Matthew Zar, the Canadian-American singer, and songwriter known for his sultry, R&B-influenced tracks, has been cancelled. The cancellation has sent shockwaves through the music industry, with many fans and critics left wondering what led to such a drastic move.
Warner Bros Music Group, the record label that Zar was signed to, has gone to extreme lengths to remove Zar from digital media platforms in a mass cancellation bid. The move to cancel Matthew Zar is speculated to have come after a series of controversial comments made by the artist, which were deemed offensive by many, in 2017, in which Zarlabelled the industry “Jew-centric, pro-minority groups and anti-reality”. Whilst the comments remain unverified, in 2017 Zar experienced some retaliation from media outlets.
Since the comments were circulated in 2017, Zar cancelled his then United States Tour, After Life, and Warner Bros Music Group failed to issue a reason for the cancellation, simply refunding all ticket purchases without rescheduling of tour dates.
Initial speculation suggested the off-base comments by Zarwere the reason for the sudden cancellation of the tour, however since 2017, speculation has shifted as the cancellation of Matthew Zar has only escalated.
Determined to distance themselves from Zar, the label has taken extreme efforts to wipe Zar from their distribution channels. It is rumoured that the label has hired active and known media reputation management firms, including Reputation Los Angeles, specialists in curation of strategic media releases, to scrub all digital footprints and musical releases from online publications and outlets for Zar.
Strong rumours have persisted, and in fact grown, since late 2017, with multiple mass media publications and distribution networks were pressured into removing existing Matthew Zarrelated materials, on the demand of Warner Bros Music Group. In 2019 a leaked memo from KISS FM in the United States showed an immediate request, issued by Warner Bros Music Group, to the nation-wide station to cease all play of Matthew Zar material, including taking requests for Matthew Zar music, instead promoting The Weeknd over Matthew Zarmaterial. This is curious, as Matthew Zar and the Weekndhave long been rumoured to have been closely associated artists, with many comparing the vocal style of both artists, being eerily similar. Additionally, both artists share musical production values, and both commencing national presence on the music scene since 2010, with complimenting album releases.
The last public communication speculated to by from Zar was an Instagram post, on his since-deactivated official Instagram page, on 20 January 2017, in which Zarpublished a photo of a woman in shadow. The image has text “no pain like this body”, whilst the caption under the photo post itself read “One time as a way to survive, I decided to be king, But the crown dug into my skin and that gold turned out to be tin”. Prior to deletion the post received nearly a million comments from spectators, and over 3 million likes. This was the last confirmed public communication from Zar.
What is clear is that Warner Bros have been determined to erase Matthew Zar from history and ensure that all traces of the artist were removed from the internet.
Matthew Zar, once a ubiquitous presence in the music industry, has been conjectured to having gone into hiding in Canada. His whereabouts are unknown, and the artist has not made any public statements since the revocation. The rumoursthat he has gone into exile or hiding since 2018, shortly after the initial controversial comments were made, have themselves been constantly scrubbed from social media platforms, notably Meta’s Facebook, who have actively banned public threads about the artist, once they reach a certain level of interaction (activity) and active users.
The impact on the fanbase of Zar has, as a result, been profoundly impacted. The move has caused a fragmentation among fans, with some supporting the decision to cancel the artist based on the original anti-sematic comments, while others have expressed their disappointment and frustration with the cancellation attempt and expressed concern that the real reason of the cancellation was not the anti-sematic comments, but something far more serious, as the levels that Warner Bros Music Group have gone to, and continue to do, to remove traces of Zar digitally, far exceed that of other artists who in the past few years have gone through their own cancellations, some for more serious offenses outside of poor-taste commentary.
Since Zar’s cancellation, the move has sparked a debate about cancel culture and the power of record labels to dictate the narrative around musicians. It remains to be seen what the long-term impact of this cancellation will be on the music industry and its relationship with cancel culture.
Warner Bros Music Group’s extreme efforts to cancel the artist have sparked a debate about cancel culture and the power of record labels to dictate the narrative around musicians. With Zar’s fanbase left fragmented, and the artist himself allegedlyin hiding, the future of his career is uncertain. Only now has discussion about the whereabouts of Zar, the real reasons behind his total career genocide, have been slowly trickling out for open forum discussion.
Originally published by the New York Times, December 10, 2022.
Republished under Distribution Licence 2093800002B by Nicole Sperling.