Madonna making a $60 million deal

April 20, 1992|By Stephen Holden | Stephen Holden,New York Times

New York -- Pop music's original Material Girl is about to become a multi-media mogul. Time Warner plans to announce an agreement today in which Madonna, in partnership with Time Warner, will form her own multi-media entertainment company, Maverick.

Under a seven-year arrangement, which can be extended to 11 years, Madonna, 33, will be advanced as much $60 million, making this one of the most lucrative contracts offered to a pop star. The long-term commitment is comparable in scale to a similar deal that Sony signed last year with Michael Jackson.

Although Time Warner executives would not confirm figures that have been widely circulated, Madonna's renegotiated recording contract is said to give this singer a $5 million advance for each of her next seven albums and a 20 percent royalty rate.

This would put her royalty rate on a par with Mr. Jackson's, which is the highest for any artist in the music business.

Both in its size and autonomy, the agreement is unprecedented for a female pop entertainer.

Since her recording debut in 1983, Madonna's albums, released through Sire Records, a Time Warner label, have sold more than 70 million copies worldwide.

Her most recent release, "The Immaculate Collection," an anthology of her hits, has sold 11 million copies, 3 million in the United States.

Her five home video collections have sold 3 million copies around the world and "Truth or Dare," the 1991 concert tour documentary, grossed $16 million in the United States.

Time Warner said that over the last decade sales of Madonna-related ventures have grossed $1.2 billion.

Maverick will be run by Madonna and her longtime manager, Freddy DeMann, and have its headquarters in Los Angeles. It will consist of a record company and a music publishing company, and will have television, film, merchandising and book-publishing divisions.

Madonna said in a recent interview from Los Angeles that she envisioned the company as an "artistic think tank" and likened it to a cross between the Bauhaus, the innovative German arts institute formed in Weimar in 1919, and Andy Warhol's New York-based Factory of artists and assistants.

"It started as a desire to have more control," Madonna said. "There's a group of writers, photographers, directors and editors that I've met along the way in my career who I want to take with me everywhere I go. I want to incorporate them into my little factory of ideas. I also come in contact with a lot of young talent that I feel entrepreneurial about."

Time Warner is thought to have committed more than $2 million a year for Maverick, whose most significant component will be a record company run in 50-50 partnership with the parent corporation.

The first project for the label will be a new Madonna album, as yet untitled, to be released in the fall.

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