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Express Yourself

Focus groups may be losing cred in the business world, but in the music realm, they appear to be something new. For an upcoming album, Madonna has been secretly testing out songs by watching video of clubgoers dance to her newest tunes with her vocals removed. Of course, that’s not really a focus group — the subjects didn’t know anyone was gauging their opinion — so she might hit on some true reactions. The Telegraph article above raises one question about the practice: Since when has the Material Girl doubted herself or her songs? But here’s another: Is this a smart business practice for Madonna? Or a shameless effort at engineering commercially successful content rather than the music she wants to produce?

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