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If Madonna never left Warner...


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Would MDNA never had happened? Would they demand an album in 2010 since they insisted on new music every 2.5 years, leading her to finish W.E. sooner? Would Rebel Heart be released under Madonna's original vision as a double album with the songs being similar to the demos? Would she have carried on hits instead of flopping? 

 

Discuss. 

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When Madonna left Warner it was also because Warner had changed and was about to change even more. They had let go of all the A&R (like in every record label) who manage the artists so like @Overloaded said above it would have been quite the same except for a few things. Universal pushed A LOT of in house collabs on Madonna. Many featurings would not have happenned neither would have the songs with Natalia Kills &  the cherry tree label boss (he also imposed himself on a Mylene Farmer album). 

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it probably would have caused a whole butterfly effect that would take Madonna's life and career in a different direction. Certainly different collaborators, probably no writing camp, a different approach to touring and all the merchandise.

Promo would have been significantly different and I think in the long run it would have been a safer and steadier approach for Madonna's legacy.

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Interscope purchased all those song writer demos for MDNA.

They pushed Madonna to work with 70% of the writers on Rebel Heart.

They also canned the 2 album idea for Rebel Heart because of the last minute 5-track preorder. 

 

If there was a deadline from Warner for an album out in 2011/2012, Guy still would have pushed for the Super Bowl. I’m sure the music still would have been EDM oriented.

I don’t think Warner would have allowed the 5-track pre-order for Rebel Heart. Thus allowing the 2 album concept.

I also think Warner would have wanted a better single release strategy for Madame X.


I think some things would have been different, but I can’t see any major musical differences happening.

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The Interscope years were very rough from a promotional standpoint, I have doubts that she would still be relevant even if she had stayed with Warner though. Pop music is a young persons world, its amazing that she managed to stay as relevant as she was for so long. One reason that Madonna has so many haters is because she refuses to accept becoming a legacy act and just do greatest hits tours to make loads of money. In that sense she reminds me of other creative artists like David Bowie or Prince and I admire her for not conforming to the rules. 

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1 hour ago, Prince of Darkness said:

The Interscope years were very rough from a promotional standpoint, I have doubts that she would still be relevant even if she had stayed with Warner though. Pop music is a young persons world, its amazing that she managed to stay as relevant as she was for so long. One reason that Madonna has so many haters is because she refuses to accept becoming a legacy act and just do greatest hits tours to make loads of money. In that sense she reminds me of other creative artists like David Bowie or Prince and I admire her for not conforming to the rules. 

so true.

 

she should just do what she wants.

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I was happy she left Warner after Hard Candy. Considering that is her "divorce" album, I was put off that she seem constrained in the process, from the title, the cover, shared vocals and tour. It seemed like the mindset was not as creative or maybe she was being taken advantage of considering the circumstances of the time and let others influence decisions.

With MDNA, I think maybe Love Spent would have been a single? I was so excited that Orbit was involved with this project under the new label, but I don't think it really worked out for them creatively or that it was too one sided. I do think Masterpiece is a standout song. Today when I listen to the record, it always puts me in a good mood. 

There were too many people involved with Rebel Heart. Regarding what took place with the demos leak, I wonder if Warner would have offered her better options to consider?

With MX, I really admire that she placed herself in a completely new environment and let that influence her. It seems very creative and artistic. I would have swapped Bitch I'm Loca with Ciao Bella to close the album. Maybe Warner would have had better quality control over the physical release (trackslist error). I thought the picture disc lacked creativity considering the "pride" theme.

I wish Interscope would have released more official 12"/singles. 

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As the Queen herself sings, "everything's bound to break, sooner or later" but I do believe that Warner would have kept her string of hits going for a bit longer. It all comes down to the fact that Madonna was Warner's top priority. They made sure to promote the hell out of every project and usually picked the right singles because she was the record label's biggest cash-cow (even the maligned "Hard Candy" was Warner's best-selling album of 2008). At the time, Madonna's brand wasn't really affected by ageism or the "American Life" backlash because her radio presence in the rest of the world more than made up for it.

As soon as she moved to Interscope, it seems like she was instantly put on the back burner as a "legacy act". They were merely distributors of her new material and there was no real money to be made off her (they didn't own her back catalog, so why promote her?), so naturally, their focus was on younger, more profitable rising stars such as Lady Gaga (who, curiously enough, was initially marketed as Madonna's successor). Bottom line, the Live Nation deal was a double-edged sword. She bagged $120 million dollars upfront (get money, bitch) but virtually sacrificed her long-term chart relevance in the process. You win some, you lose some.

Musically, it's harder to predict what could have been but I suspect Warner would have pushed for more Orbit songs on "MDNA" and less flavor-of-the-month DJs. I think the critical and commercial reception of her 2010s records could've been improved drastically with some quality control and better singles choices. The material was there but the final presentation / execution was often messy. She finally regained her adventurous spirit with "Madame X" but I concede that it might be just a little too left-field for the average pop listener.

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7 hours ago, slutpride said:

That asswipe hacker would have fucked up MDNA and Rebel Heart either way...

The hacker certainly fucked Rebel Heart completely up but MDNA??  Not so much.  The leak of GMAYL really didn't hurt the album.  The song still charted because of the super bowl in spite of it being bad anyway.(Good video though)

 

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2 hours ago, Prince of Darkness said:

The Interscope years were very rough from a promotional standpoint, I have doubts that she would still be relevant even if she had stayed with Warner though. Pop music is a young persons world, its amazing that she managed to stay as relevant as she was for so long. One reason that Madonna has so many haters is because she refuses to accept becoming a legacy act and just do greatest hits tours to make loads of money. In that sense she reminds me of other creative artists like David Bowie or Prince and I admire her for not conforming to the rules. 

Celebration (the song) was a top 10 in numerous European countries. Compare that to the numbers of GMAYL. It’s VERY different. Only 3 yrs apart. Whatever relationship/deal Warner had with European radio never was handed over to Interscope/Universal when Madonna joined them.

Look at how badly those singles were handled. Living For Love specifically. Withheld for several months then finally released on a Wednesday?! Who does that??

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If she had never left Warners then maybe Warners would have pushed her for more during the end of their time together. A better video for Give it to Me. A full scale video, more remixes and a better single cover for Miles Away. There would have been no need for a greatest hits album yet  but maybe after the next album we wou;ld have got Greatest Hits 3. Any single choices would have been better and better promotion.

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2 hours ago, deathproof said:

Celebration (the song) was a top 10 in numerous European countries. Compare that to the numbers of GMAYL. It’s VERY different. Only 3 yrs apart. Whatever relationship/deal Warner had with European radio never was handed over to Interscope/Universal when Madonna joined them.

Look at how badly those singles were handled. Living For Love specifically. Withheld for several months then finally released on a Wednesday?! Who does that??

Like I said, Interscope was a disaster in terms of promoting her new music as it was basically a touring contract. I wonder it might be too late to make a recovery now. But I also wonder how much longer she would have been able to keep up chart success even if she stayed with Warner although im certainly not saying it would have been impossible and at the very least we would not have seen such a sharp and sudden fall. MDNA was the start of the end of Madonna's relevance, this happened because of a combination of incompetence from her new label and how mediocre the singles themselves were, she was bored and uninspired, which reflected in how bad the album was overall. Since then, it has been an uphill battle for Madonna no matter how good the tracks she releases are.

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10 hours ago, Roland Barthes said:

Universal pushed A LOT of in house collabs on Madonna. Many featurings would not have happenned neither would have the songs with Natalia Kills &  the cherry tree label boss (he also imposed himself on a Mylene Farmer album). 

I'm sure they made them easier being under the same umbrella but pushed them? Why it's so hard to believe that Madonna works with people she likes?

Madonna discovered Natalia Kills when her dancers played "Controversy" during rehearsals. No wonder she liked her style and her, she even invited Natalia to her birthday party in 2014. Martin Kierszenbaum probably jump into the project himself or whatever, but he's a musician too.

About the Warner thing... promotion would have been handled differently, that's for sure. And I don't think we would have had 18-track albums. The first single of each album would have been an event. Imagine a 1st single with Warner with all the Super Bowl 2012 hype and promo. BUT we will never know.

Also, things were not always perfect with Warner, remember she had a lot of issues with them during the years, even legal issues with Maverick and money. And she was 51 when she left. Let's not pretend like it was going to last forever, anyway, specially in the 10s, when there was a HUGE shift in popular culture. Everything changed and she would have been affected anyway.

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One word - money ? that’s why she lefts Warner’s and I’m sure she got more money through the live nation deal 360  which combined concert and music sales - the irony being these albums ended up being her poorest sellers . I don’t know why people think the music would have been different if she stayed at Warner’s though ?

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1 minute ago, wtg1987 said:

One word - money ? that’s why she lefts Warner’s and I’m sure she got more money through the live nation deal 360  which combined concert and music sales - the irony being these albums ended up being her poorest sellers . I don’t know why people think the music would have been different if she stayed at Warner’s though ?

She still would have released the abomination that was MDNA, its just the monstrosity would have been promoted better.

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3 hours ago, deathproof said:

Whatever relationship/deal Warner had with European radio never was handed over to Interscope/Universal when Madonna joined them.

 

Warner were amazing with promo in Europe, because they had local teams in each country who would make sure the release was treated as a media mega event. Warner Germany would handle the entire promo in Germany, Warner Italy was in charge of Italy and so on, they had all the connections and knew what was the best promo channel at any given time. With Warner, every Madonna album was treated as the event of the year. Interscope had none of that knowledge to act locally.

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