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My Article/Blog on Music

IF you have a spare moment could you read my article on the influence of Simon Cowell in modern day music, which for me is ruining it.
I would appreciate your feedback but please take into account that i am only 15 and this is the first ever time i have done this.

Simon Cowell has made me lose interest in music

5 years ago the idea of X Factor and Pop Idol didn’t seem that bad. Pop Idol produced Will Young who despite me disliking him turned out to be a decent singer and a decent pop artist. Next up was Michelle McManus...Yeah, remember her? ...Thought not! What did she do after Pop Idol? ...Oh yeah a diet.
X Factor produced decent solo artists but only Leona Lewis has really excelled in their music career, however the rest still make it to the number one slot and some even a Christmas number 1.

Now if you are a modern day musician, how much confidence does it give you if you are a young artist/band trying to break into the charts writing your own stuff and a singer singing other peoples songs/lyrics get number 1? Not a lot. Whose fault is this, Simon Cowell? The public? Producers? In my opinion it’s Simon Cowell; if you sent a demo of your song to him he would either turn it down or encourage you to go on X-Factor. Of course I don’t know that but many musicians have said they had been turned down, for example Mika who turned out to be the sound of 2007 on the BBC website ahead of...Leona Lewis.

The signals that people are getting sick of X Factor are starting to show now especially as the Christmas number 1 last year was occupied by a band who released the song originally 20 years ago! Was this a protest or a laugh? Well this is what the creator of the Facebook group (Jon Morter) did say on the description of the group, "Fed up with Simon Cowell's latest karaoke act being Christmas number one? Me too..."Clearly shows a protest, which thousands signed up to and actually went ahead with it.

Other signs include well known bands/artists blaming X Factor for ‘destroying’ music. Elton John stated, “Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke are at the mercy of the next song they can get.” He then went on to say “It is important they write their own songs, so they are not at the mercy of anyone. Songwriters today are pretty awful”.
Simon Cowell recently said he wouldn’t have put The Beatles through on the X Factor, he said, “'No', (is what) we would have said.’We'll take those three but probably lose the drummer'. Ringo, I'm afraid, we would have said is 'bad news'." Sorry Simon but wasn’t ‘The Beatles’ the biggest band in the 60’s? Whether you like Ringo or not, you cannot question that ‘The Beatles’ would not be the same without him. Of course he meant it as a joke, but that’s what I think of him.

I like to write my own songs, none of which I expect to be a single but it realises my emotions in a way that makes me believe in my music and one day, I could take it up as a hobby. But watching the rubbish that Simon Cowell puts on TV making others watch it like my mum makes me feel that I have no hope in the future, in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s you could send a demo of your song to a DJ and he would either play it or tell you it’s not good enough, never the less we don’t have the ‘John Peel’ DJ’s who give everyone a chance to prove themselves and some have gone on to be better and stronger despite the rejection of Simon Cowell e.g. Mika.

Of course you don’t have to agree with me, but if you are a music lover you can surely see that artists who write their own stuff are better than the ones who don’t. Even Eminem writes his own stuff, that is why his songs are so passionate and creative, that is called raw talent, not singing into a microphone.
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Comments

  • You need to read a book called Kill Your Friends
  • I have heard of that, at the moment haven't really got time to read a book, cause of my exams.
  • It will be good revision. Trust me on this one
  • Hard to believe that you're only 15. Excellently written article whether you agree with it or not. I happen to agree with you.
  • Thanks Eddie, means a lot. In the future i would like to be a sports journalist and i thought it would be a good start by doing something i feel very passionate about other than football. Haha Carter, i'll take that into account :)
  • [cite]Posted By: StubleyAddick[/cite]Thanks Eddie, means a lot. In the future i would like to be a sports journalist and i thought it would be a good start by doing something i feel very passionate about other than football. Haha Carter, i'll take that into account :)

    I shite thee not, it will provide you a very good backbone to what actually happens inside the music industry, more directly in the head of an A&R man. Those who really control what you listen to
  • Good article.

    I agree with almost everything you say. As a 52 year-old (amateur) musician myself, what really annoys me is the focus on singers and "boy bands", none of whom can get a note out of any musical instrument. It's interesting to contrast that with Strickly Come Dancing, which harps back to the Big Band era when the musicians were all important and the singer was employed by the band leader. I have to say, apart from that one aspect I am not a fan of SCD.

    One thing though, some of the all-time greatest singers sang other peoples' songs - Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, etc.
  • Cheers Carter, thats the reason i put this article up was to find out more really, like i said Music is a passion of mine and i wanted to write about it, to get me started on writing articles and blogs etc etc.
  • edited November 2010
    [cite]Posted By: Saga Lout[/cite]Good article.

    I agree with almost everything you say. As a 52 year-old (amateur) musician myself, what really annoys me is the focus on singers and "boy bands", none of whom can get a note out of any musical instrument. It's interesting to contrast that with Strickly Come Dancing, which harps back to the Big Band era when the musicians were all important and the singer was employed by the band leader. I have to say, apart from that one aspect I am not a fan of SCD.

    One thing though, some of the all-time greatest singers sang other peoples' songs - Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, etc.

    Thanks for the feedback,

    I totally understand some Bands/artists singing other people's songs..my favourite band, (due to my upbringing) is the Stranglers did quite a lot of cover versions but people realised that it was a cover version because they would often state that it was on a tour/gig. I was more talking about cover versions which many people believe is actually wrote by the group who covered a song i.e some people i know didn't know "Shout" by Dizzee Rascal was a cover version of the Tears for Fears song. Thats what really annoyed me about modern music.
  • [cite]Posted By: StubleyAddick[/cite]Even Eminem writes his own stuff, that is why his songs are so passionate and creative, that is called raw talent, not singing into a microphone.

    What do you mean 'even Eminem', the man is God... Sing for the moment is lyrically one of the best songs ever imo
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  • Interesting piece. Had a music fanzine at your age so know how hard it is to write.Keep up the music and the writing. Revolt into Style is another worthwhile read.

    Unfortunately have to say I disagree with your basic premise. Cowell is just the latest in a long lane The beatles were put in suits and dumped another drummer cos ringo fitted the image. The stones dropped their ugly pianist.

    But fear not the recession means that there will be a revival of garagebands and young angry musicians. Maybe you' ll be one of them. There will be, as you say, a reaction to Cowell.
  • edited November 2010
    Up The Addicks- Yeah i am not slating him ;)..i really like his music, i was trying to show how modern musicians who are popular can write their own stuff. :)
  • Good article and while I agree with your dislike for Cowell I would disagree with your stance about new artists trying to break through. The internet and digital radio offer a huge platform for anyone with half a talent for writing, this in turn has led to a thriving live scene around the country and includes towns that in the past would have been ignored for new talent. Yes it is still difficult to get picked up but if you land that one hit song it is probably easier than ever.

    On the other hand those that enter X factor, you can hardly say that is easy. Thousands enter and only one winner, Mr Cowell. Like you point out very few have had what you could call careers, so say someone is lucky enough to win the competition there is still the very high likelihood they won't have a music career at all.

    Like I said good article and well written even discounting your age. Keep it up, it's healthy to debate issues like this and definitely keep up the song writing. It shouldn't be about looking for that number 1 but expressing your opinions and how you feel should be the priority.
  • [cite]Posted By: Henry Irving[/cite]Interesting piece. Had a music fanzine at your age so know how hard it is to write.Keep up the music and the writing. Revolt into Style is another worthwhile read.

    Unfortunately have to say I disagree with your basic premise. Cowell is just the latest in a long lane The beatles were put in suits and dumped another drummer cos ringo fitted the image. The stones dropped their ugly pianist.

    But fear not the recession means that there will be a revival of garagebands and young angry musicians. Maybe you' ll be one of them. There will be, as you say, a reaction to Cowell.

    That's fair enough Henners, thanks for the feedback and advice, my interest in music doesn't really involve garagebands, so i won't be involved in that ;) A reaction to Cowell has already started, i often hear bands on interviews saying they have wrote a song in dedication of the hate of Cowell, thats a point i tried to make.
  • Great article very well written, I know nothing about the music industry,my nephew has been trying to breakthrough for a while, the singer of his band (Ashok - now disbanded and replaced by Lyrebird) was Flo, who left and wanted him to follow as "The Machine" but he did not want to commercialise at all (He was also interviewed by Phil Jupitus on Radio 6). It does appear though that Cowell has not totally stopped musicians from breaking through as Flo has proved.

    Dunno about being a sports writer, you would do pretty well as Charlton Lifes music correspondent
  • [cite]Posted By: colthe3rd[/cite]Good article and while I agree with your dislike for Cowell I would disagree with your stance about new artists trying to break through. The internet and digital radio offer a huge platform for anyone with half a talent for writing, this in turn has led to a thriving live scene around the country and includes towns that in the past would have been ignored for new talent. Yes it is still difficult to get picked up but if you land that one hit song it is probably easier than ever.

    On the other hand those that enter X factor, you can hardly say that is easy. Thousands enter and only one winner, Mr Cowell. Like you point out very few have had what you could call careers, so say someone is lucky enough to win the competition there is still the very high likelihood they won't have a music career at all.

    Like I said good article and well written even discounting your age. Keep it up, it's healthy to debate issues like this and definitely keep up the song writing. It shouldn't be about looking for that number 1 but expressing your opinions and how you feel should be the priority.

    Yeah i agree with some of the points you have made there, my lack of knowledge in the 'background' of music, i often think 'new' music isn't on tv as much as it should be. For example, Daybreak often have a band like Take That, or Pixie Lott someone who has already proved in the music industry.

    Thanks Kap, thats a nice complement, good luck to your nephew :)
  • Here's a short burst of how it is

    A & R men/women will get sent thousands of MP3 emails a week from aspiring musicians. 75% of thse emails will be deleted without even being heard, there are more than likely a lot of A&R people who threw the Artic Monkeys demo away without hearing it or giving one look at the CD and not liking the name will have lobbed it. The other 25% gets split into categories of the following.

    1) Lasts for more than 30 seconds on a sterero - then gets binned
    2) Lasts for about 5 seconds then gets binned
    3) Gets a full listen, in the ears of a artists and repetoire suit sounds like it will sell and gets put in a box to come back to and gets forgotten about
    4) Gets a full listen, in the ears of a artists and repetoire suit sounds like it will sell and the band/artist are seen in the flesh and the decsision is made as to whether, with enough money and sound production they will be able to earn enough money to keep said a&r individual in a job and gucci gear for a while or they are tremendously ugly but obscenely talented that they will be able to earn enough money to keep said a&r individual in a job and gucci gear for a while

    Simon Cowell, once upon a time was an A&R man who got very, very lucky. With a lot of hard work but his audience is the working class British Public. And we lap him and his shit up
  • Because that's what appeals to their audience, you won't see the latest up and coming indie band/grime artist/dubstep producer on a weekday breakfast show. To find new music you need to source it yourself, there are numerous websites you can find great new music and plenty of radio stations you can listen to. Discovering music you love should not be a case of accepting what is served up on national TV to the masses, that's exactly what the X factor does.
  • Good article. Some good points raised and I would echoe much of what you said. Simon Cowell great a&r man? No. Great business man, yes. Im currently working in this industry, doing a&r etc. I can't sit here and say the internets a burden but it is hampering the industry. The industry now makes more money through the live sector than through recorded media. I would put that largely down to illegal downloading and free streaming sites like spotify.

    As for the x-factor you've pretty much hit the nail on the head. Simon cowell exploits people to the max. Before the tv rounds (the ones we see) there are two opening stages where judges put through the good, the bad and the ugly knowing full well they will be mocked. And it's not even about being able to sing (katie waisel). She continues to stay in the comp because as a recording artist she has it all and can be marketed easily. Very good article, sorry for any spelling mistakes on me phone!
  • 5 years ago the idea of X Factor and Pop Idol didn’t seem that bad

    ............

    You lost me at that point, it has never been in any way good or beneficial, except to keep the proles happy.

    The whole pop idol/x factor thing wasn't about producing new musicians/bands but about radio and tabloid friendly unit shifters, pop music at that level has always been about chasing radio ratings and reaching that audience. all that's changed is that it's become a lot more cynical and obvious.

    But so what? Just as there are tabloid newspapers there are still quality newspapers and just as there are formulaic airport novels there is still a fair body of critically approved literature in production. On TV inordinate numbers of people watch soap operas but there's still some quality TV out there. You can eat McDonalds or any other brand of fast food trash, or go to a decent restaurant. You can drink mass produced, over-hyped fizzy lager or properly brewed beer and so on. Despite the Simon Cowell stuff there is still decent music being produced and in any case no one over the age of 15 should give a toss what is number one.

    I've never paid any intention to it other than to note that it gives people who don't know much about music something to like. I'm proud to say I've never watched as much as one second of x-factor or any other generic reality TV and I've no intention of changing that.
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  • [cite]Posted By: colthe3rd[/cite]Because that's what appeals to their audience, you won't see the latest up and coming indie band/grime artist/dubstep producer on a weekday breakfast show. To find new music you need to source it yourself, there are numerous websites you can find great new music and plenty of radio stations you can listen to. Discovering music you love should not be a case of accepting what is served up on national TV to the masses, that's exactly what the X factor does.

    Very well said, tons of channels available nowdays to find new, exciting music.


    [cite]Posted By: charlton_hero[/cite]Good article. Some good points raised and I would echoe much of what you said. Simon Cowell great a&r man? No. Great business man, yes. Im currently working in this industry, doing a&r etc. I can't sit here and say the internets a burden but it is hampering the industry. The industry now makes more money through the live sector than through recorded media. I would put that largely down to illegal downloading and free streaming sites like spotify.

    As for the x-factor you've pretty much hit the nail on the head. Simon cowell exploits people to the max. Before the tv rounds (the ones we see) there are two opening stages where judges put through the good, the bad and the ugly knowing full well they will be mocked. And it's not even about being able to sing (katie waisel). She continues to stay in the comp because as a recording artist she has it all and can be marketed easily. Very good article, sorry for any spelling mistakes on me phone!

    I would say a good A&R man is a good business man
  • I agree. But what I'm saying is Simon Cowell doesn't have the qualities of an a&r man, like someone said earlier he's been very lucky.
  • [cite]Posted By: charlton_hero[/cite]I agree. But what I'm saying is Simon Cowell doesn't have the qualities of an a&r man, like someone said earlier he's been very lucky.

    Richard Branson has been consistently lucky too

    I don't like Simon Cowell but I don't think I can knock his nous or his track record in peddling shit to the ever-ready public
  • £600,000 to launch a new artist...thats the reason no one breaks through!
  • [cite]Posted By: windscreen[/cite]£600,000 to launch a new artist...thats the reason no one breaks through!

    Blame commercial radio or music televsion then.

    If the power of the internet was so powerful it would launch many more artists
  • [cite]Posted By: BlackForestReds[/cite]5 years ago the idea of X Factor and Pop Idol didn’t seem that bad

    ............

    You lost me at that point, it has never been in any way good or beneficial, except to keep the proles happy.

    The whole pop idol/x factor thing wasn't about producing new musicians/bands but about radio and tabloid friendly unit shifters, pop music at that level has always been about chasing radio ratings and reaching that audience. all that's changed is that it's become a lot more cynical and obvious.

    But so what? Just as there are tabloid newspapers there are still quality newspapers and just as there are formulaic airport novels there is still a fair body of critically approved literature in production. On TV inordinate numbers of people watch soap operas but there's still some quality TV out there. You can eat McDonalds or any other brand of fast food trash, or go to a decent restaurant. You can drink mass produced, over-hyped fizzy lager or properly brewed beer and so on. Despite the Simon Cowell stuff there is still decent music being produced and in any case no one over the age of 15 should give a toss what is number one.

    I've never paid any intention to it other than to note that it gives people who don't know much about music something to like. I'm proud to say I've never watched as much as one second of x-factor or any other generic reality TV and I've no intention of changing that.

    Sorry that should read...'5 years ago the idea of X Factor/Pop Idol weren't bad in my opinon', only did it in a hour. I was about 6/7 when this stuff was on tv and yes it was entertainment for me at the time, clearly as i have grown up, i have realised it's a load of tosh.

    I appreciate the info everyone has given me, it has made me consider a lot more things of which i didn't when i wrote this article. None of my family have ever been 'invovled' in the music business..which explains my lack of knowledge in the background of music, however i have a lot of passion for music and that explains me writing the article. I have learnt a lot and i really will consider all the points if i do happen to write another/different article.

    Thanks again.
  • Call me a traditionalist, but a band/singer should absolutely go through the whole gigging/on the road/support act/playing indie toilets experience. Learn your craft the hard way, and if you are good, chances are you will make it eventually.

    The problem is that Reality TV has created an instant fame culture, where acts expect to go straight to the top without putting any of the groundwork in beforehand. There has always been manufactured pop, and some of it has even been quite good - but to think that is the only way to make it in the music business is worong in my book.

    As a music lover myself; I have never watched or really have any idea what X-Factor/Britian's Got Talent/Pop Idol is all about - it doesn't interest me in the slightest. It does seem like some kind of karaoke on steroids affair - and if that floats your boat, well good for you.
  • [cite]Posted By: Carter[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: windscreen[/cite]£600,000 to launch a new artist...thats the reason no one breaks through!

    Blame commercial radio or music televsion then.

    If the power of the internet was so powerful it would launch many more artists

    Myspace certainly looked like being a big player in finding new bands a couple of years ago but people deserted it in their millions because they owners would not leave the design of the site alone.
  • [cite]Posted By: Oakster[/cite]Call me a traditionalist, but a band/singer should absolutely go through the whole gigging/on the road/support act/playing indie toilets experience. Learn your craft the hard way, and if you are good, chances are you will make it eventually.

    The problem is that Reality TV has created an instant fame culture, where acts expect to go straight to the top without putting any of the groundwork in beforehand. There has always been manufactured pop, and some of it has even been quite good - but to think that is the only way to make it in the music business is worong in my book.

    As a music lover myself; I have never watched or really have any idea what X-Factor/Britian's Got Talent/Pop Idol is all about - it doesn't interest me in the slightest. It does seem like some kind of karaoke on steroids affair - and if that floats your boat, well good for you.

    I have no interest in these programmes nor do I have any interest in the winners etc. I do understand however the appeal. A tescos cashier suddenly becoming s million seller.

    Just don't call it music
  • On the points about the Beatles and the Stones, they both paid their dues - playing the clubs, building up a local following. And I believe the Stones didn't dump their pianist - he played with them for years, but was never a full member of the band - I don't know why that was, but looking at the rest of 'em it surely wasn't coz he was ugly! They have a strange set-up - when Ronnie Wood joined he was on a salary, so technically he wasn't an equal member of the band either.
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