There is a batch of “new” Morgan Wallen product in the marketplace — and he would very much like you to not listen to it. The country superstar took to his social media Thursday night to ask fans not to stream eight just-released tracks that he recorded back in his pre-Big Loud days, indicating that he’s not particularly proud of them and is angry the decade-old material is coming out against his wishes.
To counter that, Taylor Swift-style, he has re-recorded a previously released song from the same batch that the contested tunes came from — “Spin You Around” — to give fans something to listen to while, he hopes, they’re avoiding the decade-old material that just got picked up off the cutting room floor.
“I want you to know this is NOT my new music & I don’t want to see this happen to anyone else,” Wallen wrote on Instagram. “I cringe when I listen to these songs & I’m concerned my fans may mistakenly believe this is a new release by me,” he wrote. “It’s gross, greedy & an example of how the dark side of the music business can suck the soul out of artists.”
After Wallen released his statement, Variety reached the head of the label that is putting out the new material, Panacea Records’ William Ray, who stands by the release of the eight previously unheard tracks coming out Friday morning.
“We love the songs and believe some of his fans will love it too,” says Ray. “We are excited to finally get these songs out to the world.”
Five of the songs had previously been released in 2015 as an EP, “Stand Alone,” which Wallen had been willing to stand behind. Now, Panacea re-released the project as a “10th anniversary” deluxe project with the eight additional tracks that were recorded at the time, more than doubling the length. Wallen calls most of the previously unreleased material “terrible.”
Panacea’s expanded edition of the “Stand Alone” project and Wallen’s re-recording of “Spin You Around” are coming out simultaneously on streaming services, at midnight ET.
Wallen said he learned of the old music coming out while he was duck-hunting, and actually put together a cover for the new “Spin You Around” single while he was out on the hunt.
He also said he plans to begin a new album in February, following up on two of the most commercially successful albums of the modern era. “Trust me, when new music is ready, you’ll hear it directly from me,” he wrote.
Wallen was in the news earlier Thursday, in a more harmonious development, as he and Eric Church announced plans to relaunch the Field & Stream brand, as part of a group that purchased rights to the magazine and its retail branches. A Field & Stream Music Festival is being planned for the fall under Church’s and Wallen’s oversight.
Wallen’s statement about the disputed “Stand Alone” tracks, in full:
I’m writing y’all from a duck hunting trip because I want to fill you in on something happening tonight.
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.
We made 13 songs. Some were ok, most were terrible as I was just learning how to write in general & figuring it all out. I was not the only collaborator, so many of these songs were not my idea nor to my standards. We deemed 5 worthy-enough to make the Stand Alone EP which includes a fan-favorite, “Spin You Around.”
Tonight, those colleagues I parted ways with almost 10 years ago plan to release a “10th Anniversary” edition of Stand Alone against my wishes & include 8 unreleased songs, distributing it with the assistance of my former managers. 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.
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.
1. I re-recorded “Spin You Around (1/24)” this week in Nashville & it comes out TONIGHT.
Thank you Joey Moi & Bryan Sutton. I did the artwork myself while in the woods duck hunting. Hope you like it, lol.
2. I am donating $100k from the Morgan Wallen Foundation to the Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals For The Arts (VLPA) program. I hope young aspiring musicians read this story & know they should never have to give up their creative freedoms for an opportunity in this business.
3. Trust me, when new music is ready, you’ll hear it directly from me.