Why we like the way Morrissey has fallen out with his record label


So Morrissey has had another spat with a record label.

It seems like the singer has totally fallen out with Harvest records with his new album World Peace Is None Of Your Business being pulled off iTunes and Spotify and statements flying backwards and forwards from the singer and his label. I guess harvest was a strange label to end up on being created in the seventies as a prog label but they did of course release the wonderful Saints records in the punk wars.


Whilst this all seems like pop star hissy fits to the casual follower we kinda like the way the Moz-man complains and makes a stand.

When the rest of us release our music we have come to expect grinding defeat- the usual round of radio stations slamming doors in our faces because our music is too raw or noisy or doesn’t fit into the latest demographic designed by the marketing types, record labels too small to tell people that we exist and we have grown to meekly accept the limitations of a dying industry and fully expect our works of art and nonsense that we spent a year of our lives creating to just about break even by flogging them ourselves and by extension flogging ourselves to death by doing it.

Morrissey’s moaning may seem the idle whine of a rich man who expects everything but it’s the second part of that sentence that we like – Morrissey expects his records to go to number one, he still talks about getting in the charts for fucks sake! he still believes, like the eternal teenager excitedly listening to the radio in the early seventies, that people still care about charts – and it’s that part of pop’s rich dream that is kinda loveable. Morrissey still believes that his music matters enough that he is prepared to shoot himself in the foot at any given opportunity by saying so and fallout with record labels who don’t do the job and come up to his idea of HOW THINGS SHOULD BE DONE.

In the 21st century the artist has become the humble servant, treading carefully when the mill owners are around, careful not to say the wrong thing so that the howling and anonymous voices of twitter don’t drown them in contempt and careful to play the game unless the apple cart gets upset.

Morrissey is one of the last of the few who ignores all this and whilst he infuriates many at least he still twitches with life in a humdrum sea of forelock tugging entertainers.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


    • But Morrissey has always done this. He used to lambast Rough Trade for failing to get Smiths records to number one in the charts, refusing to accept that an indie label didn’t have the budget a major had. This eventually led to him demanding that the label produce an advert to promote a Smiths single during the ad-break of Coronation Street, something that would have bankrupted it. The man may be a lyrical genius but he has always acted like a spoilt child.

  1. Brilliant article, couldn’t agree more.
    I particularly agree with your last paragraph; artists have become the servants of the corporate (and the buying audience).
    I can’t help but think that it all comes down to the fact that people hold a capitalist view of everything nowadays, far more than they did decades ago, and it’s ever so present in the constant infuriating analogies we see being made between a work of art, and a commodity. Such comparisons entail that an artist is merely a faceless, voiceless employee that works for a corporate and holds only and only its views and visions, and whose job is to produce commodities to satiate the need of the consumers, commodities that are shaped after their liking and not the liking of the creator. Talk about painting a vulgar picture.

  2. My view on this… If the music is good enough it will find its own way to the top of the ‘charts’ especially in the era of the internet, if the Moz man is so confident his stuff is worthy of the number 1 slot then why not release his work directly to iTunes without having to get involved with record companies? Or is that too easy and safe for an artist who feeds off controversy?


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