Late rapper Tupac Shakur almost had a child with pop superstar Madonna, according to a new book. Madonna: Like an Icon, written by Lucy O'Brien, claims the Like a Prayer hitmaker considered starting a family with the slain rap star during a brief fling in the 90s.
O'Brien, who spoke to a handful of Madonna's alleged pals while writing the tome, says the star "desperately wanted children and had various relationships with unlikely men," reports New York Daily News.
The singer's friend Alison Clarkson recalls, "She was going out with him ... but homegirls were saying to him, 'I can't believe you're going out with a white girl - so she got dumped." The book further claims actor Martin Sheen was "petrified" of the media attention during Madonna's wedding to Sean Penn in 1985.
Pal Bill Meyers tells O'Brien, "He was flinching and jerking involuntarily ... he said it reminded him of filming Apocalypse Now. "Madonna was giving them the finger and Sean was running in the house for his shotgun."
The list of all the records submitted for the 2008 Grammy nominees was revealed today and we can find Madonna's The Confessions Tour CD/DVD among all the 158 contenders for 'Best Long Form Music Video'.
Madonna was nominated for that award several times (including an actual win for the Blond Ambition Tour in 1992), so it's quite possible that she makes into the final five. The nominees will be announced on December 6th, while the ceremony itself (which is going to be the 50th Grammy Awards) will take place on February 10th, 2008.
Keith Caulfield from Billboard answered a fan asking about Mariah Carey's absense from the Billboard Hot 100 this year and he also mentioned the lack of a Madonna entry on the Hot 100 in 2007:
If [Mariah Carey] doesn't chart this year, don't fret. She's about to be joined by Madonna in the "darn, I missed 2007" club.
Madonna has had a single somewhere on The Billboard Hot 100 every year since 1983 debut with Holiday, except in 2007. Her last single to chart on The Billboard Hot 100, Sorry, spent its last week on the chart on April 16, 2006.
Eagle-eye chart watchers are now wondering "Wait, how did Madonna have a single on the Hot 100 in 1988 and 2004, when she released no singles?"
Oh, that tricky Hot 100 chart!
Guy Ritchie has spoken for the first time about his and Madonna's adoption of Malawian baby David Banda.
The film director said the two-year-old had become "part of the family" and put paid to rumours that the upheaval caused by bringing a child into their family had put a strain on their marriage.
Ritchie, 39, said today: "We haven't talked about the adoption for ages - he's part of us.
"It was only in the first month when the adoption was going through. Since then we have all been getting on with our lives and it hasn't been mentioned. That's par for the course. He's part of the family."
Madonna has two other children, Lourdes, 10, and her and Ritchie's son, Rocco, seven.
Both are said to have fully accepted David and Lourdes has even learned to speak to him in his native language, Chichewa.
The couple are set to appear before Malawi's high court next month for a review of their 18-month temporary adoption order of David.
They expect to learn that they have won the right to formally adopt him as Malawi's chief social welfare officer Simon Chisale has written a glowing report after spending three days with the family at their Marylebone home.
But while Ritchie, whose next film RocknRolla is due out next year, insisted he and Madonna, 49, were very happily married, he did admit to not particularly liking his wife's pop hits.
He added: "To be honest, I'm not really into pop music. That's just not my scene - I'm more into Irish folk songs.
"I'm sorry if everyone is shocked I'm not into her music."
The album has a tentative release date, set to March 11th.
The working title is 'Connextion', but that will probably change for the final release date.
It currently contains 12 tracks.
Leaked track The Beat Goes On is actually the finished product for the album.
There's a ballad similar to Promise To Try, but is more about rebirth than death.
There is another song with a strong techno 'thump' with just Madonna singing, no other musical sound and it works pretty well, almost haunting and stays with you.
Madonna's leap from Warner Records - her record label for 25 years - to Live Nation, the tour promoter, for $120 million. This shocked the music industry.
Warner Records certainly still wanted the pop legend, even though her record sales in the United States aren't quite what they once were. Her tours take in a fortune, and in Europe her CDs sell like the good old days.
Why leave home? Because... she's Madonna. She'll be 50 in August; her Live Nation deal is for 10 years. Clearly, she expects to remain creative, popular and relevant in the new world of downloads, iPods and "free" music (not to mention keeping herself physically up to the concert grind).
Safe and comfy has never been the Big M's way. She is riding the tsunami of change, as usual. But the wave won't hit for a little while. She still owes her old Warner bosses two albums.
In the new issue of People Magazine, Timbaland's right hand Nate "Danja" Hills previewed his production on upcoming releases, including Madonna's new album, which he described as: "The songs are crazy. It's harder with a hip-hop influence but you can still dance to it."
Danja recently scored high with Britney's new single 'Gimme More' and he's currently producing several other artists too, meaning that the Timbaland-Danja sound is going to be prominent in 2008 as well. You can check out a scan of the article here.
Finally, we reach the main event of our 1992 celebration: on October 20th, 1992, the long-awaited and infamous Erotica album was released (the first Madonna album released under Maverick). After Madonna's accessible pop melodies of the 80s, this album was a big change into a mix of cold house grooves, hip hop beats and jazzy instruments. Mainly produced by longtime collaborator Shep Pettibone (with a few songs by Andre Betts, but none of those were released as singles), the album divided fans and critics.
Some call it a masterpiece up to today, yet others dislike the overuse of Shep's signature house beats (first introduced to Madonna fans in Vogue) on almost every song, the album's unusually large share of fillers, and the unconventional length of the record.
Because of those reasons and the huge backslash during that era, many people did not even pay attention at the music, Erotica became a commerical disappointment with only selling 2 million in the US (with missing the top spot of the album chart, debuting at #2 behind the unstoppable Garth Brooks) and approximately 5 million worldwide, but it spawned several acclaimed videos and six singles in total.
The highlights of the album include the gorgeous ballad Rain, the steamy Where Life Begins and the jazzy, drum'n'bass inspired Secret Garden. While the record could not gain a big impact and it fell down the charts quickly (compared to Madonna's previous efforts), slowly it gained some attention by fans and criticts after the hype calmed down. Click here to read a revisited review by Slant Magazine.
A day after the arrival of the CD, the notorious coffee table book with Madonna's nude pix and fantasies, 'SEX' was released, and while it was a huge success in just a few days, it led Madonna's career into a period suffering from a huge backslash with losing many fans, and she couldn't start gaining them back until two years after...
Fresh from stealing Madonna from Warner Music Group, concert promoter Live Nation is in advanced talks to acquire the Material Girl's merchandising company, Signatures Network, The Post has learned.
A deal for Signatures Network, which holds the rights to license and market more than 125 artists including U2, Kanye West and Bruce Springsteen, is expected to be announced in the next two weeks, according to four sources close to the situation.
Live Nation is paying around $50 million for Signatures Network, these sources said, with one of them adding that the merchandising company generates about $120 million in annual revenue but operates with very small profit margins.
A spokesman for Live Nation declined to comment. Signatures Network CEO Dell Furano did not return a call for comment.
Live Nation has been quietly gobbling up ancillary businesses related to the concert industry as a way to extend its reach and diversify its revenue stream.
Earlier this year the company acquired the remaining stake in high-end concert T-shirt merchandiser Trunk it didn't already own.
Last month it acquired the 50 percent portion of UltraStar it did not own. UltraStar runs the official artist Web sites for Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Police and others.
Live Nation also recently bought fan club ticketing service Musictoday and merchandising company Ant Hill Trading.
Signatures Network is bigger than all of those assets combined, however, with sources saying that the $50 million Live Nation is shelling out for the company is twice what it paid for the others.
Though it has focused solely on tour merchandising in the past, sources said Signatures Network was now looking to strike all-encompassing rights deals that would also include things like fragrances and accessories in addition to tour-related merchandise.
Mariah Carey has postponed the release of her new album, previously scheduled for Dec. 4, until next February.
At that rate, the album, a follow-up to "The Emancipation of Mimi," will be bumping right into a new CD from Madonna. At the same time, Janet Jackson — now recording for Island/Def Jam, home of Mariah — may have her new release ready, too.
Get set for Diva Logjam. And to make matters even more interesting, Janet's boyfriend, Jermaine Dupri, is the producer working with Randy Jackson and others on Mariah's CD. Dupri brought Jackson over to Island/Def Jam with him from Virgin Records, now lost somewhere in the EMI Music shuffle.
As for Madonna, I have to say I admire the spin going on at Warner Music Group now that the Material Girl is leaving them for a $120 million payday at Live Nation.
WMG, barely in existence, is crowing that they lose nothing by bidding adieu to Madonna. How totally wrong they are. Madonna was very important to them even in a figurative sense. In a real sense, Madonna could easily still have a monster hit.
If she's smart, Madonna will save her best stuff for her first Live Nation release, and give WMG outtakes and miscellany to fulfill her contract with them. They don't deserve a new album of material. My guess is Madonna is not the last artist who will exit WMG, but there aren't so many left: just Eric Clapton, Faith Hill and Linkin Park. They are all left over from the old Warner Music.
Dupri, by the way, has a book out. Yes, he's old enough to have written a memoir. It's called "Young, Rich and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul." Dupri dishes on all the dames, and not only that: his dad, Michael Mauldin, discovered Alicia Keys!
No doubt, losing Madonna to Live Nation in what's quickly become regarded as a historic deal (worth a reported $120 million), was a huge blow to Warner Bros. Records, her home for the last 25 years. However, while the financial terms were, for the most part, unmatchable, don't think the label brass is necessarily quaking in the aftershock.
For one thing, they had a long time to contemplate the possibility. A source tells Hollywood Insider that negotiations went back and forth for almost six months, during which Live Nation was neither the only bidder, nor the highest. Still, Warners ''knew it was kind of leading to that," says the source.
When the news finally broke internally, Warners' staffers had just commenced three days of corporate meetings in their Burbank headquarters. Surprisingly, the vibe was optimistic. "They stopped for one second, and kept going," says an insider who was present.
"It was actually sort of comforting because business went on — talking about new talent, all these releases coming out, focusing on the 360 deals... It was like, yes, Madonna was, and will be for a while longer, a hugely important artist for the company, but she's not the only artist."
Meanwhile, on a conference call with Wall Street analysts yesterday, Live Nation CEO Mike Rapino revealed that it would be at least two years - and more realistically, three years - before they release Madonna's first studio album, and a tour is likely "within the next 24 months."
On Warners' end, publicist Liz Rosenberg says that the 49 year-old icon's next record (which may feature songs from recent studio sessions with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake) could drop in March 2008, with yet another greatest hits package slated for later next year or early 2009.
Rosenberg adds: "We intend to work our asses off to make them both huge successes."
With shares of one-time tune titan Warner Music Group (WMG) down nearly 60% in the last year, it's hard to argue that the music industry isn't in "Dire Straits".
In fact, one of the very few bright spots is live performance. For example, North American concert sales jumped 16% last year to a record $3.6 billion, according to trade publication Pollstar.
And recently, Madonna inked a deal with concert promoter Live Nation (LYV) which is reportedly worth $125 million. Is the Material Girl's landmark 10-year agreement the wave of the future?
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino joins the conversation. Following are excerpts.
How does the Madonna deal work?
"We have 10 years to maximize all of her revenues from T-shirts, to concerts and films and downloads," says Rapino. "And through all of that we distribute our profits."
In other words you basically pay Madonna $12.5 million every year and then you own that content, explains Dylan Ratigan. Is that right?
"Basically," he replies.
Can you generate a revenue stream similar to the one lost in CD sales?
"We believe that the internet is the live concert promoters best friend although it might have crippled the record label business," Rapino replies. "The live business (is) connected to the fan, directly, which enables us to sell singles and downloads and everything the consumer wants…"
Is your model to eliminate the role of the label?
"Absolutely, the concert is now moving to the center of the circle for the artist," says Rapino. "The artist is now looking for the live show and everything that can be done around the live show."
Will you start a bidding war or will Time Warner (and similar companies) just get out of the music business entirely?
"I think we're going to start a bidding war over artists who sell a lot of concert tickets." says Rapino.
He adds, "And if you (already) sell a lot of concert tickets we're (probably) your biggest partner already, and we're going to help you sell more."
Can you afford to pay other artists what you're paying Madonna?
"I don't think the roster has to be all that big in our business. There are 5 or 6 artists that sell a lot of concert tickets and we'd like to be deeper involved with them."
Who are these other artists?
"Dave Matthews, Tim McGraw. U2, The Rolling Stones – there are a lot of artists selling out stadiums around the world that we work with regularly. And end up making most of our money with those artists. And we think we can be deeper partners with them," explains Rapino.
Is it your ambition to lock up the live concert business and then exploit that into a digital business?
"We believe that the Madonna fan who is buying a $200 concert ticket is in our data base and we have a direct relationship with them," says Rapino. "We think we can sell them a 99 cent download, or a $14 dollar T-shirt. The ticket is now the center of the transaction."
But aren't your artists kind of old?
"We believe there's a whole new roster that we'll move into," replies Rapino. "But today we've seen artists who have extended their (professional) lives into their… Frank Sinatra sold out shows into his ‘80's!"
Dylan Ratigan asks the panel with they think of this stock?
Guy Adami thinks concerts are "Where it's at!" Pete Najarian says he's concerned because of the age of the artists Live Nation is pursuing.
Madonna wrote several songs with Rick Nowels for the Ray Of Light album, but some of them did not make the actual CD. 'Alone Again' was reportedly given away to Kylie Minogue in 2001 to be included in her Fever album, but those plans did not materialize.
Now, in Kylie's new documentary White Diamond, the Kylie version surfaced, plus she also gave a special thank you to Madonna in the credits.
"We congratulate Madonna on her future plans. She is one of the most remarkable artists of our time. We are excited to issue her upcoming album next year. We are also honored to own her catalog of recordings from the past 25 years, as well as to manage her library of songs for an extended period of time. From all of us at Warner Music Group, we thank Madonna for a valued and enduring partnership."
~ This means that every Madonna related song from the past 25 years is still owned by Warner. As for the long-awaited Re-Invention Tour DVD, fans speculate that Warner probably owns it too (because it appeared on release schedules in the past) so it's a matter of time whether they finally decide to release it...
Live Nation held a conference call today to discuss the groundbreaking partnership with Madonna and Artist Nation Division (you can stream it here) and they revealed some interesting details: there will be a new Madonna tour in 2 years; the first new album under Live Nation would be released within 2 or 3 years maximum; and they expect her to tour 4 times in the next 10 years!
They also said that Madonna usually tours a year after the release of an album (2001, 2004, 2006), but we'd like to believe that Live Nation does not want to miss the chance of Madonna touring in the year celebrating her 50th birthday and her 25 years in music business... ;-)
Live Nation's President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Rapino officially confirmed today that Madonna has entered into an unprecedented global partnership with Live Nation and will become the founding artist in its Artist Nation division.
"The paradigm in the music business has shifted and as an artist and a business woman, I have to move with that shift," commented Madonna. "For the first time in my career, the way that my music can reach my fans is unlimited.
I've never wanted to think in a limited way and with this new partnership, the possibilities are endless. Who knows how my albums will be distributed in the future? That's what's exciting about this deal -- everything is possible. Live Nation has offered me a true partnership and after 25 years in the business, I feel that I deserve that."
"Madonna is a true icon and maverick as an artist and in business," stated Mr. Rapino. "Our partnership is a defining moment in music history. I am thrilled that Madonna, who is also now a shareholder in our company, has joined with us to create a new business model for our industry.
Bringing all the varied elements of Madonna's stunning music career into the Artist Nation and Live Nation family, moves her future and the future of our company into a unique and extraordinary place."
The first-of-its-kind partnership between Madonna and Live Nation encompasses all of Madonna's future music and music-related businesses, including the exploitation of the Madonna brand, new studio albums, touring, merchandising, fan club/web site, DVD's, music-related television and film projects and associated sponsorship agreements. This unique new business model will address all of Madonna's music ventures as a total entity for the first time in her career.
Arthur Fogel, Chairman of Live Nation's Global Music Division and Chief Executive Officer of Global Touring, who has produced the artist's last three worldwide tours with the company which generated close to $500 million in the last six years commented, "Madonna is without a doubt one of the most fiercely original artists in history. It is a great opportunity for Live Nation and Artist Nation to build upon our years of success with Madonna as a touring artist."
Artist Nation was created to partner with artists to manage their diverse rights, grow their fan bases and provide a direct connection to fans through the global distribution platform and marketing proficiencies that have made Live Nation the world's largest live music company. Headed by the division's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Cohl, Artist Nation has significant infrastructure in place to execute additional revenue streams including recorded music, merchandise, studios, media rights, digital rights, fan club/website and sponsorship divisions.
Joining with Artist Nation to work with Madonna will be Live Nation's unmatched global distribution platform and artist-to-fan-reach, including over 80 offices in 18 countries, over 200 national and local sponsorship personnel, over 160 venues, access to over 35 million fans that attend well over 10,000 shows that Live Nation produces, promotes and/or hosts each year for over 1,000 artists including fan access via Live Nation's growing database of over 25 million fans.
"I've been fortunate enough to work with Madonna for half my life. She has always encouraged me and set a great example for me to push the boundaries to reach our full potential. This partnership exemplifies just that," commented Madonna's co-manager Guy Oseary.
Angela Becker, Madonna's co-manager added, "The partnership and vision for the future that Artist Nation along with Live Nation presented to us assured me that this is the ideal home for Madonna. It is with great trust and optimism that we collectively move ahead together."
In regard to Madonna's relationship with her current label, the artist commented, "My time with Warner Bros. Records has been great. I appreciate their hard work and value the many relationships I have developed over the years with the label in the U.S. and around the world. I have an album coming out with them next year and I'm excited about it. We still have work to do together."
The multi-Grammy Award winning artist, songwriter, children's book author, producer and video visionary with an unrivaled reputation for astonishing stage spectacles, has made music history many times over, logging an incredible 12 number one pop singles and 35 number one dance singles in the U.S. alone. Her 2006 Confessions Tour generated almost $200 million, making it the highest grossing concert tour of all time by a female artist.
Over the last 25 years, Madonna's collective record sales number over 200 million albums worldwide. Her last album, Confessions On A Dance Floor debuted at number one in 29 countries and sold almost 8 million copies worldwide. Her last concert DVD The Confessions Tour -- Live from London, sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide.
Live Nation is the future of the music business. With the most live concerts, music venues and festivals in the world and the most comprehensive concert search engine on the web, Live Nation is revolutionizing the music industry: onstage and online.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Live Nation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol "LYV." Additional information about the company can be found at http://www.livenation.com under the "About Us" section.
~ The Mad-Eyes team would like to congratulate Madonna for her new contract and thank her for still making music after 25 years! ;-)
Click here to read a press release of the Live Earth CD/DVD, to be released on November 20th. Madonna opens the CD with the official anthem of the event, Hey You, and she closes the double DVD set with La Isla Bonita, featuring Gogol Bordello.
Lourdes, Madonna's daughter turned 11 on Sunday and she was spotted with Madonna in LA (who flew there from NYC):
Madonna pampers birthday girl daughter Lourdes with a six-hour spa treatment at the Shutters Hotel Spa in Santa Monica on Sunday.
Lourdes celebrated her 11th birthday with her mom best friend. Afterwards, the trio dined at the laid-back family restaurant "Il Ristorante de Georgio Baldi." Notice how the mother-daughter duo is wearing ‘matching' houndstooth jackets!
Happy birthday to the lovely Lourdes!
To continue our celebration of 1992, today we have to look at this week's Billboard chart from 1992, where the Erotica single made its first appearance. It was Madonna's highest debut so far, bowing in at #13 on the Hot 100.
This huge start was aided by Madonna's unprecedented entry at the Hot 100 Airplay: it entered that chart at an incredible #2, showing that when the single was out, every radio station jumped on it as the first single of the upcoming hyped up Madonna project, even though the track with being mostly spoken and with containing explicit lyrics, is far from being radio friendly.
Under today's early radio adds and online leaks, this chart record is considered almost unbeatable. It seemed that Madonna was on to grab another #1, but the single only jumped to #3 on the Hot 100 (with staying at #2 on Hot 100 airplay again and peaking at #4 on Hot 100 Singles Sales).
After that, the track began a quick fall, which can be attributed to either the backslash of the whole era and the media saturation by Madonna, or to the actual qualities of the single itself, not being able to click with audiences (since it's far from the accessible pop Madonna was releasing before, coming along with a disturbing video).
On the positive side, it reached #1 on the Hot Dance / Club Play chart (thanks to the remixes by Masters At Work & William Orbit) and was eventually certified Gold. It didn't manage to reach #1 in other countries either and unfortunately it paved the way for other underperforming singles of the era... (5 years ago this week, Die Another Day debuted on the Hot 100 at #41.)
Rosie O'Donnell's blog revealed the title of Madonna's documentary about the state of the children in Malawi, named 'I Am Because We Are'.
The film supposedly had an unexpected debut at the Ilana Goor Museum in Old Jaffa, Israel. There's also a website already registered for the documentary: www.iambecauseweare.com.
If Madonna leaves Warner Bros. for an all-encompassing $120 million deal with Live Nation -- as the Wall Street Journal reported this week -- the concert promoter will struggle to make money on the deal, according to a Billboard analysis of the numbers.
The 10-year deal reportedly includes: $50 million in cash and stock for the right to promote Madonna's concert tours; a signing bonus of $17.5 million; and advances totaling $50 million-$60 million for three albums.
The deal is virtually unprecedented, likely driven by touring potential, but sources say it doesn't obligate her to tour. Last year, Madonna was second only to the Rolling Stones in gross touring dollars, taking in nearly $200 million at the worldwide box office and playing to more than 1.2 million people in just 60 shows.
Of course, gross is not net. A tour with high overhead like Madonna's might net only $50 million-$70 million on a $200 million gross, according to industry estimates. According to the Wall Street Journal, Madonna would keep 90% of touring revenue, 70% of merchandise revenue and 50% of licensing sales.
So, given these parameters, on a given tour cycle, Live Nation could theoretically be looking at $5 million-$7 million from ticket sales and maybe $6.5 million-$7 million from merchandising. Madonna has done three tours in the past 10 years. With three tours over the next 10 years, sans licensing and label revenue, Live Nation could earn an estimated $42 million; this is a conservative estimate that doesn't include potential ticketing, fan club and sponsorship revenue.
Things are dicier on the recorded-music side. The 49-year-old pop singer sold about 20 million copies worldwide of her last three studio albums, according to sources. Her last album, Confessions On A Dance Floor (2005), sold 1.6 million units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and sold 7 million units worldwide.
With 20 million albums sold -- and then, adding in new revenue streams of ringtones, subscriptions and whatever revenue comes down the pike from ad-supported sites -- a traditional record label could get into striking distance of the generous advance paid by Live Nation.
If Madonna maintains her recent level of sales, a traditional record label probably could make a blended profit of about $3 per record, yielding $60 million in pre-tax profits, after marketing, distribution and royalty payments -- not enough to match the advance. But Live Nation is not a record label, doesn't have a label infrastructure, and is gambling that Madonna can maintain the same level of sales.
If Live Nation licensed the album worldwide, Billboard estimates it could earn between $84.5 million-$98.5 million in revenue -- not enough to make a profit -- yielding a total revenue in the $126.5 million-$140.5 million range.
The tipping point for profitability could be Live Nation's ability to exploit Madonna's branding. Madonna's H&M fashion line, for example, is believed to have earned more than $20 million-plus in its first year. Live Nation could benefit substantially from future such deals.
The deal had not been confirmed by Friday evening, and Live Nation officials could be reached for comment.
The past couple of weeks have been really difficult for Madonna bashers. First, she garnered a nomination into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which earned an angry condemnation from some. Now, Madonna’s near signing of a $120 million dollar deal from Live Nation has rocked the industry.
Some, like myself, believe this can end up to be the most significant music industry related event of the past twenty years. Yet, her critics are still trying to tell us how "irrelevant" she is, not realizing an artist 25 years into her career has never been given this type of deal before.
While there certainly is a lot to criticize about Madonna’s likely deal, many bloggers have decided to criticize her hands, her age (something that is rarely seen among her male counterparts), her "baby buying," her British accent, etc. It reminds me of when I was in Junior High school and everybody hated the smartest kid in the class because in reality, they were jealous of his success.
Perhaps a legitimate criticism of Madonna’s deal comes from Michael Savner – of Bank of America – who believes that Madonna simply cannot generate the revenue to make such a deal worthy. Her albums still sell well worldwide, but record sales are becoming close to non-existent. Madonna, like other artists, will need to capitalize on her touring success as much as possible.
Madonna’s most recent tour, The Confessions Tour, is the highest grossing tour ever by a female artist. Fans had no problem paying the crazy $350-$400 ticket prices for some of the better seats. But will they be willing to do this every two years?
More importantly, will Madonna still be able to deliver the phenomenal concert experience she has on her two previous tours? Whether her critics are ageist or not, jumping all over the place and doing flip flops can be pretty difficult for someone in their 50s. Madonna has always been an over-achiever and I hope she doesn’t over achieve herself into an Arthritis Rehab Center.
Even if Live Nation doesn’t recoup the money they invested, music fans should be thrilled at this announcement. Major labels, such as Warner Brothers, have controlled artists in ways that aren’t always positive. Look at how much better off Prince has been since he left Warner Brothers!
For years, Madonna fans have been arguing that Warner Brothers has not given her the control she deserves: the wrong singles have been chosen on many of her albums; there has not been much promotion going on – in the United States, at least; and her own label sued her three years ago. Warner Brothers has become a sinking ship and Madonna is jumping off at the right time.
We are moving into a new era where the music will be controlled by artists, not record labels. Radio is becoming increasingly irrelevant because music fans don’t want to be told by a couple radio programmers – who likely decide on airplay based on compensation from major labels – what they should be listening to. I hope Madonna’s move from Warner Brothers encourages other artists to ditch major labels. Then, like Warner Brothers, all the labels will sink into irrelevancy.
Madonna's possible move from her long-time record label Warner Brothers to concert promoter Live Nation Inc underscores how shrinking music sales are turning former partners into competitors.
Traditionally, music companies like Madonna's Warner Music Group have focused on recording music and managing publishing rights, while relying on companies like Live Nation and AEG to arrange concert tours and manage artists.
But the rise of digital music and the collapse of CD sales has forced all industry players to review their business models and negotiate wide-ranging contracts with artists to boost sales and profit margins.
Madonna is close to sealing a $120 million, 10-year contract with Live Nation, said a source familiar with talks.
The news, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, said the 49-year-old queen of pop will receive a mix of cash and stocks. In return, Live Nation will distribute three studio albums, promote concert tours, sell merchandise and license her name.
Music analysts said Madonna will be a boost to Live Nation's attempts to expand beyond concert promotion and get a share of CD and digital music sales.
The Beverly Hills company may not recoup the $120 million contract, say music insiders who questioned Madonna's star power a decade from now. But she can lend credibility to Live Nation as a full-service music company.
"It's an optimistic message to other artists that 'we want you'," said one music label executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They believe digital music is going to grow exponentially and they want a piece."
As for Warner Music, its management declined to sign such a broad deal with Madonna because they felt the financial terms were too steep, said the source familiar with the talks.
Wall Street seemed to agree with Warner's decision. Warner Music shares were mostly stable until the broader market downturn pushed the stock to close down 1.42 percent at $11.13. Live Nation shares ended down 3.72 percent at $22.49.
"There is clearly headline risk associated with a Madonna defection," Bank of America analyst Michael Savner wrote in a note to clients. "However, the bigger risk would be to overpay for an artist that does not seem to be generating the revenue to support the contract," he said.
Madonna is one of several marquee artists who have renegotiated their relationships with record companies in recent years. One reason is labels are losing some of the leverage they once had as recorded music sales shrink.
While digital music sales have risen more than 50 percent this year, that was not enough to make up for a 20 percent decline in CD sales, according to Nielsen/SoundScan data.
This June, maverick pop star and former Warner artist Prince gave away copies of his Planet Earth CD as part of a promotion with a British tabloid newspaper and also to fans who attended his 21-show concert at London's O2 arena.
This week, Radiohead, now out of contract with EMI Group, started allowing fans to name their own price on its latest album download.
Live Nation has declined to comment on the possible deal with Madonna. It has previously stated ambitions to get a wider share of the music business, such as selling tickets directly rather than through partners like IAC/InterActiveCorp's Ticketmaster.
Some analysts are skeptical of the benefits of the Madonna deal. "Despite potential merits of linking with the pop icon, we see risks for concert promotion giant wading into uncharted territory," said Tuna Amobi, equity analyst at Standard & Poor's in a note to clients.
Madonna intends to sign a $120 million recording and touring deal with live entertainment promoter Live Nation Inc. and leave her longtime record label at Warner Music Group Corp., a person familiar with the contract negotiations said Wednesday.
The pop superstar's management informed Warner last week that she would accept Live Nation's offer after the record company refused to match the deal, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the matter.
Under terms of the proposed deal, Madonna, 49, would receive a signing bonus of about $18 million and a roughly $17 million advance for each of three albums, the person said. A portion of the compensation would involve stock, the person said.
Madonna could also benefit significantly from the touring component of the deal, which gives Live Nation the exclusive right to promote her tours, the person said.
In a bid to compete with the Live Nation offer, Warner pursued a possible partnership with ticket retailer Ticketmaster, a unit of IAC/InterActiveCorp, that would have enabled the record company to offer a spectrum of touring services to Madonna, the person said.
Warner Music and Live Nation declined to comment. A call to Madonna's publicist was not immediately returned.
The proposed 10-year agreement would give Live Nation the rights to sell Madonna merchandise and license her name, and any revenue from such products would be split between the singer and the company, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the deal.
Live Nation also would have to pay $50 million in cash and stock to promote Madonna's tours, according to the Journal, which broke news of the deal on its Web site Wednesday afternoon.
The agreement would be in line with similar deals other artists have struck with labels in recent years that give record companies a stake in their artists beyond the sale of recordings.
Live Nation, which promotes and produces music shows, theatrical performances and other live events worldwide, has been looking to expand beyond its core businesses to offer artists services such as direct merchandising and exclusive ticket sales. Its Artist Nation division sells tickets and artist merchandise online.
Warner has also set out to strike deals with artists and other music industry players in a bid to garner a share of revenue from other segments of the music industry, such as merchandising and touring. Those segments are faring better than recorded music sales.
Madonna first signed with Warner Music Group subsidiary Warner Bros. Records in 1984. Her last contract with the New York-based company calls for her to deliver one more studio album, expected next year, and a greatest hits record.
The singer has been among Warner Music's best-selling artists for years and arguably remains pop music royalty. Losing the rights to release her new recordings could prove to be a significant blow to the company's bottom line.
Warner shares rose 11 cents to $11.29 Wednesday. Shares of Live Nation fell 32 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $23.36, then gained 64 cents in after-hours trading.
Fansite MadonnaTribe reports that Massimo Guiliano, in charge of Warner Music Italy told music magazine Musica & Dischi that Madonna's next album is tentatively scheduled for February 2008.
This is the first time ever that Warner says something that exact about the upcoming record.
While we're celebrating the events of 1992, today let's look at something from a decade later. On October 10th, 2002, more than one and half a year after her previous one, a brand new Madonna video premiered, Die Another Day, set to the theme song of the 20th James Bond movie with the same name.
The video, directed by Swedish team Traktor features a bruised Madonna being interrogated by Koreans while in her mind her "good" and "evil" alteregos battle in a room that looks like a James Bond museum with various items from the popular film series. At the end of the video "good" Madonna kills "evil" Madonna and she escapes from the electric chair, as it's "not my time to go". The video premiered on MTV as part of "Making The Video" and it became an instant smash hit, with earning a Grammy nomination for Best Short Form Music Video, and it is also considered as one of her last "big" video efforts, being a favourite of many.
The track later hit the top 10 in the charts all around the world, eventually becoming one of the most successful Bond tunes ever. I (Dani) consider the video premiere a very special occasion, because it was the first ever Madonna event that I actually experienced live, and she did not disappoint. ;-)
In this dead news period, MadonnaDownload.com offers a few pictures of Madonna leaving a film studio on Thursday night, together with Dan Cadan, who's working with her on 'Filth & Wisdom'. It makes us wonder if Madonna's current top priority is the movie, and not her music...
For anyone who managed to squeeze into Gogol Bordello's legendary set at Toronto's Drake Hotel in early 2006, seeing frontman Eugene Hutz and violinist Sergey Ryabtsev on London, England's Wembley Stadium stage with Madonna for the Live Earth concert was surreal, to say the least. It turns out that Madonna is a pretty big fan of the group, so much so that she invited Hutz to star in her directorial debut — a film called Filth And Wisdom.
You did a short film with Madonna?
Yeah! We just finished.
Did you do it in New York, or was it in London?
No, it was in London.
How did you get hooked up with that? What's it all about?
We just had some mutual friends. And I've heard for a while that she was a big fan of Gogol Bordello and of my acting efforts. At one point we were talking, she just called me, and we're talking more and more and eventually arriving to an idea that she was arriving to her perfectly super-fun offer to do a lead role in her directing debut. It was really fun. It was very much of a collaboration, and eventually the whole band was in the movie — playing Gogol Bordello playing itself. And when she asked me, "So how do you feel about dressing up as a woman?" I knew it was going to be fun. Still, I didn't know it was going to be that much fun.
How was she as a director?
You know, I think she's really good. For directors, you can always tell. You can always define the power of a director by how specific they get. And she was incredibly specific. Not necessarily with me, because I basically operate by doing my own thing. By inviting me, it's pretty much…
You get what you pay for.
Yeah and, I mean, of course there was things that she needed from me as a director. We just had a perfect communication about that. And I think it's going to be a pretty fun — a pretty fucking fun bonanza — when you see it.
It's like a 30-minute thing, and it'll be out at the end of next year.
Yeah, I think it's going to be much sooner than that. She's a real, real dynamo. It was amazing to see how she works. She is actually that girl that makes it all go around. You know what I mean? So as much of her worldwide-known show business enterprise that goes along with her name, you know, the person who's actually in the centre of it all, that's making it all happening, is her. I was super-impressed with that.
It has been reported that a new R&B-based Madonna record would drop sometime in November, but it appears everything has been pushed back. I've heard both (of Madonna's recently leaked tracks) The Beat Goes On and Candy Shop and they both sound like radio winners.
Do you know why Warner Bros. or Madonna's camp may have postponed (the album's release)? Is it possible that they are reconsidering the Justin Timberlake tracks (that he worked on with Madonna for the forthcoming album) since he is now seemingly on every single that comes out? (I love the guy but enough already.) Is Madonna going to move on to another greatest hits package or a greatest remixes album instead?
Finally, does she have any plans to tour next summer while the kids are on summer vacation?
New York, N.Y.
Even though everyone thinks that Madonna's forthcoming album was supposed to come out on a certain date, she, nor her record label, have ever publicly said when it was going to be released. And they still haven't. As far as we know, Madonna is still working on the new album, which does not have a release date yet.
I personally disagree with your assessment of the radio-friendliness of the leaked tunes The Beat Goes On and Candy Shop. While I can admire some aspects of the former, the latter is simply not something that I think would work on the radio.
It is curious how the two leaked tracks were produced by Pharrell, yet, none of the songs she has worked on with Justin Timberlake or Timbaland have leaked. No word on any supposed retrospectives either. It's all quiet on the Madonna front right now. Though, as with all things, plans change. Madonna could suddenly surprise everyone and drop a single on us next week.
Entertainment Weekly is hosting a poll about the ultimate hottie of the 70s/80s. Don't miss the chance to support Madonna, and vote for Madge here among the 25 top beauties of the seventies and eighties!
Today we start a string of items celebrating the 15th anniversary of the most controversial Madonna period ever, the 'Erotica Era'. Just a week after exposing her breasts at a Jean-Paul Gaultier fashion show, the first product of the multimedia Madonna sex-assault was released on October 2nd, 1992: the music video of Erotica.
Directed by photographer Fabien Baron, the video itself is actually a moving version of Madonna's then-upcoming book, Madonna posing for various sex scenes with people like Naomi Campbell, Vanilla Ice, Udo Kier, Ingrid Casares and Tony Ward. The video also features Madonna performing the song in a black mask and a dominatrix outfit, portraying her alterego Dita with sporting the infamous gold tooth.
Two years after Justify My Love, this video was also banned from MTV for being too explicit, but channels did show it a few times in the US after midnight. The video - which has not been released commercially so far - was the first event of the era where fans and critics were caught up in the hype instead of focusing on the new music by Madonna, something which would be usual throughout most of the era...↑ Back to top of page