In a revealing complaint about the state of record publishing—and the increasing control social media platforms have over it—Singer Halsey alleged Sunday their record label Capitol Music Groups won’t release a new song unless they can first “fake” a “viral moment on TikTok” surrounding it, complaining “everything is marketing.”
Halsey made the allegations in a TikTok that has been viewed 7.9 million times as of Monday afternoon, writing that they “wanna release ASAP” the song and were told it couldn’t be released despite being “in this industry for eight years” and selling “over 165 million records.”
On Twitter, Halsey said the song has been ready for over a month and the music video for it is done.
The “Closer” performer tweeted that though their TikTok about the situation has since gone viral, they “still don’t have a release date” for the tune.
A Capitol Music Group Spokesperson told Forbes “our belief in Halsey as a singular and important artist is total and unwavering” and it “can’t wait for the world to hear their brilliant new music.”
“it’s not about making the tiktoks I already make tiktoks!” Halsey tweeted. “They are saying if they don’t reach some imaginary goalpost of views or virality than they won’t give me a release date at all.”
TikTok’s influence on the popularity of music is undeniable. Over the last few years, countless old hits and new releases that have gone viral on the platform have simultaneously experienced bumps in popularity in sales and streaming, as fans search out the songs they hear on the app. In February, Atlantic Records denied to Newsweek that it planned a viral moment for the song “abcdefu” by GAYLE, which had gone viral on TikTok before it reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Halsey isn’t the first entertainer to complain about having to market their songs on the app. Charli XCX posted a TikTok in October making fun of her label for asking her to make her “eighth TikTok of the week.” In March, Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine posted a TikTok captioned “the label are begging me for ‘low fi tok toks’ so here you go.” Ed Sheeran posted a video Sunday joking about having to make promotional material for his new song.
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