Madonna (entertainer) : biography
Madonna has received acclaim as a role model for businesswomen in her industry, "achieving the kind of financial control that women had long fought for within the industry", and generating over $1.2 billion in sales within the first decade of her career. After she established her own label, Maverick Records, in the 1990s it became a major commercial success from her efforts, which was unusual at that time for an artist-established label. Michelle Goldberg said that "one thing that’s always interested me about Madonna is that she’s often praised as a brilliant businesswoman". She further asserted that "Andy Warhol did an enormous amount to change that idea in highbrow circles, but Madonna made it conventional wisdom to conflate art and commerce. She pioneered this kind of multimedia, ‘life as performance art’." As Goldberg, Strawberry Saroyan noted that "Madonna is a brilliant businesswoman and her legacy is partly that she morphs commerce and art." Professor Colin Barrow of the Cranfield School of Management described Madonna as "America’s smartest businesswoman … who has moved to the top of her industry and stayed there by constantly reinventing herself". He held up her "planning, personal discipline and constant attention to detail" as models for all aspiring entrepreneurs. In 1990, with more than $125 million since 1986 and as the highest-grossing woman in entertainment, Forbes "suggested that she was one of the smartest businesswomen in United States". London Business School academics called her a "dynamic entrepreneur" worth copying; they identified her vision of success, her understanding of the music industry, her ability to recognize her own performance limits (and thus bring in help), her willingness to work hard and her ability to adapt as the keys to her commercial success. Morton commented that "Madonna is opportunistic, manipulative and ruthless—somebody who won’t stop until she gets what she wants—and that’s something you can get at the expense of maybe losing your close ones. But that hardly mattered to her." Taraborrelli felt that this ruthlessness was visible during the shooting of the Pepsi commercial in 1989. "The fact that she didn’t want to hold a Pepsi can in the commercial, clued the Pepsi executives that Madonna the pop star and Madonna the businesswoman were not going to be dictated by somebody else, she will do everything in her way—the only way." Hazel Blackmore and Rafael Fernández de Castro in the book ¿Qué es Estados Unidos? from the Fondo de Cultura Económica, noted that: "Madonna has been undoubtedly the most important woman in the history of popular music and a great businesswoman in herself; creating fashion, breaking taboos and provoking controversies."
Madonna’s music has been the subject of much analysis and scrutiny by critics. Robert M. Grant, author of Contemporary Strategy Analysis (2005), commented that what has brought Madonna success is "certainly not outstanding natural talent. As a vocalist, musician, dancer, songwriter, or actress, Madonna’s talents seem modest." He asserts Madonna’s success is in relying on the talents of others, and that her personal relationships have served as cornerstones to the numerous reinventions in the longevity of her career. Madonna’s approach was far from the music industry wisdom of "Find a winning formula and stick to it." Her musical career has been a continuous experimentation with new musical ideas and new images and a constant quest for new heights of fame and acclaim. Grant concluded that "having established herself as the queen of popular music, Madonna did not stop there, but continued re-inventing." Musicologist Susan McClary wrote that "Madonna’s art itself repeatedly deconstructs the traditional notion of the unified subject with finite ego boundaries. Her pieces explore, varios ways of constituting identities that refuse stability, that remain fluid, that resist definition."