Heads Roll at Madonna's Maverick Label

Is Material Mom Madonna retiring? Not so, says her rep, Liz Rosenberg, who has stepped up to quell reports that Mrs. Guy Ritchie will end her performing days at the close of her Drowned World tour.

The future of the pop star's record label isn't looking so rosy, however. Maverick Records, whose top acts include Alanis Morissette and the Deftones, has reportedly laid off several staffers.

Daily Variety reported today that Bill Bennett, the president of Maverick Records, has resigned and that five other staffers have been axed. The layoffs are attributed to deteriorating market conditions, the trade paper said.

Madonna runs Maverick as a joint venture with Warner Bros. Records, a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc. The media giant reported on Wednesday that second-quarter revenues at its far-flung music businesses fell 11 percent to $895 million from a year earlier and cash flow plunged 33 percent to $87 million.

Morissette, whose 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill, sold millions of copies worldwide, was unable to emulate sales with her two follow-up albums and reportedly wanted to leave the label earlier this year until Madonna persuaded her to stay. Rolling Stone reported in its June 21 issue that Morissette signed a new contract with Maverick and will release her third album on the label in October.

In the meantime, Madonna kicks off the U.S. segment of her tour in Philadelphia on Saturday. Her tour's last date will be Sept. 14, which will be her fourth Los Angeles performance.

Reuters contributed to this story.

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