After decades in the industry, singer Darren Hayes knows a thing or two about how how important an artist’s vision is. That understanding has him speaking out against a recent posthumous production of former gay contemporary, George Michael.
Sony recently released a new video for Michael’s song “Fastlove”, compiled from outtakes and behind the scenes clips from the filming of the original. These clips included set-ups for shots that weren’t in the original, incomplete dance moves, and plenty of clapboards.
The full BTS video went up earlier this month:
This weekend, the former Savage Garden vocalist took to Twitter to protest the video.
Hayes argued that there’s a reason these outtakes were, well, taken out:
I’m positive George Michael would be mortified by the ‘outtakes’ version of the ‘Fastlove’ video Sony just released. He was so particular about his image and especially how he was photographed. It bothers me how corporations stop respecting artist wishes when they pass. Cont.
— Darren Hayes (@darrenhayes) October 16, 2022
“There’s a reason why footage is left on a cutting room floor or demos are left unreleased,” he continued. “If an artist didn’t release something in their lifetime it’s safe to assume it was intentional.
“I think it’s a real violation of the artistic process to dig up unfinished or unreleased material without a living artist’s express consent.”
Responses ranged from commenters criticizing Sony for the move to bringing up other such instances. Some cited the posthumous self-titled Michael Jackson album, the recently unearthed Queen song, or the recent David Bowie NFTs as what they view as artistic exploitation.
This dispute joins a larger discussion around artists’ legacies that’s been going on for years. In cases like Whitney Houston’s hologram being used for performances or the recent, highly-criticized Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde, a thin line between tribute and misappropriation sometimes seems crossed.
Along with the new video of cutting room floor material, the label released a “Making of the Video” short with commentary by the creators of the original video.