Madonna news - Oct. 2007


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13 October - Something to remember: Give it up, do as she says
Erotica, the singleTo 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.)


13 October - Malawi documentary: 'I Am Because We Are'
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.


13 October - Live Nation could lose money on Madonna deal
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. (source: Reuters/Billboard via Yahoo)


12 October - 25 years after her debut, Madonna still leads the way
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. (source: Blogcritics)


12 October - Madonna move shows shows music industry's 360-model
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. (source: Reuters via Yahoo)


11 October - Madonna said to be near $120M deal
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, however, retains the rights to sell and license her catalog of hits such as Like A Virgin and Music.
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. (source: AP via Yahoo)


10 October - Warner Italy: new Madonna album in February 2008
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. Click here to read the facts and rumours about the new album.


10 October - Something to remember: It's not her time to go!
Die Another Day, the videoWhile 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. ;-)


07 October - Confessions photo book by Guy Oseary
A 256-page photographic book by Guy Oseary is available at Amazon.com for pre-order, to be released on June 10th, 2008. The pictures were taken during last year's Confessions Tour.


07 October - Photos of Madonna leaving a film studio
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...


06 October - Eugene Hutz talks about 'Filth and Wisdom'
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. (source: Chart Attack)


06 October - To the beat of Madonna's drum
Hi Keith,
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?
Sincerely,
Andrew Wadium
New York, N.Y.

Hi Andrew,
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. (source: Ask Billboard)


05 October - Who's the ultimate hottie?
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!


02 October - Something to remember: She'll be your mistress tonight
Erotica, the videoToday 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...

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