This just might be the week the music industry changes forever. Fresh on the heels of Radiohead digitally releasing their seventh album, In Rainbows, and offering fans the chance to pay whatever they want for the download, Madonna is reportedly close to leaving her long-time home, Warner Brothers, to sign with Live Nation. If you’ve been to a stadium show any time recently, you’ll probably recognize Live Nation’s name — they’re a concert-promoting business, and they’re betting $100 million on Madonna’s power as a performer (the Material Girl gets half up front). It’s a solid bet: Her tour last year grossed about $195 million. Even if she’s pushing the big Five-O, Madonna’s still money in the bank. This will make her only the latest in a long string of artists to have bucked tradition in favor of something weirder and more dynamic. We refer you to:
- The Eagles (yes, we actually just wrote the words The Eagles in a VH1 blog) are selling their new album directly to Wal-Mart.
- Not only did Starbucks release Paul McCartney’s latest, the coffee conglomerate also seduced Sonic Youth. The New York art rockers, whose contract is up with Geffen, will release Hits Are For Squares exclusively through the beanery.
- Dissatisfied with simply forgiving Third World debt and editing Vanity Fair, Bono really is writing the Broadway musical version of Spider-Man.
- Rufus Wainwright wants to be Judy Garland, and he’s hellbent on making it happen.
- Gina Gershon released an album. Crazy times!