The release of posthumous music is disrespectful

By David Malament, Promotions Manager

With the recent deaths of XXXTentacion, Lil Peep, Avicii and Mac Miller, fans mourn the loss of some of their favorite artists. However, many are longing for all the unreleased music that never made it into the public eye before it was too late.

As a result, these artists’ record labels have been releasing their music posthumously, causing much controversy. Though the release of posthumous music is satisfactory to both the fans and record labels, it is a disrespectful act towards the late artists as they were unable to have a say in their work and such an act should not be allowed.

It is unethical to release a song without an artist’s permission because it is unknown as to what the artist would have wanted and has the ability to upset the people closest to the late artists.

The song “Falling Down” by Lil Peep and XXXTentacion may have brought some fans to tears as it is one of the last times either them will have new music to be discovered again. However, Lil Peep’s friends and family were strongly against it.

According to an Oct. 2018 Consequence of Sound article, X was charged in 2016 with domestic violence, aggravated assault of a pregnant woman, witness tampering and false imprisonment.  Peep’s friends and family stated that Peep would never have allowed that song to be released because he was personally not a fan of X due to the charges against him.

Other than upsetting the family, some of the released songs of deceased musicians could have been emotional spurs of the artist that were meant to be private, not for the public. Releasing a music to the world after an artist death is very similar like going into someone’s diary and reading it to the rest of the world without their permission. Whether or not a label has the permission of the artist’s family, it is wrong to release music without the permission of the person themselves.

As fans we can’t help but to want to hear more music from some of our favorites, but we need to understand that it may not have been what they have wanted. Artists use their music as a way to express their personal feelings. If a living artist wants illuminate their creative process, that is up to them, but when someone is not around anymore to give permission, the act of sharing such music becomes intrusive.

If an artist finishes writing a song or album before their death and did not choose to release it, it is for a reason. If they wanted to, it would have already been released. Whatever the reason for not releasing a song or album, the decision should be respected by labels and fans alike.