Entertainment column by David T. Farr. Mugshot TK.
The Material Girl is about to get a lot more materialistic.
Madonna severed ties with her longtime record label, Warner Bros., to sign a lucrative deal with Live Nation worth in excess of $120 million.
Although she isn’t the first major label artist to take this leap, it’s still huge news. Prince, Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell and Nine Inch Nails all dropped their respective labels to pursue similar paths, but you know when Madonna does it, it’s revolutionary.
Live Nation’s new venture is called Artist Nation. The new division will handle all aspects of their artists’ careers, including the recorded music, merchandise, ticketing and concert promotion, Web sites, media rights, sponsorships and marketing.
Madonna is not stupid. After all, she is the mother of reinvention. No other woman has commanded the music industry’s attention -- as well as her fans’ attention -- more than Madonna. She’s the ultimate when it comes to iconic celebrity beings.
I’ve been a lifelong fan of hers and respect her decision for joining in this partnership, even though it’s a bold step. I’m all for change, but even then, there’s a certain element of the unknown.
I shouldn’t be surprised. Madonna’s not one to make mistakes, despite what her critics might say. Somehow she always seems to come out on top.
My hope is that other aging artists see this as an opportunity to be heard instead of silenced by a select few industry execs who feel that younger artists are where the money is to be made. Singers and musicians like Prince, McCartney, Elton John, Billy Joel, Bryan Adams, Michael Jackson and so forth still have a lot of music left in them and should have the opportunity to create it.
Madonna’s impressive track record continues to grow. She has sold more than 200 million albums, had more than 70 Top 40 singles, and last year her “Confessions” tour earned an unprecedented $200 million, making it the highest-grossing concert tour of all time by a female artist.
I guess there really was something to the statement she told Dick Clark on “American Bandstand” in 1983. Clark had asked Madonna what she wanted to accomplish, and she quickly responded, “I want to rule the world.” Those were some pretty big words for a new artist back then, especially one who the critics labeled a flash in the pan.
Madonna is arguably the most successful female artist of the rock ‘n’ roll era, which is why she’s destined to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Madonna, John Mellencamp, Donna Summer, The Ventures, The Dave Clark Five, Beastie Boys, Chic and Afrika Bambaataa are all nominated, but only five will be chosen for the honor. Madonna is what the Hall of Fame is all about. She came onto the scene some 25 years ago and reshaped the face of music, creating a buzz that’s still turning heads today.
David T. Farr is a Sturgis (Mich.) Journal correspondent. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.