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MDNA on Life Support

Material Girl flatlines: Puny sales of new Madonna album in second week dashes comeback talk

Madonna’s newest album release — why do we still call them albums? — MDNA debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. This immediately produced talk of her comeback being a smashing success, signaling a triumphant return.

So why, according to Forbes, have MDNA sales fallen a record 88 percent week-to-week, from 379,000 copies to a mere 46,000?

The answer is actually pretty simple. Madonna packaged the album with ticket sales to her upcoming tour on Ticketmaster. She was basically giving her album away to anyone who bought a ticket. These "sales" were then counted in Billboard's tally.  

Once the tour dates sold out, the number of sales stopped. 

Now to be fair, she is not the first person to offer this deal. Both Tom Petty and Bon Jovi did this to climb the charts in the past, but you would have thought the Material Girl would be above such trickeration. It’s hard on aging acts to stay relevant. The older audience wants to hear the hits from the past, and the younger generation?  Well, they just don’t care. 

Madonna will have no trouble selling-out large venues and, no doubt, put on a great show. She’s scheduled to perform four nights at Yankee Stadium in September and two nights at Toyota Center in October.

But, will this tour be enough to breathe life into MDNA, or are the days of owning the charts are behind her?

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