Today in Madonna History: January 9, 1999

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On January 9 1999, Madonna began filming the music video for Nothing Really Matters at Silvercup Studios in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens in NYC.

The imagery in the video was inspired by Arthur Golden’s 1997 bestselling novel, Memoirs Of A Geisha. It marked Madonna’s first collaboration with Swedish director Johan Renck, who had been introduced to Madonna by Ray Of Light video director, Jonas Åkerlund.

Today in Madonna History: March 18, 2005

On March 18 2005, a resolution was reached in a UK copyright lawsuit (Coffey v Warner/Chappell Music Ltd. & Others) which alleged that elements of the Madonna & Patrick Leonard composition, Nothing Really Matters, had infringed on the copyright of claimant Elizabeth Coffey and her song, Forever After, performed by Peter Twomey.

The case took almost four years to reach the court and went under a considerable number of amendments by the plaintiff during that time. Coffey eventually alleged that the recording of Forever After included an original musical work, which consisted of the combination of vocal expression, pitch contour, and syncopation of or around the words “does it really matter,” but did not extend to the melody or lyrics surrounding those words.  She pleaded that the words “does it really matter” comprised the song’s lyrical hook and alleged that the copyright in Forever After was infringed by the defendants’ activities in relation to Nothing Really Matters.

In turn, the defendants moved to have the claim struck out as the method the plaintiff had identified the alleged copied elements was contrary to copyright law in general. Another defense offered was that, in any event, no copying had occurred.

The case was dismissed on the legal grounds that, in copyright, one cannot cherry pick the elements of the song that are the most similar in an attempt to build a stronger case. In his findings, the presiding Judge Blackburn, noted:
“The three somewhat elusive features identified by the claimant as her musical work cannot by any stretch of the imagination be said to be sufficiently separable from the remainder of the song as themselves to constitute a musical work. […] What the copyright work is in any given case is not governed by what the claimant alleging copyright infringement chooses to say that it is. Rather, it is a matter for objective determination by the court.”
A summary analysis and MIDI clip of the claimant’s song (which, incidentally, bears no perceivable resemblance to Nothing Really Matters) can be found here. The complete judgement in the lawsuit can be viewed here.

 

Today in Madonna History: February 24, 1999

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On February 24 1999, Madonna performed Nothing Really Matters at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards. Madonna also took home 4 Grammies:

  • Best Pop Album – David Reitzas, Jon Ingoldsby, Pat McCarthy (engineers/mixers), William Orbit (producer) and Madonna (producer & artist) for Ray Of Light
  • Best Dance Recording – Pat McCarthy (mixer), William Orbit (producer) and Madonna (producer & artist) for Ray of Light
  • Best Short Form Music Video – Jonas Åkerlund (video director) and Madonna for Ray of Light
  • Best Recording Package – Kevin Reagan (art director) for Ray of Light performed by Madonna

Today in Madonna History: November 2, 1999

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On November 2 1999, the Madonna: The Video Collection 1993-99 was released on home video and DVD.

Madonna: The Video Collection 1993-99 was released as a collection of Madonna’s favourite videos from 1993-1999. The collection contains 14 videos: Bad Girl, Fever, Rain, Secret, Take A Bow, Bedtime Story, Human Nature, Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, Frozen, Ray Of Light, Drowned World, The Power of Goodbye, Nothing Really Matters, and Beautiful Stranger.

Today in Madonna History: November 27, 1999

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On November 27 1999, Madonna: The Video Collection 1993-99 hit #3 on the Billboard Top Music Videos chart.

Heather Phares from Allmusic gave the release five out of five stars and said:

Madonna’s Video Collection: 1993-1999 adds to her status as one of the best represented artists on DVD. Though it doesn’t offer much in the way of DVD-specific features, the artistry of directors like Mark Romanek, Stephane Sedaoui, David Fincher, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, as well as Madonna herself, is on full display with videos like ‘Take a Bow’, ‘Bedtime Story’, ‘Human Nature’, ‘Frozen’, and ‘Ray of Light’. All in all, it’s a worthwhile collection of memorable videos from one of pop’s trendsetters.”  

Today In Madonna History: February 13, 1999

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On February 13 1999, Madonna’s music video for Nothing Really Matters premiered on MTV.

The video was directed by Johan Renck and filmed in January 1999 at the Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, New York.

The kimono Madonna wore in the video was created by Jean-Paul Gaultier.  

Madonna stated that the inspiration behind the video was from the 1996 novel Memoirs of a Geisha. Madonna later stated; “The whole idea of a geisha is a straight metaphor for being an [entertainer] because, on one hand you’re privileged to be a geisha, but on the other hand you’re a prisoner.” Madonna also choreographed her own moves on the video, as she stated “I don’t like how other people say how I should move, I’m my own best choreographer.”