The Telegraph: "No record label will touch Morrissey – and that’s the music industry’s loss" (June 4, 2021)

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Telegraph have done an opinion piece hoping Morrissey gets a new record deal - despite accusing him of supporting the EDL. 🙄

Edit: it would probably help if I remembered the link.


No record label will touch Morrissey – and that’s the music industry’s loss​

However objectionable you find the Smiths singer, he shouldn't be reduced to hawking his new album to the highest – or lowest – bidder
JAMES HALL 4 June 2021 • 2:10pm

The last 12 months have been unkind to us all. Even, it seems, rock stars living in Los Angeles. Morrissey, the pugnacious former Smiths singer, said this week that he’s had “the worst year of my life”.
On one level, sympathy may be in reasonably short supply. Partly because of the LA rock star thing but mainly because Morrissey has in recent years made a barrage of offensive pronouncements including swipes at the Chinese, seeming defences of individuals accused of sexual abuse and sympathy for groups such as the English Defence League. But all of this notwithstanding, the former king of bedroom melodrama has still had a genuine shocker.
Last summer his beloved mother died. In April he was lampooned in an episode of The Simpsons called Panic on the Streets of Springfield. The show featured a vegan singer from the 1980s called Quilloughby – complete with thick-rimmed glasses and a quiff – who sang in a band called the Snuffs. But Quilloughby turned out to be a figment of Lisa Simpson’s imagination and was actually an overweight, meat-eating man with anti-immigrant views. Morrissey’s manager called the episode “hurtful and racist”.
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And last November, Morrissey was dropped by his record label. “We wish him well in the next chapter of his career,” BMG said in a statement at the time.
That’s a bad 12 months, indeed. Heaven knows he’s miserable now. But on Sunday Morrissey sprung a surprise on us all. “The worst year of my life concludes with the best album of my life,” he said. He has recorded Bonfire of Teenagers in LA, an album of 11 new songs with none-more-Morrissey titles such as Rebels Without Applause, My Funeral and Saint in a Stained Glass Window. His lack of a record deal? No problemo, as Bart Simpson might put it. A message on the singer’s website read: “Morrissey is unsigned. The album is available to the highest (or lowest) bidder."

That’s right. Morrissey’s new record will be sold to the highest record label bidder. My initial thought was “Poor lonely man”. It was accompanied by a slight sucking of teeth. “Bit embarrassing if no label buys it,” I mumbled to myself. But this was soon overridden by a feeling of “Why not?” There was even a dollop of respect there. It’s a ballsy thing to do. A bold "f––– you" to the system. How typically Morrissey.

Besides, traditional means of music distribution – whereby a label puts out an album by an artist to which it has paid an advance – have long since broken down. Technology and the streaming revolution have seen to that. There are countless examples of artists seeking alternative ways of releasing new music. And auctioning an album to a label is another addition to this list.

In 2007 Radiohead, out of contract with EMI, released In Rainbows as a pay-what-you-want download. This honesty box approach saw 62 per cent of downloaders paying nothing (but those who did pay spent an average of around £5 globally). Four years later the Kaiser Chiefs released The Future is Medieval as a create-your-own-album concept. The band streamed snippets of twenty songs online and let fans choose their 10 favourites for £7.50. In 2014 U2 famously gave away Songs of Innocence to 500 million iTunes users free of charge: it appeared on iPhones and iPads around the world (whether people wanted it or not – millions didn’t).

The point is, anything goes when it comes to getting an album out there. My favourite alternative release story probably relates to rap collective Wu-Tang Clan. In 2015 they printed just one CD copy of their album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and auctioned it off as an art object. A legal stipulation meant that its contents could not exploited commercially until the year 2103. The CD was bought by businessman Martin Shkreli, who reportedly paid $2 million for it. But in 2018 Shkreli was convicted for securities fraud and a federal court seized his assets, including the Wu-Tang album.

I hope the Morrissey album is picked up. Because despite his stupid pronouncements he is on something of a musical roll. When he was dropped by BMG he said that his three albums with them – 2017’s Low in High School, 2019’s California Son, and last year’s I Am Not A Dog on a Chain – were the best of his career. “I stand by them till death,” he said. While not quite up there with Vauxhall and I or Viva Hate, they are very strong records.

Last year’s single Bobby, Don’t You Think They Know? featured Don’t Leave Me This Way singer Thelma Houston on guest vocals. It’s an epic and slightly bonkers track that is completely absorbing. And 2017 single Spent the Day in Bed is up there with his best solo work.

This isn’t to say that Morrissey would be an easy artist to have on your roster. He was the final performer I reviewed before lockdown kicked in last year. His gig in Leeds in March 2020 was typical of the man: he slated critics, largely ignored his hits, and at one point mock-sneezed on the crowd to make some kind of point about Covid-19. Perhaps if he’d known what was around the corner, he’d have been more circumspect.

Or perhaps not. A comment on his website at the weekend about his upcoming Las Vegas residency (called Viva Moz Vegas) said the following: “Morrissey’s 5 nights at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas start on August 28, and there are no anti-social distancing or facial concealment rules in place.”

But however "toxic" people find Morrissey, there are many musicians who have done things far worse than him who have record contracts. There are members of rock bands with record deals who’ve spent time in prison for domestic abuse; meanwhile it was reported last year that a British drill rapper was offered a record deal while in prison awaiting trial for murder. No matter how abhorrent you may find Morrissey's opinions, he's committed no crime.

So here’s my message to labels: take a deep breath and snap up Bonfire of Teenagers. It’ll probably be quite good. And you might just cheer up music’s biggest grump.
 
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L

Lujissey

Guest
Regardless of what happens to the new solo album, Morrissey and Marr need to reunite as soon as possible, while they are both able to perform at their best. For Morrissey in particular, at some point his voice will inevitably begin to deteriorate. (See, e.g., Paul McCartney, who is very healthy and energetic, but whose voice is significantly diminished from what it once was.) I suggest a full-scale Morrissey-Marr-Rourke (drummer to be named later) reunion in 2022, complete with a new album and worldwide tour.
I support the motion!!!!!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I'd prefer to hear the new Moz album and see him in concert. Beats me why anyone wants to see M&M back together. Isn't going to happen. Don't even want it to happen.
I totally agree with you. I love Morrissey as a solo artist. Sir Tom Jones is over 80 now and he can still sing really well his voice is still very powerful and impressive. I remember hearing him talk in a recent interview about how older voices can deteriorate he was talking about the vibrato thing. Whatever you might think of Tom Jones as a man for instance how he treated his wife, the affairs he had and the illegitimate son (that he doesn't visit) the guy can still sing great! I'm sure Morrissey will still be singing great when he is 80.
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
Morrissey not being easy to work with is nothing new.

Hasn't stopped him from selling millions of records in a near 40 year career.
In case you haven't noticed, physical sales have collapsed in the last twenty years. Very few artists could be expected to sell millions nowadays, and definitely not Morrissey. If he doesn't agree to a 360 deal, it's very hard for any label to make money with him.
 
S

Siris

Guest
I totally agree with you. I love Morrissey as a solo artist. Sir Tom Jones is over 80 now and he can still sing really well his voice is still very powerful and impressive. I remember hearing him talk in a recent interview about how older voices can deteriorate he was talking about the vibrato thing. Whatever you might think of Tom Jones as a man for instance how he treated his wife, the affairs he had and the illegitimate son (that he doesn't visit) the guy can still sing great! I'm sure Morrissey will still be singing great when he is 80.
Yes! Even though Morrissey cannot seem to hit some of the higher notes anymore, I think that his voice has matured beautifully. It's deep and rich and well-suited for crooning or chansons. Charles Aznavour played his last concert less than two weeks before he died at the age of 94, so with some luck we have 30 more years of Morrissey concerts to look forward to! Although the thought of 30 more years of record company drama seems rather exhausting.

I personally prefer Morrissey as a solo artist and I have no desire to see the Smiths unite. It would never be the same anyway and only emphasize how much everybody (including the audience) has changed. What I would like, however, is to have Morrissey and Johnny Marr collaborate sometime, like write a new song together or play on each other's records.
 

Young And Alive

Senior Member
In case you haven't noticed, physical sales have collapsed in the last twenty years. Very few artists could be expected to sell millions nowadays, and definitely not Morrissey. If he doesn't agree to a 360 deal, it's very hard for any label to make money with him.
Luckily for Morrissey he made his fortune a long time ago. He doesn't actually need a record deal.

If it comes down to it, he'll release "Bonfire..." himself.

Morrissey does his own thing and he isn't reliant on anyone.

"You should never go to them...let them come to you"
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Okay, fair enough. But what track record?
Oh, come on. He's had almost 15 record labels, several line-ups of his solo 'band', notoriously difficult relationships with producers and managers dating right back to the 80s - you know this. He has a reputation now for being an absolute nightmare and the recent situation won't have helped at all.
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
Oh, come on. He's had almost 15 record labels, several line-ups of his solo 'band', notoriously difficult relationships with producers and managers dating right back to the 80s - you know this. He has a reputation now for being an absolute nightmare and the recent situation won't have helped at all.
It's not even worth playing this game. Look how quickly @marred flipped from denying Morrissey was difficult to work with to pretending as though it was self-evident. These people are so disingenuous.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><><><>
@Verso @Amy @marred


He may be difficult to work with,
but not impossible to work with, unless the person trying to work with him is impossible.

If you really really want to
work with some of these peculiar types then you will need to compromise.

I believe even Morrissey makes compromises to an extent.
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
@Verso @Amy @marred


He may be difficult to work with,
but not impossible to work with, unless the person trying to work with him is impossible.

If you really really want to
work with some of these peculiar types then you will need to compromise.

I believe even Morrissey makes compromises to an extent.
I never said he was impossible and you and I are in agreement that the majority of brilliant artists are indeed "difficult" to work with. I was only laughing at marred's revisionist bullshit.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><><><>
I never said he was impossible and you and I are in agreement that the majority of brilliant artists are indeed "difficult" to work with. I was only laughing at marred's revisionist bullshit.

Haven’t gone back to reread posts, and I could be wrong, but was he revisioning his first statement or is it just the way you’ve been reading his posts?
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
@Verso @Amy @marred


He may be difficult to work with,
but not impossible to work with, unless the person trying to work with him is impossible.

If you really really want to
work with some of these peculiar types then you will need to compromise.

I believe even Morrissey makes compromises to an extent.
Here's something to ponder. We never know if today will be our last say. So why spend it working with someone difficult? Mortal plebs like us might have no alternative but well-off musicians have a choice, so why spend it with someone who's talent is burning bridges. Life is too short.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><><><>
Here's something to ponder. We never know if today will be our last say. So why spend it working with someone difficult? Mortal plebs like us might have no alternative but well-off musicians have a choice, so why spend it with someone who's talent is burning bridges. Life is too short.


Sometimes it IS worth it, especially when, if you are able to recognize
who and what Morrissey is, or at least, is to you.

“Beauty is in the eye of ....”


And because today may be your last
it will be worth it.


ponder that.


:cool:
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Sometimes it IS worth it, especially when, if you are able to recognize
who and what Morrissey is, or at least, is to you.

“Beauty is in the eye of ....”


And because today may be your last
it will be worth it.


ponder that.


:cool:
Working with a difficult artist might be worth it (because you might get a great album out of it!), but being viewed like that has personal consequences for Moz that I doubt are 'worth it'. When you have pushed away and 'ghosted' so many people, when you've got to take a mate to the pub with you in case an old colleague lamps you (Stephen Street), you know you've screwed up. It shows in his bitterness.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><><><>
Working with a difficult artist might be worth it (because you might get a great album out of it!), but being viewed like that has personal consequences for Moz that I doubt are 'worth it'. When you have pushed away and 'ghosted' so many people, when you've got to take a mate to the pub with you in case an old colleague lamps you (Stephen Street), you know you've screwed up. It shows in his bitterness.

‘screwed up’ ‘bitterness’ ? well, the opposite could be said just as easily.

I guess the only truth is, that someone’s behavior (especially a strangers) will be viewed in different ways, so opinions will vary.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Here's something to ponder. We never know if today will be our last say. So why spend it working with someone difficult? Mortal plebs like us might have no alternative but well-off musicians have a choice, so why spend it with someone who's talent is burning bridges. Life is too short.

In this case, the recording is already done. So it's for the label to take it or leave it. If no one is leaping in to release it, either they don't think the music is good and/or they don't think they will make any money off it.
 
M

me2021

Guest
Too bad I'm not. Bezos billionaire. Or other. Otherwise I ll buy his music Rights and. Create my Morrissey music record. Label. Dream on
 

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