Blog: X-Factor Is Killing The Music Business

August 4, 2010

My first blog post over at Gigwise is a nice rant about the X-Factor, check it!

Later this month the same old glorified talent show format will be returning to the prime time Saturday night slot on ITV, that’s right the X-Factor. Simon Cowell’s money machine is crawling its way back onto our screens for a seventh series. Now there’s nothing wrong with showcasing the best musical talent that the country has to offer, but sadly this isn’t the case.

Read the rest of the article here:


We All Raged Together

December 21, 2009

It happened, it bloody well happened didn’t it! Rage Against The Machine made it the Christmas number one spot in the UK and beat the sodding X Factor for the first time in five years. Since joining the group on Facebook a few weeks ago I thought it was just going to be another group that tries to achieve something but none of the group members actually do anything about it – this though was different. Read the rest of this entry »

The Money In Hallelujah

December 24, 2008

It has been the subject of much debate at scrutiny over the past week or so, whether it’s the old ‘whose version is best?’ argument or the ‘why release this song at all?’ debacle. Either way the majority of people have an opinion on the song and it’s place in the Christmas charts. However, how much money has the song actually generated for both Alexandra Burke and Jeff Buckley who went straight into numbers 1 and 2 respectively – despite the original version going in at number 36.

Leonard Cohen however I feel should be at number 36 as his version isn’t the best, albeit his own song, Buckley’s version is much better. But no matter whose version is best, the bulk of the money earned through single sales goes to the songwriter which was Leonard Cohen.

Alexandra Burke recieved £150,000 for winning the X-Factor and has since sold 576,000 copies of her version of Hallelujah – outselling the entire top 20 combined. Based on the premise that all purchases were downloads, the total money earned rolls in at £442,400. Jeff Buckley’s rendition sold 81,000 copies which comes in at £63,990.

The average songwriter royalty is between 8 and 25%, which means Leonard Cohen has earnt between £40,511 and £126,597, couple this with the royalties paid for performances and broadcast then Cohen has drummed up a rather nice sum from not actually doing anything.

Overall then Alexandra Burke may have won the X-Factor and have the fastest selling download single ever, but she hasn’t earnt that much from it once the record company, distributors, promoters etc take their share. So Cohen has most likely earned more money from Burke’s own rendition than she has, which is the lovely perk of songwriting.

Merry Christmas everyone!

This Week’s Releases – 15th December

December 15, 2008

10 days ’til Christmas everyone, and the race to be Christmas number one is hotting up! As such the album releases this week have been dire, not one I feel needs a mention. Partly because I don’t know/care about the artist’s releasing them and partly because they won’t put a dent in the album charts this week – it seems Take That have it covered, being #1 for the past 2 weeks.

The singles this week though are fairly Christmassy, some more so than others. So let’s run through those which should be acknowledged for this festive season.

The first single which springs to most people’s minds at the moment is of course Alexandra Burke’s version of Hallelujah. There are already so many versions of Leonard Cohen’s now infamous song, and this I’m afraid is not one of the best. Having listened to it a few times I can’t see the point in releasing this particular song, despite it’s religious theme at this time of year. The song is about King David’s harp playing being used to soothe King Saul, something which I’m sure Miss Burke doesn’t know as Cowell and Co. have found a nice crowd pleaser in Hallelujah and couldn’t care what the song is about as long as it sells. Which, sadly, I’m sure it will.

The next single (which is my personal favourite of all the Christmas songs this year) is Geraldine McQueen’s Once Upon A Christmas Song. That’s right Peter Kay’s transexual alter-ego has finally released his/her Christmas song which I have to say isn’t that bad. Obviously it’s a parody of other Christmas songs and how the same one’s are played year after year, which is true. I not only want this song to reach #1 for it’s musical/comedy value but to also stop the X-Factor from claiming yet another Christmas number one! It’s getting ridiculous, and I think this song is the one to stop them.

The final single to come to my attention this week is another festive tune, but this time from The Wombats featuring Les Dennis! You read correctly, Les Dennis has teamed up with the indie poppers who brought us Kill The Director and Let’s Dance To Joy Division to release their new song Is This Christmas. Sadly Les Dennis only features in the video, I haven’t heard him in the song, perhaps he’s just hiding in the mix somewhere. The song is fairly harmless, just what you’d expect from a Christmas song by The Wombats. Happy, chirpy singing and slightly cliché lyrics but it’s what you expect at this time of year really.

Overall these are the three main contenders for Christmas number one, there are also singles this week from Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight and Snow Patrol – but who cares? More indie awfulness to fill the airwaves at this special time of year, bring back Wizzard and Slade! They knew how to write Christmas tunes.

The Farce That Is Christmas Number One

December 4, 2008

As the name suggests, Christmas number ones are a farce. Simple really. Technically speaking for a song to be even considered for a Christmas number one it should be fairly festive, this however is not the case. In reality Christmas number one will go to the artist who has been promoted the most over the past month. This then should mean that the Christmas number one is pointless, as it is just the same as any old number one.

In an ideal world the fight for Christmas number one should comprise of artists promoting their own Christmas song, then we’d see who has more talent. For someone to write a good Christmas song at all it a fairly difficult task, but to fend off other competitors and win a ‘prize’ as it were is something else.

This however will never happen, instead the number one single over the festive period is just a marketing ploy.

The past 10 years of Christmas number one singles:

1998: Spice Girls – Goodbye
1999: Westlife I Have A Dream/Seasons in the Sun
2000: Bob The Builder – Can We Fix It?
2001: Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman – Somethin’ Stupid
2002: Girls Aloud – Sound Of The Underground
2003: Michael Andrews & Gary Jules – Mad World
2004: Band Aid 20 – Do They Know It’s Christmas?
2005: Shayne Ward – That’s My Goal
2006: Leona Lewis – A Moment Like This
2007: Leon Jackson – When You Believe

Over the past 10 years there has been one song related to Christmas and that was a re-release from 20 years before.

From 2005-2007 the X-Factor has dominated the Christmas #1 spot, and only one of those acts has actually made a success of themselves. Leon Jackson and Shayne Ward haven’t really took off in the music world and I doubt they ever will.  2002 also went to reality TV, this time in the guise of Popstars: The Rivals. Girls Aloud have become great successes in the pop world but no-one can call Sound Of The Underground a festive song at all. The previous year Robbie and Miss Kidman took the number one spot with another non-seasonal song. The video however was in the Christmas spirit, but that’s it.

So, in the past 10 years of Christmas number ones there has been only one song related to this time of year and one music video. Is there any point in including the word Christmas any more? Should it just be ‘number one on 25th December’?

The whole idea has just become pointless, this is the only time of year that Cliff Richard should be allowed to release a song…at least he knows what to sing about.