Special report: Inside the world of label services

James Hanley

When CBS Records committed the cardinal sin of releasing The Clash’s Remote Control as a single without the band’s blessing, the punk icons channelled their fury into the raging Complete Control. “They said we’d be artistically free when we signed that bit of paper,” sneered Joe Strummer on the 1977 polemic. “They meant let’s make a lot of money and worry about it later.”

Mistrust of the industry’s gatekeepers has been a recurrent theme through rock and pop history, as ...

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