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Morrissey: “Harvest Records Are as Cheap as They Look”

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Earlier this week, Morrissey shot back at Billboard for reporting that he hadn’t been dropped from Harvest/Epic Records. Morrissey said he definitely had been dropped from the label, and recent developments and a new statement from Morrissey seem to back that up.

Morrissey’s latest album, World Peace Is None of Your Business, is now being removed from digital platforms, including Spotify and iTunes.  Morrissey says he never signed a contract with Harvest, so they technically don’t have the rights to sell his album.  He hopes a new label will release World Peace and “afford it the respect it deserves“.

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PLEASE CLOSE THE DOOR BEHIND ME

20 August 2014

Morrissey statement

In response to 77 million questions I can only say this much on the subject of the Harvest drama.  It is quite true that Harvest initially appeared like a saintly beacon of light, and they instantly packed us off to France where we recorded World peace is none of your business.  The universe was back in balance, and we all considered this to be the very best Morrissey recording ever, and even the boo-hoo-suck-it-off elements of the press appeared to want to agree.  At last I am born.

It all seemed too good to be true.  It was.  I believed that the rich soil of the album had several strong hit singles.  Frayed tempers began when Harvest arranged the ‘spoken word’ films, none of which gave any clue as to what World peace is none of your business intended to be, or is.  The films were OK, but they went nowhere and stayed there.

With every nerve alert, we pushed the label for a proper video for “Istanbul” to precede the album, not least of all because a single ahead of the album release might inch the album to a higher chart position.  The label backed off, even though “Istanbul” received 55 radio plays in just seven days on a major US station.  Instead, the label requested a fifth spoken-word film, which naturally had me fumbling around for an axe: no independent thought required.

The UK label, meanwhile, created a quite fantastic television advertisement to transmit during the week ahead of the album release.  I could taste excitement once again.  The TV ad never appeared and my hackles bristled as my bristles heckled. The label responded with frosty aloofness, and I suddenly realized that we were not, after all, of the same species. I ploughed into them insisting upon “proper band videos, where the band play and I sing” – an evidently confusing concept that required seven weeks of explanation, detailed graphs and several drawn up maps.

The label suggested I come to Los Angeles and read passages from Autobiography in front of selected audiences. As frightening as that idea was, I hung on, desperate to believe that Harvest were not as cheap as they now looked. I hope to finish this statement whilst I’m still clean-shaven, so I will jump to the final curtain: during the weeks of the album release, the label were minus one single structural idea, and it appeared evident that each member of the team was acting in separate rooms without doors or windows. Mutual mistrust exploded between Harvest and I, and with fashionable pessimism, the label boss yawned and ordered the surface smartness of dropping World peace is none of your business three weeks after its release.  There, now!  This would not have happened to the Teletubbies.

Sorrily botched the project may now be, but it’s worth it to get Morrissey out of our Inbox.  Yes, I can be intensely persistent, and I certainly have an over-active fantasy-life, but the Harvest experience tells us that despite the blinding flash of teeth and smiles, it doesn’t take much for the coin to flip and suddenly we’re all compromised and shattered.  All you need to do is disagree with the vanity of the label boss and your beheading will be slotted in between bottles of the most average champagne on the market.  Just one weak-chinned drone can assert the fist of injustice and all of our efforts are flushed away.  And thus … they were.

I might be wrong, but I think World peace is none of your business will instantly disappear from iTunes and record stores and every download-upload-offload outlet on the planet, because Harvest technically have no right to sell it.

Most of the Harvest team are very nice, and I sincerely thank them for trying and caring so much – even if their promotional duties were fully undertaken by the Morrissey audience themselves, whose YouTube videos for World peace is none of your business fully provide the art that the label could not muster. The listeners instantly understood how entertainment could also be art.

Staggeringly, I still believe that there’s a label out there with my name on it, and one that will issue World peace is none of your business, and afford it the respect it deserves.

Thanks for reading this (rashly assuming that you have), and thanks once again to the Harvesters who tried.

We are boot-camp ready for Lisbon in October, so with the will of many gods, hopefully at least 38 of you will turn up.

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Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

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Comments (16)
  1. Paul Resnikoff

    It’s funny, because Amanda Palmer wrote an open letter a while ago to Morrissey telling him he needed to crowd fund an album on his own


    Reply
  2. for those new to the industry

    Summary:

    Morrissey is using an album release to promote his tour schedule.


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      But I thought he was using his cancelled tour to promote his album release?


      Reply
  3. JTVDigital

    “their promotional duties were fully undertaken by the Morrissey audience themselves”
    Exactly. At this point, he does not need a label at all. He has gained recognition over the years, only his name would be enough to sell, get public’s attention, find a tour management company…Etc.
    Time to go DIY, Morrissey ;-)
    Now question: who owns the masters?


    Reply
  4. Musicservices4less

    In answer to your last question, “Wanna buy a lawsuit?!”


    Reply
  5. zog

    Morrissey is not exactly a house hold name he’s lucky in my opinion to have the luxury to make an album and tour period . Harvest, Capitol,Steve Barnett have given him the opportunity to continue on with his career , don’t bite the hands that feeds you ,your options are limited. Amanda Palmer great ? crowd funding great but unless you have a long term business plan what are you raising money for ? Capitol was your best bet going forward someone believed in your music , talent and your career. Time to put the ego away who’s buying music today ?you need to build on your audience and quit wasting time.


    Reply
    1. Anthony Pirtle

      Morrissey doesn’t need to build his audience. He’s already got the kind of gigantic, cultish following that any artist would dream of, let alone one in his mid fifties. His big mistake was wanting to go through a label at all.


      Reply
  6. Willis

    Who signed that contract with the label, Moz? Stop yer whining.


    Reply
  7. ZOM

    Moz owns the masters. It was a licensing deal. He removed the album from iTunes. He’s already talking to other labels. Moz is the master of manipulating the press. Don’t believe everything you read. Hype goes a long way in today’s disjointed and cluttered internet.

    …and btw- Moz would never “crowd fund” an album. He doesn’t need to stoop to a level of begging for $$. His PRS royalty checks alone could fund several albums.


    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    77 Million requests?

    Bro is ballin, get to it man that’s serious attention, shit, some of us can’t even get 1 request so you are doing something right. Not sure what you need a label for with all that!

    Congrats.


    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    All you need to do is disagree with the vanity of the label boss and your beheading will be slotted in between bottles of the most average champagne on the market.

    Uh-Oh. All you have to do is just disagree?

    I guess flipping them off constantly and trying to scuttle them daily probably isn’t the smartest move then eh?

    haha

    :D


    Reply
  10. Cmonbro

    Guess he doesn’t realize that in 2014 Labels aren’t obligated to pay for anything other than radio…

    Why would a video be any different than the spoken word film? I know he didn’t ACTUALLY think his Smiths fan base wants anything other than to see him and have him play old music..

    Why couldn’t he pay for HIS OWN VIDEO? Why not ask them to match what he’d put in?

    Where is his management? sponsors? Licensing?

    He licensed an album for distribution. Why not put his advance towards the video?


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      if the label owns the Masters it is their duty and obligation to pony up the money for anything to do with the Masters, period!

      Sounds like they didn’t, therefore he has no claim on anything and looks like he may have put the foot in his mouth..

      Morrisey out there looking for that free money cause he thinks hes Jesus or something. Awesome!

      You own the Masters, you have to pay for everything. That is the way it is, any label operating any other way is simply screwing artists.

      Of course there are deals that start getting complicated, but at the core, he who owns the masters calls the shots and foots the bill.


      Reply
      1. Cmonbro

        Might be there duty.. but they dont have to…

        Unless written IN the contract they don’t have to pay for videos..


        Reply
      2. Anonymous

        Not sure you’ve ever read a long form major label record contract…..but I implore you to do so.

        Or maybe have a lawyer help you read one down, it’s not that simple.


        Reply
  11. kaga

    shut up morrissey. just shut up


    Reply

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