Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Madonnna partners with Live Nation

Madonna broke ranks with Warner Music and signed on with music promoter Live Nation in a "global partnership." The "partnership"--I love that word, especially when used by corporate types; they use the word in the same shallow way that I've said Americans use the word, "friend"--encompasses all of Madonna's music and music-related business including albums, touring, merchandising (hey, get your Madonna t-shirt, perfume, stainless-steal (sic) bra), fan club/website, DVDs, television and movie projects, and associated sponsorship agreements. That last bit sounds like lawyerese for, "and everything else we couldn't think of but we can make a buck off." Be prepared for lots and lots of litigation in the years to come.

Well, shit...

As I've posted and ranted about for awhile now, the paradigm has shifted (and I think that's the last time I'll use that particular phrase because Madonna's been quoted in the press as saying that. If Madonna's picked up on it, I'm packing my bags and heading further out on the fringe where it's quiet.) Musicians have to figure out other ways to get their music out there, figure out other ways to get heard.

But this isn't about music. This is about the almighty dollar. And more and more bands and entertainers are going to milk the cash cow. Why shouldn't they? Well, for one reason, it's gonna mean that things--tickets, a souvenir t-shirt, a beer, hell, a download--are just going to get more expensive. When you see the phrase, revenue stream, in an arts story, you know the somebody's selling out somewhere big time.

Madonna, though, deciphered something called branding a long time ago. She's a product and people buy it/her. I don't know who's buying, but Live Nation expects to reap $1 billion during the life of the contract.

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