Apparently Zayn Malik is the latest artist to fall prey to his label's efforts to control and possibly sabotage his career.
It all began when Brazilian producer Rafael Allmark spoke to fans privately about a collaboration with Zayn that was going to be released. The fans excitedly posted about the new song, which was supposed to be released today, February 12th. It began charting in some countries—but it turned out that Zayn had not known about or approved the song's release.
"The track was completed in 2018 but Malik's label would not let Allmark release it at the time due to Zayn's second album releasing soon," said the Twitter account @zayndata1 in an exclusive statement to Popdust. "Allmark claims he did not know that the vocals were Zayn's when they were first sent to him and only knew when he was instructed my RCA Records not to release the song… Allmark clarified that he was not comfortable releasing without Zayn's consent and it was extremely unprofessional that his label did not try to stop the release or ask consent from Zayn."
The song was pulled from the airwaves after Zayn's tweet, leaving fans stunned and suspicious.
After this incident, many fans are starting to question Zayn's label and his contract, which was orchestrated by Simon Cowell. They cited the fact that Zayn's last album, Icarus Falls, received inadequate promotion from the label, RCA. Some believe Zayn was the subject of a smear and suppression campaign by the label, which released physical copies of Icarus Falls two weeks late in many cases and even failed to release physical copies in dozens of countries around the world.
"The label is holding me back but I promise I am doing everything I can to get my music to you," Zayn tweeted in 2018 before the release of Icarus Falls.
Fans have reason to be suspicious of RCA, which is an imprint of Sony. Many artists have spoken out about abuse they received from labels under the Sony umbrella. When she was in an abusive relationship with manager Tony Mottola, the co-owner of Universal Group (an imprint of Sony), Mariah Carey had difficulty escaping due to the amount of control he exercised over her career. Similarly, Kesha's lawsuit against Dr. Luke, a producer who worked for RCA—Zayn's new label—claimed that the "Tik Tok" singer experienced prolonged sexual and psychological abuse, but Kesha has still been forced to pay Dr. Luke thousands of dollars in royalties. And the story of labels taking control of their artists is as old as the music industry itself.
Of course, maybe fans should channel their energy into supporting Zayn's music. The people have the power, and together, we can all give Zayn's music the attention it deserves.