On Sunday, May 22, Halsey took to TikTok to say that “marketing” is stopping her from sharing new music. The singer expressed his frustration with his label for holding back an upcoming release until the singer could get a “viral moment on TikTok”.
“Basically I have a song that I love and want to release ASAP,” Halsey wrote on a video of themselves. “But my label won’t let me.”
The unreleased track appears to be playing in the background of TikTok, sharing a snippet of the song despite her label’s decision.
“I’ve been in the music industry for 8 years and I’ve sold over 165 million records and my record company says I can’t release it unless they can fake a viral moment on tik tok,” they continued. “It’s all about marketing. and they do that to pretty much every artist these days. I just want to release Music Man and I deserve better. I’m tired.”
Ironically, the TikTok has gone viral on its own, prompting heated responses from its music industry peers and fans alike.
Indie singer Sizzy Rocket shared her similar experience with the music industry, which eventually led her to start her own record label.
“Halsey’s tik tok just scratches the surface of what’s going on in music right now,” the singer wrote. “Every major label in this industry has called me to write for their viral artists but won’t touch my project because ‘my numbers aren’t high enough.’ that’s why I created my own label…”
She went on to say, “Artistic freedom and the power to create is everything and we must NEVER forget that.”
Singers FKA Twigs and Charli XCX have all acquiesced to the growing demand for artists to make TikToks despite their long careers and commercial success.
twitter user @phleshamnesiac screenshots shared of the three artists on TikTok saying: “what do charli xcx, fka twigs & halsey have in common?”
Hungry for new music from the “Bad at Love” singer, Halsey fans shared their disappointment with the label’s decision on social media.
twitter user @odetokarleigh pledged his support for the singer, saying, “you were successful before tik tok, you will continue to be successful without tik tok.”
Fan @anyainthealps added, “the fact that an artist like halsey, who turned out to be a force of nature, doesn’t have the freedom to release THEIR music unless the song goes viral on tiktok is moronic. like s they needed a bigger platform than their incredibly supportive fans.
While there’s no shortage of Halsey supporters, some social media users take the opposite stance, saying the whole of TikTok was a marketing scheme in itself.
User @fredro said on Twitter: “If Halsey’s Tik Tok rant about her record label won’t release her song without it going viral on Tik Tok, then the rant went viral with the song playing in the background was a stunt planned public relations, so whoever came up with this diet needs a fucking promotion!!”
Celebrity Drama Account @teapublyssity said: “Halsey just pulled off the ultimate publicity stunt. She went on tiktok complaining that her label wouldn’t let her release a new song “unless they can fake a TikTok viral moment”, while also faking a TikTok viral moment and publicizing her new song.
Whether it’s a publicity stunt in itself or an outright outcry from the singer, the music industry’s reliance on TikTok is becoming more evident with each new viral track and every celebrity who sign up for the app. Clearly not everyone is a fan of the tactic.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy