It’s no rarity that labels, big and small, reissue the works of former signees to turn a profit. Radiohead’s former home, Capitol/EMI, is doing just that this month.
But it isn’t as common for the artist to fight back.
Morrissey has requested that his fans refrain from buying either of the forthcoming re-issue singles vinyl boxed sets, due Nov. 2 via EMI/HMV/Parlophone. The boycott was announced on a fan site for the former Smiths singer, true-to-you.net (via NME).
“Morrissey does not approve such releases and would ask people not to bother buying them. Morrissey receives no royalty payments from EMI for any back catalogue, and has not received a royalty from EMI since 1992,” said the message.
It went on to ask fans not to “bother” purchasing those, or the Rhino Smiths reissues, and that Moz was not “consulted” on their release.
Of course, Morrissey is one of those artists who attracts the uber-fan, loyalists and completists who often demand the physical version of their favorite recordings, so who knows how many will obey. They must feel somewhat torn, especially with how pretty those things are.
Yet another lesson in controlling your catalog, kids. And another learnin’ in royalties: artists make a fraction of a fraction in album sales to begin with (generally in the single digits) and, if the labels keeps your masters, they can do pretty much anything with them, whether you become a major star on a network television reality series, leave the label, disband or die.
Morrissey most recently released “Years of Refusal” in the U.S. this year and pretty much sells out every show he puts on.