In a statement shared on his website, Morrissey cited the label’s “new plans for ‘diversity'” as being the cause of the split. A rep for BMG confirmed to Variety that Morrissey’s deal will not be renewed in a statement that did not address the singer’s comments.
“BMG has released three exceptional Top 10 albums from Morrissey over the past three years, including some of the best work of his career,” BMG’s statement reads. “That three album deal has now come to an end. We wish him well in the next chapter of his career. BMG continues to represent much of Morrissey’s catalogue and are working with his team to ensure it gets the attention it deserves.”
The statement on Morrissey’s website, which alternates between third- and first-person, reads: “BMG Records have dropped Morrissey. Following the March 2020 release of I AM NOT A DOG ON A CHAIN (#1 Scotland, #1 Poland, #3 Britain, #3 France, #10 Spain, #13 Germany, #2, #9, #17, #18 U.S.A. – depending on which official chart you follow), BMG have appointed a new Executive who does not want another Morrissey album. Instead, the new BMG Executive has announced new plans for ‘diversity’ within BMG’s artist roster, and all projected BMG Morrissey releases/reissues have been scrapped.
” ‘This news is perfectly in keeping with the relentless galvanic horror of 2020,’ said Morrissey, ‘we would be critically insane to expect anything positive.’ Morrissey is once again in search of a new label willing to release his music.
“’My three albums with BMG have been the best of my career, and I stand by them till death. Recording them has been a pivotal period in my life, and I thank the previous BMG team and everyone involved for that. It’s still important to me to do music my own way, and I wouldn’t want to be on a label that dictates so specifically how their artists should behave – especially when the word ‘talent’ is notably never mentioned.’”
Over the years the notoriously cantankerous singer has made a number of racist-leaning comments criticizing various ethnicities and other groups of people, including Chinese — he told the Guardian in 2010, “Did you see the thing on the news about [China’s] treatment of animals and animal welfare? You can’t help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies”; rape victims — he told Der Spiegel, “I hate sexual situations imposed on someone. But in many cases, one looks at the circumstances and thinks that the person referred to as victim is merely disappointed”; and said on his website in 2018 that London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is British-Pakistani, “He cannot talk properly!”
Morrissey also has a long history of disputes with record labels dating back to his years as lead singer of the Smiths. His previous deal, with Capitol subsidiary Harvest Records, ended acrimoniously just a month after the label released his tenth studio album, “World Peace Is None of Your Business.”
In recent months BMG has instituted an “ongoing program to rebalance the music industry in favor of artists and songwriters by abandoning longstanding practices designed to reduce the incomes of musicians,” some of which are racially based. Earlier this year, the company, which was founded in 2008, pledged to review the record contracts from catalogs it has acquired for signs of racial bias.