On December 15 1990, the LA Times printed a feature article by Robert Hilburn, about Madonna’s forth-coming laser-disc release of the Blond Ambition tour.
Can Madonna sell laser-disc players as well as she sells herself? Pioneer Artists, the nation’s leading distributor of music-related laser discs, hopes so. In a move virtually unprecedented in the video industry, Pioneer has just released Madonna’s Blond Ambition World Tour Live exclusively on laser disc. Normally, video packages of this nature are released on videocassette two to six weeks before they are released on laser-disc. In this case, however, Blond Ambition won’t be released on videocassette for at least a year. Steven Galloway, president of Pioneer Artists, said he hopes the fact that an artist of Madonna’s stature would release a video only on laser disc will send a signal to millions of potential laser customers that the new format has finally come of age.
Galloway said that the laser exclusive with Madonna grew out of an agreement last spring for Pioneer, the electronics hardware and software giant, to sponsor her tour.
“I contacted her manager, Freddy DeMann, long before the tour started in hopes of getting the laser-disc rights to any video that was going to be shot in association with the tour,” Galloway said. DeMann was meeting with potential corporate sponsors at the time, Galloway said, and he asked if Pioneer would be interested in sponsoring the tour. The company apparently jumped at the opportunity.
“Madonna is the ideal artist to reach the new demographics that we are hoping to attract with the new, low-priced combination CD and laser players . . . the young, hip 18-35 audience,” Galloway said.
“Until these low-priced players arrived, laser discs were considered something just for the high-end market . . . a rich man’s toy. But that has changed and Madonna seemed the ideal artist to drive that point home.”
And what about the Blond Ambition package itself?
The video is based on the same concert in Nice that HBO broadcast live last summer, but the new, edited laser version offers much more of the vitality and charm of the show itself than the HBO special.
On December 11 1990, Madonna’s The Royal Box, a box-set which included The Immaculate Collection CD or cassette, VHS video, postcards and a folded poster of Madonna performing Vogue at the MTV Video Music Awards, was released.
Box sets seem to be a thing of the past. Do you think Madonna will ever release another box set as great or greater than The Royal Box?
Do you wish Madonna had released more box sets when they were actually popular and sold well?
On December 3 1990, ABC’s Nightline played the banned music video for Justify My Love video in its entirety followed by a live interview with Madonna by Forrest Sawyer regarding the video’s sexual content and censorship.
When asked whether she stood to make more money selling the video than airing it on MTV, she half-jokingly answered, “Yeah, so lucky me!”
She also expressed that she did not understand why the video was banned when videos containing violence and degradation to women continued to receive regular airplay.
On July 28 1990, Unistar Radio Programming aired The Madonna Story radio special in the USA. The hour and a half special included a mix of Madonna’s hit songs and a selection of interviews. The special was aired again the next day.
The Madonna Story was recorded and released (promotional-only) on a 2-LP set with cue sheets.