Backstage from their tour rehearsals on Monday evening (23 May), Halsey revealed that their latest single is being stalled by their record company Capitol Records. 

Their new song, the name of which is yet to be announced, is all set for release. According to Halsey’s Twitter, the music video is already complete and the singer is waiting for a release date from the label.

Yet, Halsey implies that Capitol Records itself is still unlikely to release the record without the singer faking a “viral moment” on TikTok. 

In the TikTok video, Halsey stated in text over a video of themselves listening to the track: “Basically I have a song that I love that I wanna release ASAP, but my record label won’t let me.” 

The star added: “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 unless they can fake a viral moment on TikTok. Everything is marketing. I just want to release music, man. And I deserve better tbh.”

They concluded the video with “I’m tired”.

Later that evening, Halsey released a follow-up video that contained a conversation between themselves and a member of Capitol Records themselves. The video was captioned: “I wish I was kidding lol” and ends in Halsey stating they “just hate this”. 

The video has reached 8.3M views since it was uploaded, the comment section spurring conversations concerning the legitimacy of the video itself.

@halseyI’m tired♬ original sound – Halsey

Many fans believe that they have unpacked the coded messages behind the video – that the video of Halsey complaining about creating content for marketing is itself the content for marketing. 

However Halsey denies this. Responding to a comment, the singer stated: “Bruh, I wish it was. They just said I have to post TikToks they didn’t specifically say ‘about what’ so here I am.” 

Halsey responded to an additional comment stating they were asked to create six viral videos for the app before their single is given a release date. 

After the TikTok generated interest, Halsey took to Twitter to discuss the content they shared and responded to further comments on their social media channels. 

The musician tweeted: “Talked to my label tonight after my tiktok tantrum. They said ‘wow the tiktok is going really strong!’ I was like ok cool so can I release my song now? They said ‘we’ll see!’ tell me again how I’m making this up.”

And again later: “At this point I don’t know what to do because I told the truth about what’s happening and now I STILL don’t have a release date AND some of you think I’m lying about this whole fiasco. so I’m double fucked lol. If you have questions, I have answers. I have nothing to hide.”

@halsey♬ original sound – Halsey

The rise in record labels insisting their artists create TikTok’s has been noted by social media users on Twitter. Over the last few months, many notable musicians have commented on their record labels pushing them to post content on TikTok. Artists who have uploaded these videos include Halsey, Florence Welch, Charli XCX and FKA Twigs. 

FKA Twigs’ video is captioned: “It’s true all record labels ask for are for TikToks I got told off today for not making enough effort,” while Florence’s caption reads: “The label are begging me for ‘low fi tik toks’ so here you go. pls send help ☠️ x.”

Charli XCX posed and mimed to a voiceover while the caption states: “When my label asks me to make my 8th TikTok of the week.”

Halsey’s latest album, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power was released in 2021. The singer is currently on a worldwide tour of the album until July 2022.