Country star Morgan Wallen today unexpectedly released a new recording of his 2015 track called “Spin You Around (1/24),” following in the footsteps of Taylor Swift in an attempt to overshadow what the artists thinks are earlier and inferior versions released by former business partners and current rights holders.
In Wallen’s case, the move to release the new version follows news that Wallen’s old Panacea Records label, which released Morgon’s first batch of songs back in 2015, are re-releasing them recordings today agasint Wallen’s wishes. The country singer has said he signed with the label in 2014 when he was 21, ill-informed in the ways of business and without legal representation.
More from Deadline
Apparently unable to stop the release of what Wallen considers recordings inferior to his more recent and highly successful music, Wallen re-recorded one of the songs – “Spin You Around” – as “Spin You Around (1/24), hoping fans’s focus on that new record would overshadow the old stuff.
The tactic is similar, if in drastically abbreviated form, to what Taylor set about doing after she broke ranks with former Big Machine Records label, founder Scott Borchetta and new owner Scooter Braun, pledging – and keeping her word – to re-record at least four of her earlier full-length albums that could render the Braun-owned discs severely less valuable if not entirely worthless.
In a social media post Wallen explained his decision, writing that “colleagues I parted ways with almost 10 years ago” had released his old EP today, without his consent, to streaming platforms.
“I’m writing y’all from a duck hunting trip because I want to fill you in on something happening tonight,” Wallen wrote. “Back in 2014, I went to Florida to try my hand at making original music & songwriting for the first time. This led to a recording deal with a local investor & an artist management deal that I deeply regret.
“Unfortunately, I signed both deals without any legal representation,” he wrote. “We made 13 songs. Some were ok, most were terrible as I was just learning how to write in general & figuring it all out.
“For months I’ve been exploring every avenue possible to acquire the rights to this old music & keep the quality of my catalog consistent with songs I choose to release & believe in,” he writes. “It’s gross, greedy & an example of how the dark side of the music business can suck the soul out of artists.
“I want you to know this is NOT my new music & I don’t want to see this happen to anyone else. I cringe when I listen to these songs & I’m concerned my fans may mistakenly believe this is a new release by me. I begin recording my next project at the end of February. I’m feeling inspired creatively & super excited to make more music I’m proud of.”
In the meantime between now and the end of February, Wallen has re-recorded the one track for release today, with intentions to donate $100,000 from his Morgan Wallen Foundation to the Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals For The Arts (VLPA) program.
In a statement to Deadline’s sister publication Variety, Panacea Records’ label head William Ray said he stands by the release of the old material. “We love the songs and believe some of his fans will love it too. We are excited to finally get these songs out to the world.”
Best of Deadline