Rebel Heart came to us in partial digital download form on December 20th after an egregious 13 demos leaked online. The general public wasn’t supposed to hear any of this material ‘til after Valentine’s Day or so, granting Madonna a whole first quarter 2015 of record promotion, but here we are. And here Madonna is, surviving and adapting as she so often does in the face of the ever-changing music industry.
Madonna’s last record, MDNA, was teased to fans through song snippets on YouTube, an effective taste test strategy that worked in lieu of talk show appearances and all that fun stuff because—let’s call it like it is—MDNA was a touring album. Money’s in the show dates these days; it’s the main way artists survive. This is why the Rebel Heart leaks were so devastating. For what felt like the first time in ages, Madonna spent months in studio working with a slew of writers and producers and kept fans up to date through her Instagram. It only made sense to do a partial album drop as a pre-order treat.