Posted: October 16, 2012 by We-Enhance in BEN SEMMENS, SIMON FULLER, X Factor

I read the piece below about Simon Fuller and EMI and which made me decide that, perhaps, all was not gloom and doom in the music industry and how there just could be a game changer and not just the same old farts having their tribal gatherings around bars, talking to themselves, patting themselves on their backs and not making an iota of difference to an industry and business they say they are so passionate about. Bullshit.

These same people have been around for way too long making the same mewing sounds, they lack creativity which means no new ideas and are only in it for the money they can still make outta of it in the name of “Save The Music.” Jimmy Webb summed it all up pretty well in his song, “Mr Shuck And Jive.”

Simon Fuller- and I am proud to call him a friend- is no Mr. Shuck and Jive and neither is Chris Blackwell. One has gone from being a junior A&R guy who produced Paul Hardcastle’s “19″ to being King Of The Entertainment World in a very understated way compared to the I, Me, Mine histrionics of his arch enemy Simon Cowell, a very smart gentleman whom, don’t know why, but I still think of as being the Sarah Palin or Donald Trump of Entertainment.

As for Simon Fuller, he created and owns the “Idol” franchise and manages the careers of the Spice Girls, the Beckhams, Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton, the fabulous Annie Lennox, Carrie Underwood etc while the legendary Chris Blackwell, former head of Island Records, is the total music company guy who has seen it all, signed up many artists, fought for their rights- Marley, U2, King Crimson, Cat Stevens and too many others I can’t think of at the moment including producing the ground-breaking One Giant Leap project which truly embraced the universal appeal of music long before it became the fashionable thing to do and with many fucking it up.

They didn’t have the restraint that Chris Blackwell and his team did. They knew that adding a sitar didn’t make a track “Indian” or “world music.” Far from it: It made it all hokey and pretentious and which is why this clipping below made me smile and go, “Finally! Now THIS is what I call Music to my eyes and ears” and not another music conference with the same old tired faces talking about Spotify and mobility and where artists are seldom discussed or some transparently hyped up record release by Ladies Gaga and Madonna and Britney.

Will Simon Fuller be top of the pops? Cowell’s rival has a £350m plan to snatch EMI’s crown jewels

The Independent 06/10/2012

He’s the svengali to the stars who sits in Andy Murray’s VIP box, masterminded the Spice Girls and turned Pop Idol into a £15 billion global brand. Now Simon Fuller is plotting to outmanoeuvre his great rival, Simon Cowell, by buying EMI’s assets, including the famous Parlophone music label, in an audacious £350 million deal. The Independent has learned that Fuller, 52, is putting together a bid to buy the 60 per cent of EMI’s businesses in Europe, which EC regulators ordered must be sold off after the British record company was bought by the Universal Music giant for £1.2bn. If successful, the British entrepreneur who revolutionised US television with American Idol will become the new owner of Parlophone, the EMI imprint which is home to Coldplay, Kylie Minogue, Blur and Tinie Tempah. He would also take control of the valuable recording catalogues of Pink Floyd, Kate Bush and David Bowie, the Chrysalis (Spandau Ballet) and Mute (Depeche Mode) record labels, and 50 per cent of the best-selling Now! That’s What I Call Music compilations. The stable of stars would be added to a client list which includes David and Victoria Beckham, the Grand Slam-winning Murray and Lewis Hamilton, the Formula 1 star, who negotiated a £60m switch from McLaren to Mercedes under Fuller’s guidance.

The deal would allow Fuller, who began his career as a record company talent scout and formed The Spice Girls, to challenge Simon Cowell as the most powerful talent-broker in the music industry. Fuller hired Cowell as a judge on American Idol but accused him of copying his format when he quit to launch The X Factor.

Fuller’s new record empire would rival Syco, the company dominated by X Factor-created stars which Cowell runs in partnership with Sony Music. Fuller, who runs the XIX Entertainment company, will be joined in the EMI bid by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, which discovered Bob Marley and U2, private financiers and a leading mobile telecommunications company.

A spokesman said: “XIX is a growing company and we’d always be interested in new opportunities in music as they arise. With Simon’s track record over 25 years as Britain’s most successful music manager we hope his interest in EMI would carry the support of the industry.” This week Parlophone artists such as Blur expressed concern that they were being traded in a corporate takeover. Sources said Fuller aims to win their support by pledging to maximise the royalties they earn. Fuller plans to relaunch the threatened Now! compilations series as a weekly television and web show featuring stars such as Jay-Z and Madonna performing their latest hits, alongside a download chart rundown. “Simon can launch new television vehicles using hit songs, there could be a Coldplay American Idol special. He understands the sensitivities that artists have about their futures,” an associate said.

Okay, so will this happen? It has to despite competition, especially from the existing major players- Warners, BMG and possibly Sony… BUT, I believe, that Simon Fuller is the only serious independent bidding for these jewels in EMI’s thorny crown AND he and Chris Blackwell WILL have the support of the artists. Then, as someone much wiser than me said, Game on!!! Fuller has some great financial partners and the creative and entrepreneurial skills to make this work. And I now come to us- us music fans.

Let’s own up: we have lost track of the music and personalities have become more important than music. Sure, this has always been the case but there was always a balance before. The Beatles, the Stones, the Byrds etc all had images and ‘looks’ created for them by people like Brian Epstein and the genius that was Andrew Loog Oldham and more on this very underrated music man at a later date, BUT it never got in the way of creating brilliant music.

Has a television talent show like “Idol” devalued music? Yes, it has. The bigger the juggernaut, the bigger the business and the more complex the players involved become which means the greater the complications and compromises. This leads to the downright hokeyness of having Obama on the show to sort out the Nicki Minaj-Mariah Carey “feud”. Nero fiddles while Libya burns and America remains bankrupt in more ways than one. Is Obama for fucking real- and not that the Mittwit is a genius???

All this silliness and vapid journalism is why I look forward to Simon Fuller starting with a clean slate and staying true to the brand that is called Now That’s What I Call Music and bringing back real music and not this manufactured television candy floss and votes.

Today, what’s more important? The music of Rihanna and Chris Brown or if they’re back banging and bruising and tatting each other? Does it really matter?

Do we really need to Keep up with the Kardashians or wonder what the hell one of these no-talents are doing as a judge on Simon Cowell’s Titanic in the US that has become X Factor?

See what I mean about losing sight of music, needing to remind people what it means and take something old which actually had an idea and making it new again?

EMI has sat on its NOW brand until it’s become more THEN than NOW. Yes, the obvious thing is to have a “charts show” on television and online. It’s Top Of The Pops for the 21st century.

From here, it only makes sense to sell the franchise to every music market in the world and which is all business, yes, but also a small step for music.

How NOW can and will be a giant step is when it goes onto the road- around the world, starting with the US, and introduces some truly NOW WOW new acts and bring BACK bands- real bands that play real instruments.

We have had enough of beats only being passed off as music. That’s like listening to a solo by the great Gene Krupa or the brilliant Sheila E. And these wonderful musicians made music with their God given talent.

It’s time to get back to melodies.

Surely, James Mraz is not the only guy in the world writing songs like James Taylor has always been doing?

Why has an artist like Ben Taylor or my friend Ben Semmens who is stuck in Wales not “happened”?

We spend a great deal of time talking about social media but those running music companies have done a piss poor job of creating a social media community for music and musicians and which doesn’t see them gigging endlessly for chump change and giving their art away for free.

Hell, Chris Blackwell with One Giant Leap and Simon Fuller joining for the second One Giant Leap did more to bring music together all those years ago.

Here’s to the same team taking another giant leap and respecting all those who make music and have been screwed over long enough with those making false promises and dangling fake carrots and only lining their own pockets in the process.




  1. rick dobbis says:

    Well said. Chris Blackwell is the greatest talent scout in the history of the music business and he and Simon Fuller wil be fun to watch–although it is not easy for Chris to share…but time mellows everyone (or does it?)

  2. scott moyer says:

    I just have to say…I love Sheila E…God Bless Sheila E. She is very much the Real Deal…..Talent beyond the norm…and she’s never had to have a HIT song to remain in the limelight…just her natural born skills. She’s as real a person as you would ever want to meet and simply dedicated to excellence in art, creativity and performance.

    On another note….We, as a collective and creative entity , must find a way to re-create melodies in music…that we can remember rather than continue on with music that is far below the standards set by all the great composers before this time in our music history. Somewhere along the way song forms have given way to mediocrity and composers have dropped the ball on the great art of the “re-writing” process agreeing to settle for less in their content or simply not having a clue what is good versus what is great in an original idea. Most songs these days would never make the final cut on the great Albums of the greatest musical eras. They are ” throw-aways .”

    Aside from a few slightly superior artists out there, the majority are suffering from believing they must hurry to push music into the environment without digging deep enough to find their most effective creative offerings. The new generations, thus, end up thinking all these boring songs are all there is and end up suffering this great quality void and further perpetuating the mediocrity. We have 60+ years of POP music History to draw from but few will ever have the time or knowledge to listen or even have qualified musical mentors to wake them up to what is good or great and what is not . Simply ask what you can do to write a great song and contribute to the future of great music….and…raise the MUSICAL BAR.Do your homework and learn from the best songwriters how to write the perfect Song-Gem…then dig deeper into your emotions than you have ever had to dig before and capture the creative lightening that you will need to make your song shine bright enough to light up a new generation of listeners.

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