Friday, November 13, 2009

046 Cowell Factor: Simon causes X Factor controversy

Simon gets in hot water on the X Factor. Jedward are getting noticed in the US - so please take them! And coming up, I find out how you make money as an indie artist without selling your soul to a major label!

But first…it’s time to check in down at the Fame Games talent Bank. Now I know I’ve mentioned Scottish band Logan before but so what? I’ve been listening to your song Something Else. And Kenny Loggins you have one great rock voice - no wonder John Bon Jovi likes you. But I still prefer your song Somewhere.
And talking of voices - a quick shout out to Gareth Asher in Atlanta. Just looooove the new song Crave.
So what’s been going on in CowellWorld?
Well…Simon is causing chaos and controversy on the X Factor - I just love meeting people that don’t watch this show - and then I hear myself having to describe the twins. Well…you may hate the twins - but ITV clearly love them as the price now for a 30-second commercial on the show has risen to £250,000!!

And you guys in the US are clearly watching the show on the web as Tiffanie Knight from Tennessee proves
She says - Hey Tony!
I'm sure your show is fuming with Cowell/Xfactor controversy. Being a huge Simon supporter, I must say what he did on last week's show is classic Simon. He is famous for creating shows that leave it up to the public. Had Lucie's fans actually VOTED she would have NEVER been in the bottom two. I admire Simon for sticking to what he does in letting Britain decide their fate. Anyone who gives Simon stick for his decision clearly doesn't appreciate the "Cowell way." Like the decision or not, he's a television genius.
How right you are I Tiffany.

Also, I’m extremely grateful to Kimberley Thurau for the heart warming pics she sent me of Simon and Paula - which you can see on my blog page - ahh, those happy times when they both looked well…almost…in love! But that was then.

Meanwhile I hear that next season Idol is going to do its “Idol Gives Back.” You know…where loads of money is raised for charity and the ratings go up. But will that be enough to keep Idol in business? From what I hear from you, NO. But will you really boycot the show just because Paula is no longer there? Or will you secretly watch and not tell your friends? We’ll see.
So here’s the thing…Elton John said… no matter what record company you're with, they're going to try to hype you, because all record companies are interested in, is making money.

Mmmm….so…I couldn’t help but wonder…how do you really make money in this business without a major record label behind you? Well…PledgeMusic is one company that appear to have the answer - by helping indie artists to raise capital from their fans.

Benji Rogers, an indie artists himself, set up Pledge music a year ago along with Malcolm Dunbar - a former A&R guy from Warners and Universal.

Benji claims he got tired of playing great shows, selling loads of CD’s but never having any money. I asked Benji and Malcolm to explain how the PledgeMusic concept actually works and how it can help you.

Listen to my blog now to hear my interview with them!

Look - as these guys make clear - there will always be artists that suit the major labels. I get that. But some artists can actually prosper by taking this route. At the end of the day you want to continue to make music - so it makes sense to keep gigging - build that loyal fan base - and ensure you keep your fans with you all the way.

If you wanna know more about Pledge music - take a look at their website at

I’m Tony Cowell - and you’ve just heard the Cowell Factor.

Email me and tell me what you think:

The Cowell Factor

If you've only got ONE shot at FAME you might as well get it right!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

045 Cowell Factor: What’s more important - the ability to sing - or the ability to entertain?

Is Idol boss Simon Fuller working with my brother to bring X Factor to America? - I have a hunch. And…what’s more important to an artist - the ability to sing - or the ability to entertain? I find out!

But first – Let’s get down into the Fame Games talent bank - and this week I have to mention Chicago band Beckon Q. I’m really impressed with your song Written On My Soul. Your voice Becky is hypnotic. Great sound.

And now up to New York for Natalie Major and your song Hide and Seek. Yea, like this a lot Natalie - and also your balled Lullaby. You have one big voice - and one big future.

So what’s been going on in CowellWorld? Some of you have emailed me saying - Tony, we’re not interested in hearing about the X Factor - We only wanna know whether there is going to be an American X Factor. And so many of you say - as Paula is no longer on idol - you wont bother to watch it next year.

Diane Andrews says:

Hey Tony.
I hope Paula & Simon will be two of the judges. I have watched a couple of episodes and I think the format is far superior to the Idol format. Especially the part where the judges sort of compete with each other. (you mean mentor Diane) It’s far more interesting than boring old Idol. Also they have groups compete, which makes it more interesting. Hope to see the show happen.

Oh It will Diane. It will.

Talking of Idol, I notice Kris Allen’s first single is a cover of The Scripts Live like We’re Dying. Mmm, covers are a bit of a cop out 19 Management. Do you like Kris? Is he your Idol - Let me know please.

By the way, I forgot to mention this a couple of weeks ago. If you thought my Simon and Simon Fuller hate each others guts - then why was Fuller at Simon’s 50th birthday party? Have they made up? Well, till Mr. Cowell takes the X Factor to America, that is. Or…is that what it’s all about -- they’re both working on this deal. Well Fuller wasn’t giving anything away. So…once again, we’ll have to wait and see.

So here’s the thing…Robbie Williams said “I’ve nothing against anyone following their dream - but not if there’re crap.” Mmm – can’t imagine what show he’s talking about.
Now Last week Simon called one of the contestants on X Factor “a singing candle.” In other words - great voice but no stage presence. She’s just motionless on stage when she sings. On the other hand The Twins can’t sing - but move around the stage like two kids possessed. So…I couldn’t help but wonder…what’s more important - the ability to sing or the ability to entertain? What is it that the record buying public actually want from you artists? Well, for two kids who can’t sing - the twins are clearly getting a hell of a lot of votes from girls who think they’re entertaining.
The twins and the singing candle are both under 21. Time enough then, for them both to learn each others skills. But whether it’s the X factor or Idol - the one thing we never know about these contestants until the shows over - is whether they can actually write songs.

As I’ve said before - that’s your pension. All my favourite Idol artists who have gone on to make a great career have been good songwriters.

So, is success all about looks then? Sure…We live in a beauty-obsessed society, so if you don’t look good, do music producers think you won’t be able to attract a large fan base?

I got to be honest, there are thousands of singers out there with a great voice - the whole world has talent. But as far as dance is concerned: You don’t have to be a ballerina, but an ability to move well on stage is kinda important. Very few artists have both qualities in abundance - though Michael Jackson comes to mind.

And what about the candle factor - stage presence. Do you bring the house down when you are on stage, or do you simply stand there and sing like the candle girl?

At the end of the day - for me, it’s always going to be about the songwriting: Ok, you have a great voice, but the reality is that if you are not writing your own songs – and great ones, too – you will, in my opinion, never have a long-term career. And that’s why I’m convinced that musical platforms like Fame Games are going to play such a huge role in the future of music.

Email me and tell me what you think, Is Kris Allen your Idol?:

The Cowell Factor

If you've only got ONE shot at FAME you might as well get it right!!