Are Madonna and her new label home Interscope a good fit? Can she and Lady Gaga exist on the same roster? As rumored for several weeks, the Material Girl has signed with Jimmy Iovine’s label followed the end of her 25-year career on Warner Bros. (first through Seymour Stein’s Sire Records).
Today, both the New York Post and Billboard report confirmation of the deal from unnamed sources. The Post says it is a 3-album deal, the first of which will be her 2012 album. Additionally, Madonna has her already existing multi-facted pact with Live Nation that includes touring and merchandise. The deal with Interscope will be a licensing deal through her Live Nation pact.
We'll get to the five duet partners in a second, but first our thoughts on the deal.
So does this make sense? Yes and no. Madonna is so iconic, in some ways we’re surprised that she felt the need to sign another major label deal. Surely, she could self release her albums.
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Of course she could, but if you look at the legions of artists, veteran and still blooming, who release their own albums, most of them are not relying on radio play. As legendary as Ms. Ciccone is, to really sell albums (and downloads) and, most importantly, to prove her relevancy as a contemporary artist, she has to have her new songs on radio. That’s why we’re seeing her record with the likes of Nicki Minaj. And to achieve major success on pop radio, you still need to be on a major label.
Interscope is a good fit in that it has a bit of a hipness factor, mainly because of Iovine, that most of the other major labels do not. Plus, while it’s still doing very well, there was a time when Interscope ruled the charts and that time is not now. On Billboard’s year-end Top 200 album chart, Interscope only registers two of the titles in the top 20 of the 2011 best sellers: Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” at No. 3 and Eminem’s “Recovery” (which came out in 2010) at No. 13. Therefore, they would mind being the label that put Madge back on the pop map.
As we get into the new year, look for Interscope to press hard and leverage the forthcoming Super Bowl exposure. Given her increasing level of activity and 2012 tour plans, it looks like Madonna is very hungry and interscope will need to keep up.
So who are the top 5 Interscope Records artists we’d like to see her duet with?:
1) Eminem: C’mon. Wouldn’t that be fun? She apparently has been trying to work with him for quite some time, telling Rolling Stone a few years ago that she wanted to but that he didn’t want to work with her. It would either be a trainwreck or totally awesome or both.
2) Mary J. Blige: The Queen records for Geffen, which falls under Interscope. She’d have to hold back the vocals, since she can sing so strongly she could blow Madonna off the track, but if they found some fun, female anthem, these sisters could be doing it for themselves.
3) Lady Gaga: Let’s just have Madonna sing “Express Yourself” while Lady Gaga sings “Born This Way.” They’re practically the same song anyway.
4) LMFAO: This one’s crazy enough that it might just work. Just have Madonna weave some classic stuff through LMFAO’s electro pop. Genius.
5) Feist: We don’t think they’d necessary sound good together, we’d just like to hear with the highly inventive and talented Feist would come up with.
Just for fun, below is an excerpt from an interview I did earlier this year with Sire Records founder/industry legend Stein, who signed Madonna to a singles deal, and paid her an astonishingly low $17,500 advance (and he had to fight Warner Bros. to get that much).
Stein, who also signed such acts as The Ramones, The Pretenders, Talking Heads, and Ice T, summoned Madonna to his New York hospital bed as he was being treated for a heart infection. Below he recalls that beside meeting with Madonna and producer Mark Kamins, as they played him “Everybody.”
“It was her first single and she was as anxious, if not more, to be signed, to get a chance to get a shot, than I was and that struck me. It reinforced my belief that she was the right signing and that was why. Maybe if it wasn’t for that hospital meeting, maybe if I just said, “I want to sign this woman and [WB] said ‘no, you’re out of money’,” I might have let go. I don’t know. I’m so glad that she came. I remember after the meeting, they left and Mark came running back without her...He said, “What did you think about her?” I said, “Look, if it was Halloween and the shortest way for her to get where she was going was a cemetery at midnight, that’s the route she would take, she’s in a hurry. I’m so confident having met her.” It’s not the same as just listening to the music."
What do you think about her pairing with Interscope? Whom would you like to see her sing with?
In the meantime, check out this song from Madonna that Perez Hilton posted today that seems to be an outtake from "Hard Candy."
UPDATED: On Thursday, Dec. 15, Madonna confirmed the Interscope signing. The first of the three albums will come out in late March. First single, "Gimme All Your Luvin," which leaked earlier, will be released the last week in January in time for all of us to learn it before she plays the Super Bowl halftime on Feb. 5. In other Madonna news, she received a Golden Globe nomination today for her song "Masterpiece" from "W.E."