Monday, October 11, 2010

X-Factor downloads from iTunes 'not chart eligible'

His Grace hesitated before posting on this apparently utterly trivial and relatively unimportant matter, lest his august blog of intelligent and erudite comment upon matters religio-political be mistaken for Watchdog.

His readers and communicants will know more on Thursday about why this matter is of any concern to him at all.

Especially since Ms Widdecombe is not a contestant.

The X-Factor innovation for this year's interminable two-month eternity of Saturday night musical mediocrity is that all of its performance tracks every week would be immediately available for download on iTunes.

No matter how desperately bad or embarrassingly awful the act, if you happen to like the offering, you may download it within hours of the show for the bargain price of 99p; 98p of which goes directly to fund Simon Cowell's third private jet and subsidise the servants in his fifth $22million mansion in Beverly Hills.

His Grace is of the opinion that this development is Mr Cowell's rather clever response to the success last year of the Cromwellian 'Rage Against The Machine' depriving Mr Cowell of his divine right - the Christmas No1 slot.

But it has been decided that the weekly X-Factor performance tracks are not eligible for the official UK singles chart, despite being sold via iTunes, the reason being to 'protect integrity'.

Whilst His Grace (along with millions of others) may thank God for this relief, the decision raises certain ethical issues relating to the music market.

The concern is that, for the first time in its history, iTunes is determining what is of an acceptable quality for the UK charts; that is to say, they are 'censoring' tracks, irrespective of their popularity, to ensure that they cannot enter the charts.

Where does this end?

Or what precedent is being set?

If the powers-that-be at iTunes were, for example, to determine that 'Killing in the Name' compromised the integrity of the Christmas chart, would they somehow disqualify it from entry irrespective of its download popularity?

And by what creative reasoning is that which might compromise the integrity of the chart during October and November suddenly determined, on 11th December, to be consistent with the desire to 'preverve integrity', in order that the X-Factor televised that week might 'influence' in the following week the popularity and sales of the climactic Christmas release?

Do 'Mistletoe & Wine' and 'Saviour's Day' preserve their chart integrity criteria, while 'Mr Blobby' compromises it?

Or, God forbid, vice versa?

The omnipotent and absolute divine right of Simon Cowell has now been irrevocably fused with the unaccountable and immovable oligarchy of iTunes.

Their control is complete.

His Grace finds himself torn between thanking God that we are to be spared two long months of plastic karaoke covers in the charts, but despairing of what this might mean for democratic protest.

But His Grace will go with the principle every time.


Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

We tried some plastic karaoke covers but they’re not as good as cotton.

11 October 2010 at 22:33  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Oh God, who cares? I steal all my music of the internet anyways.

11 October 2010 at 23:06  
Anonymous non mouse said...

I wonder if this is one of the 'mice in the room,' Your Grace!

I say we need to know who controls Freedom of Speech and Censorship - or, indeed, who feeds what to us dumbified meeces outside the room!

12 October 2010 at 05:38  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

My master Caedmon (who is but a humble herdsman) refuses on principle to download music from iTunes, but prefers to purchase Compact Disks from the shambles at Streonaeshalch at any time he chooses. I love the sound of Gregorian chant..

12 October 2010 at 08:45  
Blogger Sharkxx Fin said...

Since when the Christmas Chart is democratic? The fact that you have to pay to "vote" automatically removes any kind of democracy from the process. I am sure his Grace knows better than this. I can only imagine that, as a consequence of watching the X factor, he didn't have enough time to write with his usual depth and wisdom.

12 October 2010 at 09:53  
Anonymous Simon said...

I read the article as meaning that the producers of the show had agreed that the show downloads should not figure in the charts, not iTunes.

It also mentions that not charting will avoid exposing which artists are most popular. Since a fair amount of money gets bet on the result of X-Factor, that also seems fair enough to me.

12 October 2010 at 11:56  
Anonymous Trampoline Man said...

If they let them count towards the chart, Cowell would dominate the top 10 for 3 months. It would not, I think reduce other sales, but would make top chart position for others impossible to achieve. If Cowell can achieve this, is it not his companies right to achieve dominance if they can? High market share is a sign of doing something right. It is then up to the competition to innovate and compete. Its the way of the world. And not making them count towards the chart will not stop Cowell selling more records than anyone else this season.

28 October 2010 at 21:10  

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