David Joseph, CEO and Chairman of Universal Music UK, claims to have destroyed all of Amy Winehouse‘s unreleased material to prevent any future posthumous album releases.
The label boss has defended his actions, labelling it “a moral thing”.
He told Billboard: “Taking a stem or a vocal is not something that would ever happen on my watch. It now can’t happen on anyone else’s.”
The move breaks the trend of labels releasing albums of deceased artists’ unreleased demos. Since Winehouse’s death of accidental alcohol poisoning in 2011, there has been just one album release: that year’s ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’,’ which now looks to be the last record from the late singer.
The compilation received lukewarm acclaim, with NME calling the track ‘Like Smoke’ “a rather minor addition to the Winehouse legacy”.
The news follows in the wake of the new documentary Amy, focusing on her rise and fall.
The film was criticised in the same Billboard feature by Winehouse’s former A&R man, Darcus Beese, who said that he hoped audiences feel “embarrassed” when they saw the documentary for “murdering” Winehouse. He added: “The film was an eye-opener. I didn’t realise we were signing a girl who was broken.”
Amy was directed by Asif Kapadia, award-winning director of Senna, and gets a general release on July 3.
David Joseph, who was an executive producer of the film, said American audiences were initially unsure of whether Winehouse merited the celebrity status she quickly climbed to during her career.
“She never spent enough time [in the United States] for people to get a sense of her outside of being drunk and sloppy,” Joseph told Billboard.
“Some asked, ‘Are you making a film about a drug addict?’ People didn’t even realise she wrote her own lyrics.”
You can read NME’s review of the film here.