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HMV denies refusing to stock new Morrissey album

By | Published on Tuesday 12 September 2017


HMV has denied claims that it is refusing to stock the new Morrissey album, ‘Low In High School’, due to its artwork. The record is due out through BMG in November.

Over the weekend artist Linder Sterling posted the artwork in question to Instagram, later deleting it. It features a boy standing outside the gates of Buckingham Palace with a sign reading “axe the monarchy” in one hand and an axe in the other.

Fansite then published claims that HMV was refusing to stock the release on the grounds that its artwork is “offensive”, and that “the entire campaign is in jeopardy unless Morrissey and his record company rethink the album cover”.

Following a bit of uproar from the sorts of people who enjoy that kind of thing, HMV issued a statement on Twitter, saying: “Contrary to reports, HMV have not refused to stock the new Morrissey album. BMG shared the artwork with us last week and we are looking forward to continuing to work with BMG on the forthcoming release”.

It continued: “For the second time this year, it appears Morrissey’s camp have made a statement about HMV without being fully aware of the facts”.

That latter point was a reference to claims made by Morrissey himself earlier this year that the retailer was attempting to suppress sales of the limited edition vinyl reissue of The Smiths’ ‘The Queen Is Dead’ single. The musician claimed in June that by limiting sales of that reissue to one per customer, HMV was making “an attempt to freeze sales” because “The Smiths are still thought too radical”.

The retailer countered that it was just trying to stop people buying up copies in bulk to sell at hiked up prices on eBay. Either way, the release sold out in around 24 hours and loads of them ended up on eBay.

When it comes to limiting access to his music, Morrissey is actually better at this himself than any retailer. His last album, ‘World Peace Is None Of Your Business’, was withdrawn from sale shortly after its release when Morrissey cancelled his licensing deal with Universal’s Harvest Records. He attempted to find a new label to re-release the record, but no one really fancied it.

Last month, it was announced that BMG would release the new album, which will hopefully stay on the shelves of HMV (and everywhere else) for a bit longer this time.

BMG itself issued a statement yesterday confirming that HMV had not attempted to censor the new release. The company’s recordings man Korda Marshall said: “Suggestions that HMV is trying to censor Morrissey are wide of the mark. What is true is that the level of excitement and interest in what Morrissey has got to say on this record is phenomenal. Morrissey cannot and will not be silenced”.

The unsilenceable Morrissey himself has not yet commented.