Back in the greed-is-good 1980s, Madonna styled herself as a material girl. Avarice hasn’t exactly disappeared in the intervening years, but the “Like A Prayer” singer has updated herself to fit the present zeitgeist, if the launch of new album MDNA is any indication.
For the album’s debut yesterday, Madonna decided to forgo the typical round of morning talk shows. She instead opted for an interview at Facebook’s
headquarters, a live Twitter chat, and a giveaway on Spotify—two lucky listeners who play MDNA at least three times in the next two weeks will receive free tickets to one of her upcoming shows. New York
Madonna’s most unusual promotion, however, involves Fab.com. The nine-month-old design-focused retailer boasts 3 million members and has dedicated its homepage to MDNA, which it’s selling in both physical and digital format for $7.99, half the price of most other outlets.
“We’re on MDNA over here,” says Jason Goldberg, Fab’s founder and CEO. “It’s kind of our way of giving a big fat kiss to our members for how they’ve embraced us over the past nine months.”
It’s also a boon to Fab.com. Goldberg says his site is seeing two to three times its typical traffic because of the promotion, and expects to sell tens of thousands of copies of the album, which should move hundreds of thousands of units on the whole.
Goldberg wouldn’t discuss the details of his agreement with Universal Music Group, parent company of Interscope, the label that’s home to Madonna. But he did confirm that there was a “collaboration” of some sort.
What’s the nature of that collaboration? Hard to say for sure, but it probably means that Universal gave Fab.com a discount on the wholesale price of the record—like they did with Amazon and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. A source told me that the Amazon negotiated to pay a wholesale price of $7 for the album, which the online retail giant briefly sold for $0.99.
If Fab.com is paying the same price for MDNA, it’s a great deal for everyone involved: Madonna and her label sell tens of thousands of additional albums to an audience they might not have otherwise reached, while Goldberg’s site gets a marginal profit and a boatload of additional web traffic.
Says Goldberg: “It’s a match made in heaven.”
Just like a prayer.