LOS ANGELES: Madonna sparked an avalanche of press coverage last week by deciding not to release her new video over concerns it would be perceived as unpatriotic. But experts say the change may have been equally influenced by business anxieties.
The pop icon was set to debut the video for her new song "American Life" last Friday on VH1, but announced on Monday that it would be shelved.
The song is the first release from her new album of the same name, which will hit stores later this month.
Madonna said in a statement that she feared the video would be misunderstood by US audiences. It features war footage, and a final scene in which she launches a grenade at a Bush look-alike, only to have him reveal it as a cigarette lighter.
"It was filmed before the war started, and I do not believe it is appropriate to air it at this time," the statement read. "Due to the volatile state of the world and out of sensitivity and respect to the armed forces, who I support and pray for, I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video."
Madonna's decision led to numerous articles analyzing her history, her relevance to younger audiences, and the possibility of a softer image in the future.
Some PR experts noted that pulling the video created a level of media interest not seen with her last record, Music.
Since the tone of the coverage has been mostly neutral, experts speculate that the decision had as much to do with savvy marketing as with patriotic concerns.
While the release of the video almost certainly would have led to press coverage, many artists and labels are wary of offending people during a war. The Dixie Chicks, for example, are facing a radio boycott after member Natalie Maines made anti-Bush statements at a concert.