Alanis' Jagged Little Problem | Madonna Stops by Rock Hall Sham (er, Show) | Beatles: No Itunes Sale

Alanis' Jagged Little Problem

Speaking of Warner M. Group, the "M" does not stand for "Morissette." Despite "Jagged Little Pill" being one of the best-selling CDs in the old Warner’s history (on Madonna’s Maverick label), Alanis has not always had great vibes with the people there.

I am told it took months of negotiation and persuasion for WMG to agree to release her new album, "Flavors of Entanglement." They actually said no and rejected it! Anyway, the situation has been reconsidered, and "Flavors" comes out on May 20.

Anyway, WMG is busy insulting its other older acts. Sources say that when its Rhino division was approached to kick in minor fees for the 30th anniversary of the Rutles — the Beatles spoof that has been a steady catalog hit these many decades — they declined. Says WMG: "Unfortunately, Rhino is not going to be able to participate in the event.... due to the present climate in the record industry, Rhino is being very conservative about laying out sponsorship money." Nothing ventured, nothing gained…

Madonna Stops by Rock Hall Sham (er, Show)

How nice of Madonna to stop by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show Monday night to pick up her award and show off her very taut face. She didn’t sit in the audience for any of the other inductees, and left right after she got her award.

Of course, she couldn’t participate in the big jam session finale with actual musicians like John Fogerty, John Mellencamp, Billy Joel and Joan Jett, the latter who A) rocked like she meant it and B) looked fantastic.

Oh, Madonna, who has nothing to do with rock, made a nice speech and left out half of the people who really gave her her start, including Jellybean Benitez; Reggie Lucas ("Borderline"); Stephen Bray ("Into the Groove," "Express Yourself" and "Causing a Commotion," among others); Tom Kelly and Billy Sternberg ("Like a Virgin"); or Peter Brown and Robert Rans ("Material Girl"). OK, whatever. What’s done is done.

Madonna did mention Warner Bros., her soon-to-be ex-record label, but nothing about the current head of it, Lyor Cohen, who sat right behind her actual mentor, Seymour Stein, as if he were holding him for ransom if the singer mentioned her new deal with Live Nation. ...

Joan Jett was phenomenal and really demonstrated what rock is. Good for her. She’ll never be in the Rock Hall. Then again, neither are/were one of the people in the peculiar In Memoriam section. The Dave Clark Five were beautiful and gracious, considering they were screwed last year. If Jann Wenner hadn’t fooled with the ballot, Mike Smith would have been alive to receive the award. Bravo to them for not mentioning it. ...

Meg Ryan looked good, and it was a nice bit of PR to have her cut away to so many times with Tom Hanks, her best on-screen partner. ...

I was sorry to see that Jerry "The Iceman" Butler looked a little frail, and that his voice was not up to its usual powerhouse strength when he sang "Only the Strong Survive" for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Jerry was really just a one-off project for Gamble and Huff circa 1968.

I don’t know where the great stars of their Philadelphia International label could have been, such as The O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Paul, Dee Dee Sharp or Thom Bell. They must have been otherwise engaged. And, by the way, Clive Davis was the reason they were able to get into business with all those hits.

Beatles: No Itunes Sale

There is no deal for the music of the Beatles to go to iTunes or be sold anywhere on the Internet for downloading.

I hate to burst everyone’s bubbles, but the story that this would happen sprang like most inaccurate muck from a British tabloid over the weekend. It began with some notion that Paul McCartney on his own could make such a deal. And then, the reasoning was that McCartney did it "because he needs the money for his divorce" from the foul and avaricious Heather Mills.

And then, lemmings around the world subscribed to this lunacy without doing any fact-checking.

Really: Why would a man in the middle of settling a divorce suddenly make a deal that could net him millions? Does that make any sense? Of course not.

So here’s the situation: EMI Music owns the Beatles recordings, not McCartney. It’s EMI's deal to make with iTunes or Amazon or anyone. McCartney can suggest a deal or be enthusiastic, but he has no standing otherwise. EMI does have to comply with certain permissions from the Beatles, or Apple Records, aka McCartney, Ringo Starr, Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono jointly.

The quartet and their lawyers, for example, came together on the Cirque du Soleil show "Love" in Las Vegas, and the Julie Taymor movie "Across the Universe."

My sources inside the camp say there have been negotiations with Apple but nothing has come of it. There is no deal, and no deal is on the horizon. If a deal happened, it would be announced by EMI. And the Apple four would have to approve it. Also, a deal with Apple would involve lots of merchandising extras, like a special Beatles iPod, or four.

As it stands, Beatles recordings are available illegally on the Internet; otherwise, you have to buy the Beatles CD for the full price (they are rarely discounted).

It’s actually a pretty good path for the Beatles to take. Not being on a downloading service makes them special and separates them from the crowd. Also, the sound quality on CD is by and large superior, much better than compressed digital.

So, poor Paul. Whatever deal he makes with money-grubbing Mills will have to be settled from existing finances.

There is a theory, by the way, that Heather leaked the story to the Daily Mail so the judge in her case would see that Paul has even more income due him.