June 8, 2006, the average price of a sold Madonna ticket is nearly three times that of a Faith Hill/Tim McGraw concert ticket. Sales data is provided by TickCo Premium Seating, a leading provider of tickets on the secondary market in business since 1989.
"With Madonna only playing 14 North American dates, compared to Tim and Faith's 74 North American shows, I guess it's safe to assume that the principles of supply versus demand are in effect," says Kris Farmer, Director of E-Commerce at TickCo Premium Seating. Farmer also adds, "The highest price we've sold a Madonna ticket at this month is $1,400. The highest price a Soul2Soul II ticket has fetched this month is $250."
On average, Madonna concert tickets are selling at a dollar amount nearly four times greater than the average Faith Hill/Tim McGraw ticket. TickCo reports early sales data for the month of June has Madonna tickets selling at an average price of $615 each on the secondary ticket market. TickCo also reports that Soul2Soul II tickets are selling at an average of $169 each; also on the secondary ticket market during the same time period.
Farmer also states, "That's not to say you can't find Madonna tickets for $250 or even below $200 each. We've sold Madonna tickets for as little as $50 a piece this month. However, based on our sales data, on the average, people are paying much more for premium Madonna tickets than they are for Faith Hill/Tim McGraw tickets." (source: PRweb)
20 June - Get Together video online
Madonna.com is now offering a streaming version of the new Get Together video in Quicktime and Windows Media format. Contrary to earlier reports, the video for online streaming is the same as the video for TV broadcast.
20 June - Madonna cleans up her act for her dad
The singer has been shocking audiences during her Confessions tour, repeatedly using the f-word, flipping her middle finger at the crowd, reaching inside her pants, and suggesting that people perform a lewd act on President Bush. At a recent show in Chicago, however, the naughty talk was all but absent, because Madonna's father was in the audience.
"She gave the crowd the finger only one time and never once said the f-word," says a source who attended that show as well as another one earlier. "At one point, she actually asked the audience to applaud extra loud for her so that her dad would know she made something of herself. The crowd went wild." (source: MSNBC)
20 June - Madonna to stage one more concert in Prague
Prague- U.S. pop singer Madonna, who will sing in the Czech Republic for the first time in Prague's Sazka Arena on September 6, will stage one more concert at the same venue on September 7, Petr Novak from the Interkoncerts agency, organising the event, told CTK today.
Maddonna's first concert in Prague within her Confessions Tour was sold out last week in the record short time of less than two hours. The Sazka company launched the ticket sale from its terminals at non-stop petrol stations last Thursday night.
The tickets to the other concert, which cost from 3,060 to 5,010 crowns, will be sold in the same way. The Sazka terminals will open in the night to Friday at 1:15. One person can buy maximally five tickets.
Madonna is now touring the United States to promote her new recording Confessions on a Dance Floor. She will arrive in Europe in late July. Prague's concerts are her only confirmed performances in eastern Europe.
($1=22.657 crowns) (source: ceskenoviny)
17 June - Prague show sold out
One of our readers, Richard, has informed us about the ticket sale for Prague: "The Prague show sold out in one hour! Most of the tickets got sold in the first 15 minutes and the fastest tickets sold were the most expensive ones (5010 Kc)."
No second show got added (yet?).
The current tour schedule holds a total of 56 shows in 10 different countries. It is expected that a show for Moscow will still be announced (as this city is mentioned in the tour book) and that extra shows will be added during the sale for the Japanese shows.
16 June - Madonna ticket salesmen sued
A Canadian Madonna fan is suing ticket companies in Quebec for selling entrance to the pop queen's concerts at inflated prices. Regis Giguere is furious he had to pay $14.90 (GBP8.28) per ticket on top of his $95 (GBP53) entrance fee to the MATERIAL GIRL's upcoming 21 and 22 June (06) Montreal shows, which make up part of her Confessions world tour. He is appealing the return of the tacked-on costs on behalf of all ticket buyers, and hopes to secure $100 (GBP55) each in damages. The suit was filed at Quebec Superior Court in Quebec City on Wednesday (14JUN06). Giguere states ticket companies are taking advantage of their exclusive rights to sell the tickets to impose the extra fees, and claims they violate consumer protection laws. (source: ContactMusic)
16 June - Madonna out of Forbes' Top 100 Celebs
Fame is fleeting, and so is money. That's the word from Forbes magazine, which is just releasing its annual top 100 list of celebrities based on income and recognition.
The big news: Goodbye, Madonna. She was No. 8 last year, and this year she's nowhere to be found. Also off the list: Julia Roberts, Mel Gibson, Lance Armstrong, Lindsay Lohan and Will Ferrell.
But coming aboard for the first time: Dr. Phil McGraw (No. 22), Simon Cowell (No. 29), Ryan Seacrest (No. 88) and Kiefer Sutherland (No. 68).
And who's No. 1? Why, Tom Cruise, whose huge payday on "War of the Worlds" — $67 million — notched him to the top. He should enjoy this moment while he can, because the poor showing of "Mission: Impossible 3" may stick him alongside Madonna next year.
Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones were No. 2 thanks to their now stalled world tour, and Oprah Winfrey was No. 3. Rock group U2 came in at No. 4, and Tiger Woods rounded out the top 5. Steven Spielberg just missed, coming in at No. 6.
Among tabloid celeb names, there was a weird coincidence: Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie tied at No. 35, while Brad Pitt - the man they have in common - was No. 20. (source: Fox News)
~ With the highly successful Confessions Tour, Madonna should have no problem re-entering the list next year.
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