Thursday, September 23, 2004

LIKE A VIRGIN; MAKE A MILLION: we've really missed our calling - clearly, the money is in knocking out half-assed management books, for which there seems to be an insatiable demand. Latest to turn up is Business Plans for Dummies by Colin Barrow. And his tip? Be like Madonna.

He doesn't mean waggling your arse and getting your picture taken with Vanilla Ice wedged up you - although that can work quite well, too. Apparently, Madonna is just full of the business skills:

"Using what can only be described as mediocre talent and competent performance skills, she has managed to move to the top of her industry and stay there by continually reinventing herself." Her business skills include "planning, personal discipline and constant attention to detail", he said.

Hmm, we're not so sure Barrow's analysis stands up - if Madonna's millions were based on using a slim talent in a really smart way, how do you explain the movies? The shrewd business advice after Shanghai Surprise would have been to not make any more films, which ate up time she could have been spending on music; and which stank so much they only harmed her brand. Likewise, a shrewd businesswoman wouldn't have pissed Pepsi off with the Like A Prayer video, which cost her a plum sponsorship worth millions. It also seems, at least from The Scotsman's precis, that Barrow doesn't know a great deal about the music industry in the 80s:

"When Madonna first bounced into the pop world singing Holiday in 1983, it only reached number six in the UK charts and 16 in the US. "

Except, in 1983, number six and number sixteen were great achievements for an unknown artist, surely? Indeed, for all the talk of how she's "stayed at the top of the industry", her recent chart performances have comparatively been much worse than her debut.

Then, there's this:

Bert Padell, her manager for 15 years described how she paid attention to the minutest detail. "We had to fax her every cheque we wrote on a daily basis and she would call us to say if it was OK before we could send it out." Mr Padell and Madonna parted company amid acrimony in 1996 and she sued his firm for more than £1.5 million in a row over her tax bill.

So, shrewd businesswoman Madonna would have cheques faxed across, but somehow her attention to detail didn't extend to checking her tax return? Isn't this confusing pedantic control freakery with a keen eye for detail?

No comments:

Post a Comment

As a general rule, posts will only be deleted if they reek of spam.