CMU Weekly Editor's Letter

CMU Weekly – Friday 17 Jun 2011

By | Published on Friday 17 June 2011

Andy Malt

You remember Cher Lloyd? She was the edgy one on the last series of ‘X-Factor’. I mean ‘edgy’ by ‘X-Factor’ standards, of course. She did some rapping, which apparently the kids like now, but she was all small and vulnerable, which kept the old people on side too. In real world terms, she’s as edgy as a perfectly smooth sphere.

But her blend of controversially making it through to the final twelve (despite having apparently tried to pass off Swizz Beats lyrics as her own and not being able to sing in the final audition), crying a lot and being able to both rap and sing to a competent amateur level, saw her through to fourth place in the competition, and won her a recording contract with Simon Cowell’s record label, Syco.

Since then, she’s been working hard. So hard. So very, very hard on her debut album. So you can imagine how upset she was when the first single from it leaked this week, just days before it was due to get it first play on radio on 20 Jun. I mean, God, it must be awful to wake up one day and find that people have heard your music.

OK, that is unfair. The track that leaked was a demo, and the people who heard it, from what I saw, pretty much universally thought it was awful. Plus, of course, a lot of work goes into launching a record. Any record. But with a highly anticipated pop record these days, you surely have to expect a leak. It’s impressive ‘Swagger Jagger’ only hit the net this week, really. I’d imagine her PR team were getting a bit worried about the seeming lack of interest among the leakers.

But Cher herself wasn’t expecting it. After the track appeared online, Lloyd tweeted: “I’ve never been this upset ever! I worked so hard, and people wanna ruin it for me. If you wanted to hurt me, you’ve done a great job. Please don’t do this to me. I wish I was at home with my family, I’ve been through enough this year”.

But does the leak really “ruin” everything? Is people hearing Cher’s music really ruining things for her? If you’re of the opinion that file-sharing is killing the music industry, then an album becoming available illegally ahead of its release could be detrimental commercially. But the demo version of your first single? When half your ITV-viewing audience won’t even know where to look for these things online. I think there are worse things ahead in your career, Cher.

Not that I’m saying she’ll have an unhappy career, but if this is upsetting her that much, she might forget to enjoy the good bits, which might be these bits right now, given how long the average ‘X-Factor’ finalist’s career tends to last.

But maybe a short career in pop is a good thing, though. Look at Joss Stone, she’s had a reasonably long and fruitful career now, and what has she got out of it? People want to kill her. In one of the more surprising and horrifying stories of the week, two men were arrested apparently with weapons, a body bag, aerial photos of her house and notes planning out what they were going to do to her once they’d gained entry to it. Still, did she take to Twitter to moan? No, she politely told the world she’s fine, when surely she’s a little shaken up. Look at that, I’ve ended up presenting Joss Stone as the perfect pop star. Hmm. Still, one hopes she gets over this bizarre event quickly.

There’s more Joss Stone chatter on this week’s CMU podcast. Elsewhere, we also discussed further developments in the story surrounding the death of Tupac Shakur, who would have been 40 this week, Pandora’s floating on the New York stock market, former commercial chief John Myers’ recommendation for cost saving at BBC Radio, LA Reid’s imminent arrival as the new head of Sony Music’s Epic Records, and John Robb’s campaign to convince the US government to make it easier and cheaper for UK bands to play live in America.

I’ll leave you to get on with digesting all that, and I’ll see you back here again next week.

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU

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