Madonna Is Now an Indie Artist After Interscope/UMG Contract Lapses

Madonna Interscope Deal
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Madonna Interscope Deal
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Photo Credit: MTV International / CC by 3.0

Madonna is a free agent after the expiration of her decades-long Interscope deal.

In 2011, Madonna signed a three-album deal with Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records. The release of Madame X in 2019 concludes that deal, however, and a renewal isn’t happening.  MDNA in 2012 and Rebel Heart in 2015 were also part of the Interscope tie-up.

While Madonna has been active on social media, speaking about ‘breathing that fresh COVID air,’ she’s made no mention of departing from her label. An Instagram message posted on Friday night may have been alluding to her recent status as a free agent.

“No YouTube, no Vine, no The Voice, no American Idol, no Disney. Just $35 and a dream,” the singer wrote on her origins. In the following post, she confirmed she is working on a screenplay with Diablo Cody.

Madonna got her start in 1982 with a record deal with Sire Records, which was owned by Warner Music Group. She released her self-titled debut album in 1983, and many of Madonna’s hits throughout the ’80s and ’90s were co-released by Sire and Maverick.

Maverick is an entertainment company Madonna helped found. She left in 2004 after a lawsuit between Maverick and Warner Music Group.

Madonna released several albums under the Warner Bros. label before departing in 2007. Madonna later revealed her $120 million, 10-year deal with Interscope as part of 360 deal with Live Nation. But despite the move to Interscope, her catalog and publishing remain with WMG. This has prompted some in the industry to speculate Madonna may be looking to return.

The indie/unsigned status is a strange look for the singer.

Madonna is the best-selling female artist of all time, with more than 300 million records sold worldwide. But her Madame X album debuted at the top of the charts with strong sales but quickly fell out of the top 200. Madonna’s Madame X tour was plagued with touring difficulties and canceled shows as the artist injured herself. The last few dates of the tour were canceled entirely due to the spread of coronavirus in Europe.

Since then, Madonna has attracted some controversy with her statements on Twitter, which could have impacted the Interscope deal renewal.

She made headlines when she said she had COVID antibodies and couldn’t wait to ‘breathe that COVID air.’ She also drew criticism for her comments surrounding the death of George Floyd.

Meanwhile, Madonna also has a featured appearance alongside Missy Elliot in Dua Lipa’s remixed version of her single, “Levitating.” It’ll be released later this week through Madonna’s former record label, Warner Records.

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