Sunday, May 26, 2024

Was Rebel Heart Madonna’s Last Album? No Gold Record as Total Sales Came to 179,000


“Rebel Heart” may have been Madonna’s last pop album of new music. Released in March, the collection failed to catch on no matter what Madonna did for it. The total sales were 179,000, according to Nielsen. She could never get a single going from the album. All together, there were only 312,000 purchases of individual tracks from the album, like “Bitch I’m Madonna” or “Living for Love.” The album was streamed a lot on line for free– about 14 million times including video and audio from YouTube and places like that.

Madonna worked hard to promote “Rebel Heart” too. She was everywhere, and even had the calamitous fall during a promo appearance in London. She spent a week on “Ellen,” which was supposed to connect her to the young mothers audience. She also did what she could to connect to the teen crowd: she horsed around with Taylor Swift, kissed Drake on stage one TV show.

Her best moment was on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight show, which actually gave the album and the single a momentary jolt. But “Rebel Heart” never caught fire. It’s the fourth time in a row that the former chart star was unable to cause a commotion. She can’t get her very vocal fans to buy albums of new material, a problem now for most legacy pop stars.

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The next step? A duets album using her classic hits is probably being considered. One issue for Madonna is that she has few past collaborations. She’s used contemporary stars to bolster her up– like Justin Timberlake or Nicki Minaj– but Madonna really hasn’t appeared on other people’s albums. She’s an outsider in many ways, without a lot of ties to the musical community. But maybe we’ll be hearing Michael Buble on a new rendition of “Frozen.”

Madonna’s big business is still live shows. Her tour in the fall will do well, and if there’s a future tour, she can always make a record that serves as a commercial tie in. But her days of selling CDs (or whatever) are done, I’m afraid, unless she can figure out a new hook.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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