Madonna Reflects On Low Sales Of ‘Rebel Heart’ Album

Published: Tuesday 19th Sep 2017 by Sam

Even the most successful careers are plagued by challenges.

This is a reality that Pop empress Madonna is well-acquainted with.

One of her more public setbacks came with the release of her most recent album, 2015’s ‘Rebel Heart.’

The ‘Living For Love’ led set was rocked by a series of catastrophic leaks prior to its arrival – with both demos and full songs hitting the net.

It defied the odds to open at #1  on the pure sales tally in the US, but was the first casualty of the chart’s embrace of streaming and had to settle for a #2 on the final Billboard count after being bested by the SPS figure of the ‘Empire’ soundtrack. To date, it’s only sold 240,000 copies — in total.

Internationally, the project fared even worse.

Now, the 59-year-old is opening about why…

Speaking to French publication Le Parisien, Madge was asked point-blank about the so-so sales of ‘Rebel’ in the region.

Peep the excerpt:

Your last album sold only 50,000 copies in France. Did that disappoint you?

 What disappointed me most of all was that someone had hacked and broadcast my songs on the Internet when they were not finished.

This had a huge effect on sales. But I’m very proud of this album …

Are you preparing the next one?

I work, I meet musicians, I discuss my ideas with producers. I am at the very beginning of the process.


Kudos to the interviewer for “going there” and props to Madonna for not being phased by it.

Far too often the stock response to a flop is to pretend it never happened, almost as if its commercial underperformance is synonymous with quality – which, a lot of the time, just isn’t the case.

Still, it’s no doubt easy to stand by the era when its tour grossed $169.8 million and extended Madonna’s record as the highest-grossing solo touring artist to… $1.131 billion.

Your thoughts?

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  1. Dingell jones September 19, 2017

    Madonna don’t sell albums anymore, she’s a touring artist and that’s how she makes the bulk of her money

    • XYZ September 19, 2017

      Nearly no one is selling these days. At least not really big numbers. But so what. She is still relevant, that is what counts. Otherwise her tours wouldn’t sell as much as they do…

    • Michael September 19, 2017

      Rebel Heart was Weak but BEAUTIFUL SCARS was a great rnb/pop record. Usually Madonna releases the right singles but her team has LOST touch. BEAUTIFUL SCARS could have been huge.

      • John October 10, 2017

        Exactly right! Best song

    • Jack November 20, 2017

      Honey Madonna was waaaay ahead of the curve on this one. She realised that music in physical formats were just not selling years ago! She wound up the 00’s being musics most pirated artist. You think a few million less each year would stop her making cash? Nope! She binned her albums off as a priority years ago and shifted her attention to touring, all whilst wannabes like Gaga focused their ill fated attentions on snatching some of Madonna’s many many titles and achievements, and ultimately Gaga lost! For while Gaga and others have since watched their sales plummet in a matter of years, Madonna has seen her bank balance sky rocket along with it her notoriety, creativity and legacy! Artists like Gaga came to the business as Madonna was leaving it! She knew ultimatley music sales were vapourising, and that to remain a force, touring would be the focus! Gaga is now left with ill concieved, poorly recieved tours and dwindling record sales. Madonna? Because of vast experience as a touring legacy virtually unmatched that will see her to her grave! Gaga will be scratching out a new deal within the next few months. Watch it! You cant fake ticket sales like music streams, views or piracy. What you see is what you get! And if record sales are non reliable, we turn to touring which is! And if Madonna rules touring which she does, i’d say she is STILL the most succesful female entertsiner around today. Just idiots like this and orher journalists, havnt got with the programme! Sales of music have collapsed. Touring is the best measure of relevancy and success, and nobody is more succesful at that than Madonna. People just need to catch up!

  2. Francis September 19, 2017

    So lame that it leaked, it’s her best album since ”Confessions on a Dancefloor”. I can’t wait for the next one!

  3. whut September 19, 2017

    It’s the current generation that has to worry about their record sales & chart stats. Legends like Madonna, Janet, Mariah & Celine have already made their names & their sales legacies are set in stone, so record sales are not a priority to them at this stage in their careers.

    • Denise jackson September 20, 2017

      I AM PROUD OF THIS ALBUM FOR MY QUEEN MADONNA. It should have sold more. God bless Madonna!

    • Paula September 23, 2017

      I agree!

      • Paula September 23, 2017

        I agree with WHUT!

  4. The Wig Snatcher September 19, 2017

    She should stick to touring for the old white meth addict queens because nobody cares about her new music.

    • Jack November 20, 2017

      Because you pre-pubescent, winey zitfaced retards can only understand a language spouted by corporate puppets like Gaga, who were manufactured in Madonna’s image anyway.

  5. Suicide Blonde September 19, 2017

    She has always openly discussed her low sales, even back to 1992 when Erotica flopped by the 90’s standards. Her next album might even sell less. If young artists who get radio support, #1 hits and are supposed to be at the top of their career, aren’t selling millions, why a 59 year old female Pop star is expected to be smashing the billboard 200, it makes no sense, if anything Madonna has way too much success for her age, her relevancy is unrivaled.

    • Fancy BISH September 19, 2017

      I don’t understand why Madonna is making what I call “irritating music” for the past decade almost…it’s like she’s going AGAINST her natural voice and gift of melody JUST to make something “different” or something SHE personally wants to hear…it’s very cold and stale…she basically just “talk sings” now…and she even used to do that better lol…and cold can be done right, but stale is just stale! Trent Reznor might be the right producer to successfully accomplish whatever the hell she’s been trying to do since Hard Candy..she sounds like she hates ears, or at least mine LOL…and as for her image, how long does she have to keep the ice queen with swords in her cooochie image going? We GET IT…now get over yourself and get back to song structure!

      • Suicide Blonde September 19, 2017

        I agree with everything you said, although, all her albums were good until Hard Candy, her discography was flawless right up until that point.

      • Fancy BISH September 19, 2017

        Absolutely FLAWLESS…so flawless, in fact, that she named her first greatest hits set The Immaculate Collection lol….yaaaas ?

      • Suicide Blonde September 19, 2017


  6. Calindez September 19, 2017

    I don’t know why I expect accuracy or even fact checking on this site. It’s proven a lost cause time after time.

    You state a blatant lie in your article that the album only sold 240,000 copies “in total.” Shady business…tomfoolery and shenanigans!

    That’s misleading. That was the amount in the U.S. only. Why didn’t you specify that? You should’ve listed the WW sales figures since the source of your article was Madonna’s interview with a FRENCH media outlet. As if she’d ever stoop to give give TGJ an exclusive, maybe her gardner or bikini waxer. What happened to honest journalism?

    Check the facts, ‘Rebel Heart’ sold over 900,000 copies Worldwide by the end of 2015 and was estimated to have sold 1M copies WW by March 2016 source which tabulates WW sales figures.

    • Caleb September 19, 2017

      Great fact-checking!

  7. truthteller September 19, 2017

    The album would have flopped even if the leak hadn’t happened. It’s a shame, there were some decent songs like Ghost Town among the rubbish like B*tch I’m Madonna

  8. Suicide Blonde September 19, 2017

    To be honest her sales aren’t even that bad compared to what other legends are selling today, and she’s selling like many Pop girls sell today, the only thing that she’s lacking today to be called “successful” by the industry’s standards today, are hit songs, other than that, I say she’s pretty much equal to most of them in terms of album sales and even bigger when talking about touring, Katy, Rihanna and Gaga have low sales too, Rihanna is seen as successful because of her #1 hits but her sales are not that different from Madonna’s poor sales, Rebel Heart is a flop because of its sales, Anti is successful because of one #1 hit. ??‍♂️

    • Mark111 September 19, 2017

      Anti sold 2.2M plus the 1.4M from Samsung, now throw on streaming because they get paid from that as well. Like the article stated, Rebel Fart sold 250K WW, not even a 4th of what Anti sold. If you want to use a current artist for example, use Madonna b****** daughter Katy Perry, since her current flop is at 250K. And for the age excuse, didn’t Barbara Streisand sell a million copies of her 2014 album? So age isn’t an excuse, maybe Grandonna just sucks.

      • Suicide Blonde September 19, 2017

        With all the weeks that Rihanna spent at the top of the charts, she should be selling like Adele, her sales are embarrassing when you think about the many hits that her albums produce, there is no excuse for her, let’s not, and RH has sold 1M copies worldwide not 250k, that’s the US figure for the album, then again, compare that to what Anti has sold in the US ?Madonna did those numbers without the support or a number one song, stream power and all that s***. Barbra is an special case, and she don’t sell well all the time, so, that’s that.

      • JOHNVIDAL September 19, 2017

        Rihanna is embarrassing in general and she has no place near Madonna, Mariah, Whitney and the likes, no matter how much her delusional fans live through weak singles charts. At least I think the one saying she is more sucessful than what Madonna has ever been has disappeared.

      • Caleb September 19, 2017

        Why are you comparing Rihanna’s worldwide album sales to Madonna’s US pure album sales?

      • Jasmine September 19, 2017

        @Mark Another way of looking at it is mathematical. Rihanna would have to sell about 10 million albums to every 100K albums Madonna would sell for her to even come near the amount of profit Madonna gets from her album sales. Madonna’s record contract is public knowledge and there is enough info out there to read between the lines on Rihana’s contract:

        An artist could sell 50 million albums but if the artist is only get a very very very small percentage of the album sales then all that money is just going to the record label so it is NOTHING for that artist’s fans to brag about. Both artists are great but NEVER compare a student to the teacher when it comes to the actual music BUSINESS!

  9. Jasmine September 19, 2017

    More of her fans should have bought the album. Period.

  10. Theman September 19, 2017

    It’s radio. They are stupid for not really playing legends. She should do more traditional promo, collabos & do a visual album. She’s a great visual artist & she’s very creative. If she has a few hits she could sale nicely.

  11. ER September 19, 2017

    Wrong. It has sold almost 2 million. Who the f*** did the research? F idiot

  12. liam September 19, 2017

    I liked the album it had some of her best work in a long time can’t wait for the next album

  13. JOHNVIDAL September 19, 2017

    Of course she´ll sell less and less albums, just like everybody else. Although I have to say her last two albums were not good for her standards. I suppose creativity ends eventually.

    • Suicide Blonde September 19, 2017

      I disagree with your opinion on her last two records. MDNA was heavily criticized and I myself think that the production in some songs could have been better but the album has many good songs like Masterpiece, Gang Bang, Falling Free, I’m Addicted and Love Spent, not to mention that Girl Gone Wild could have been huge if the singer was Rihanna, everything was perfect and Iconic about that song. The songs from Rebel Heart leaked 3 months before the album was released, the songs were great, I was so excited about that, but then she changed the songs and ended up sounding completely different, and to make things worse, she left out many of the best songs that leaked, and included the weakest on the album, still a good effort IMO, her worst album is Hard Candy, and even that has its moments, that says a lot about her music. What I feel is lacking in all these female singers now is SOUL, I don’t feel it in their music anymore, including Madonna, there’s something off.

      • JOHNVIDAL September 19, 2017

        Yes that´s the feeling I get from them, including with Madonna´s last 3 albums. I guess they are at a stage where creativity has ended like I said. There are a few young people with soul and passion, but they are few.

  14. Lores Hasani September 19, 2017

    The problem with Madonna is that she always leaves her best tracks out of her albums, like Two Steps Behind Me, Queen, God Is Love, Never Let You Go, Tragic Girl (Rebel Heart). And I do think she should go back to Warner Bros. Interscope is not good.

    • Suicide Blonde September 19, 2017

      I loved Queen and Tragic Girl, among my favorites from the leaked songs, Heaven and Revolution too.

  15. Raj September 19, 2017

    I have to say that this was one of Madonnas BEST albums since her earlier work! It’s too bad the early leaks forced her to change the production of many of the songs because some were perfect the way they were before the leaks.

  16. Caleb September 19, 2017

    HOw many units did it move once streaming is included? 240,000 Is pure sales.

  17. Caleb September 19, 2017

    For what it’s worth she still outsells Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera who emerged generations after her.

  18. Mr j l September 20, 2017

    Self indulgent crap. Stop writing such p*** poor lyrics

    • Jack November 20, 2017

      Are you refering to Rhianna? Or Gaga?

  19. Alex September 20, 2017

    To be honest, not the sale is the most important thing especially in this world what we are living now. In my opinion the message what it’s really valuable.

  20. Daniel September 20, 2017

    She needs to stop going for the oh so young market. It was a great catchy pop album but 14 year old girls are not going to buy singles and albums from a diva pushing 60. Make an adult record. Sublime songs like Falling Free and Ghost Town prove she still has the songwriting chops. Make an adult record for adults. Your” * itch I’m Madonna” days are over.

    • Brian November 21, 2017

      Why can’t she write those B**** songs anymore? Just because 14yo girls won’t listen to her? Who cares about them!

  21. David October 14, 2017

    REBEL heart album is one of madonnas best! The music speaks for itself !

    • Brian November 21, 2017

      I totally agree. Just posted the same thought!

    • KNarf December 24, 2017


  22. Arj November 13, 2017

    Its all subjective, but I feel that Madonna has not produced a good album since Ray of Light. Her electronic music just sounds ‘tinny’ and it’s hard to find the actual song. It feels like a string of remixes since Ray of Light. Additionally, we have all seen her sexuality for far too long. Buy a nice outfit and use a guitar.

    • KNarf December 24, 2017

      Strongly disagree.

  23. Jack November 20, 2017

    I think artists like Gaga who are of the now generation, are truly the ones who should be seriously worried by malingering sales! 1 million of her hard sell Flopanne, sorry Joanne effort tell a telling tale, not only of the industry, but of her short lived career. These interviewers should be focusing on her heavily promoted so-called replacements! They are fairing even worse!

  24. Brian November 21, 2017

    For me, Rebel Heart is one of her top 3 all-time albums. It really completes the “trilogy” of Like a Prayer, Ray of Light and Rebel Heart. I still regularly listen to RH nearly in its entirety to this day. So many great songs, great introspection, great retrospection… and a profound message of love and following your dreams no matter what. And the tour was AMAZING.

  25. chris December 10, 2017

    I had the entire Rebel Heart album five weeks before it was released. I was hardly the only one, it was on the torrent sites including the demos and so the opening week sales were easily half of what they would have been. I still bought a physical copy but I’m sure a bunch of people did not. Imagine having the music already for a month and then feeling incentified to go buy it. Of course, the leak affected sales. At the Rebel Heart show, I noticed everyone knew the words to the songs, so clearly more people had the music than what the sales in the US showed. Meanwhile, I don’t see anyone remarking about the dismal sales that Britney and Christina have had on there last two outings. They have been around half as long, so give us all a break GAGA losers with you phony crap about how wonderful she is. GAGA is her own worst enemy and she will NEVER be anything close to what Madonna has become. Biggest reason why….because she doesn’t own her s***!

  26. KNarf December 24, 2017

    Looking forward to the next Madonna album. Absolutely loved RH and it’s a shame about the leak. I bet she was at the top of illegal downloads WW.

  27. John Wihebrink December 28, 2017

    Great album.

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