A couple of weeks ago, British singer Rachel Agatha Keen – known in the music world simply as Raye – complained on Twitter that her record label was preventing her from releasing an album. And earlier this week, it was revealed Polydor and Raye have now parted ways.
The trouble is this leaves far more questions than answers. We probably won’t get most of those because I strongly suspect a clause is in place preventing many of the details being disclosed. We won’t find out, for example, whether Raye had to pay to get out of her contract or whether she was just allowed to leave without penalty. The only thing I’m certain of is Polydor will not be releasing the rights of the master recordings to her as a result.
I also note the brief statement she issued on Monday about the subject. She goes out of her way to praise Polydor – I can’t help but think this is because Raye knows majors typically only let artists go when sales and streams don’t meet expectations. They like to be in charge, because it’s the majors are used to.
Raye will also no doubt be aware that criticising Polydor further at this stage could backfire. If another major comes along in the future, they’re unlikely to offer more generous terms if they suspect she’ll just slag them off on social media later on.
Still, it makes you wonder – how many other artists are out there, pondering whether they could get out of a record contract by simply complaining loudly online about it? If artists at other labels follow this path, let’s just say Tom March and Ben Mortimer, head honchos at Polydor, are unlikely to be on the Christmas card list this year…