Which record label is Halsey signed to? Singer claims they are not allowed to release music unless they go viral on TikTok

Halsey's record label blocks them from releasing new songs unless they fake a viral moment on TikTok (Image via Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Halsey's record label blocks them from releasing new songs unless they fake a viral moment on TikTok (Image via Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Halsey posted a TikTok on Sunday, May 22, unabashedly calling out their record label for not allowing them to release new music on their own terms. The label — Astralwerks under Capitol Records — is allegedly blocking the singer from releasing "a song I love" unless she amasses a viral moment on TikTok.

Ironically, this video of Halsey venting their frustrations has gone viral on the platform, garnering 7.6 million views and 1 million likes in less than 24 hours. The 29-second clip features the unreleased song in the background.

Halsey's record label sets condition for letting them release new music

The Grammy-nominated singer wrote in the text over the video that their label "won't let me" release "a song that I love that I want to release ASAP."

They continued:

“I’ve been in this industry for eight years and I’ve sold over 165 million records, and my record company is saying I can’t release [the song] unless they can fake a viral moment on TikTok.”

This TikTok is another nod to the increasing influence of advertising and marketing across the music industry. Record labels would be remiss to ignore how virality on TikTok can boost a song's reach manifold, especially in today's age of streaming.

Orchestrating new music releases around appeasing TikTok's algorithm for promotion seems to be more characteristic for new artists who are just starting out. It hardly seems like a mandate for an artist who has made a name for themselves over the past eight years in the industry, as Halsey pointed out.

She concluded the video by saying:

“Everything is marketing and they are doing this to every artist these days. I just want to release music, man and I deserve better tbh (to be honest). I’m tired.”

A tweet by the Bad at Love singer revealed that the irony of this particular TikTok going viral completely flew over the heads of their record label executives, who only focused on the 'TikTok going viral' aspect of it. Unfortunately, even this "viral moment" wasn't enough for Astralwerks to give Halsey the green signal to release the song.

Several fans naively suggested that the singer should release the song without the label's go-ahead, but their hands are bound since the song's masters are owned by the label. Halsey tweeted that the unreleased song's "music video is already done," directed by her partner Alev Aydin, whom she shares her 10-month-old son with.

The singer also addressed accusations that they had falsely concocted this entire thing, writing:

This is not the first time Halsey has butted heads with her label. In the sole interview for their album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, they took another shot at how the music industry makes a mockery of a singer's privacy, telling interviewer Zane Lowe:

“You have to call the CEO of X, Y, Z and say, ‘Hey, hi. I’m just calling to let you know, I’m pregnant. I didn’t want you to find out on Instagram. I wanted to tell you myself, personally. It’s still business as usual over here though, don’t worry.”

They continued:

“My personal choice isn’t going to affect your profitability or your productivity or your assembly line. And also, in what world would you ever have to call me to tell me that you were having a baby? But I have to call you because it impacts your product.”

Halsey's TikTok has kickstarted a broader online discourse that condones how much power TikTok virality holds over record labels' decision-making.

Quick Links

Edited by Khushi Singh