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And while Madonna described WMG’s legal action as "treasonous," the fact she has otherwise kept the vitriol down is a possible outgrowth of her ongoing study of the Kaballah, according to some. In fact, Mrs. Ritchie has refused to schedule shows on Friday nights during the tour to observe the Sabbath.
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Buzzers are buzzing that the judge’s decision to allow the Maverick-WMG case to be heard in California rather than in Delaware, where WMG originally filed its suit, is a big victory and a strategic advantage for Madonna’s label and its Bert Fields-led legal team. Latest scuttlebutt is that the ongoing dispute has the Material Gal blocking the company’s release of a box-set retrospective of her career, including music and videos, to accompany this summer’s red-hot SRO tour. And while Madonna described WMG’s legal action as “treasonous,” the fact she has otherwise kept the vitriol down is a possible outgrowth of her ongoing study of the Kaballah, according to some. In fact, Mrs. Ritchie has refused to schedule shows on Friday nights during the tour to observe the Sabbath.

Meanwhile, at Edgar Bronfman’s WMG, many are attributing the company’s current lukewarm chart performance to the distractions that have followed its acquisition from Time Warner and subsequent restructuring. Sources inside WMG say the only multiplatinum artist releases on the schedule through the end of Q3 are Alanis Morissette, a Van Halen greatest hits package and Curb’s Tim McGraw.

In the wake of label consolidation involving Elektra, Arista and DreamWorks, some fairly notable artists and managers are feeling vulnerable because the executives who signed them are no longer with the company. History tells them label executives prioritize their own signings at the expense of inherited acts, which is no surprise, since when their deals are up for renewal, these execs are primarily judged on the success of the acts that they’ve signed. Now, those acts not signed by the current label regime are concerned about having no one around to shepherd them through the system. Of course, there are exceptions, as in the case of Blink-182’s success on Geffen.

Is one major-label publicity head up for a top marketing post on his/her former boss’ new team?

Following generally tepid response to Sony’s Connect online store last week, talk that the company won’t be releasing a portable device to compete directly with Apple’s iPod until later this summer has prompted some head-scratching. Sony moles reveal that a $30 million cross-promotional ad campaign with McDonald’s inked to begin June 8 gave the company a choice of rush-launching Connect or missing out on a mass-market opportunity to hype it.

Is the head of one major-label-distributed indie currently in discussions to go inside another  major as president?

CNET has launched its version of the venerable MP3.com site it acquired last year from Vivendi Universal. The company’s Gamespot.com is the leading source of information about video games on the web, and a very important driver of traffic to video game company sites. CNET’s new MP3.com model looks to duplicate Gamespot.com’s success by looking to become the premiere site for online music information.

Buzz continuing on the Prince album’s strong run, with industry observers saying even without the questionable concert-venue “sales” that Soundscan is including, the album continues to do Top 10 business—an exceptional showing for a record with virtually no radio support. This week, Musicology added another 65k in “non-traditional” sales, putting the amount of CDs given away to date at nearly 150k.

Names in the Rumor Mill: Fred Davis, David Munns, Laura Swanson, Sylvia Rhone, Guy Oseary, David Foster and Caresse Henry.

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