"If you go on a TV talent show that majors on theatrical emoting, dodgy cover versions, faux sincere judges and the lure of instant fame and fortune, then perhaps you’re setting yourself up to be manipulated" | Writes @JamesFHall

Read more: telegraph.co.uk/music/artists/…
Simon Cowell faces claims of bullying from former X Factor talent.

For years he seemed untouchable. He was the brains behind:

⭐ The X Factor
⭐ Britain’s Got Talent

He stuffed the charts with pop stars such as:

⭐ One Direction
⭐ Little Mix
⭐ Susan Boyle
⭐ Leona Lewis
But now the 61 year-old svengali is facing the kind of critical mauling he used to gleefully hand out to his wannabe chart stars.

Cher Lloyd, who finished fourth in The X Factor in 2010, this week used TikTok to accuse the show of “selling me the dream just to exploit me"
Rebecca Ferguson, who also appeared on the show, has made allegations of bullying in the music industry.

She called on MPs to investigate artists’ welfare, and requested that OFCOM conduct investigations into “the treatment and processes involved with recruiting artists"
Meanwhile Jedward, the Irish identical twins who found fame on the 2009 series, took to Twitter to claim that their “biggest regret in life was not telling the judges on X Factor to f––– off"
They allege that every contestant on the show was “a slave” and that Cowell thinks he’s “the Mafia leader of the music industry when in reality he’s nothing but a bad facelift"

They say they’d mistakenly been emailed One Direction’s contract so know how controlled the band were
After appearing on Cowell’s show, Jedward went on to:

⭐ Represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
⭐ Release four albums
⭐ Amass an estimated net worth of £5.8 million
"The paradox here is that the pair wouldn’t have their 700,000 Twitter followers to vent to, or that cash to spend, if it wasn’t for the man they now hate so much"
But then you look at the detail of what is actually being alleged. A string of Tweets by Ferguson were particularly startling. She mentioned musicians contemplating suicide.

She also suggested artists were being subject to:

⭐ Bullying
⭐ Coercive control
⭐ Exploitation
They fit into a wider trend.

Take Sky’s documentary Framing Britney Spears. It was a painful account of how badly her mental health suffered at the height of her fame.

Or BBC Two's documentary about Paloma Faith and the industry's unsympathetic approach to women with babies
"So, yes, the music industry has a problem. Those at the top – those with the money – exploit those further down the food chain. It is an unpalatable truth. But beneath it is an even more unpalatable truth: that the music industry has always been thus"
The Beatles are an obvious example. Half of Northern Songs, the publishing company established to hold the copyright to the band’s music, was owned by Dick James and Charles Silver.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the pair who wrote the music, only owned 20% each
Or, look at Wham!. After their first flurry of success in 1983, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley claimed that their deal with label Innervision Records was so weighted towards the label that they couldn’t afford to pay for transport home after appearing on Top of the Pops
The reality TV bubble seems close to bursting:

⭐ Cowell’s X Factor is currently on hiatus
⭐ The Voice has yet to produce a real pop star

Perhaps a new, more respectful form of talent spotting will fill the void
Ferguson is calling for some sort of regulator to hold bosses to account, so they can “never become so powerful that their actions are unpunishable.”

This body would, she claims, hold tribunals. She also calls for all managers and agents to have a license, “just like in sports”
"Change needs to come from within the industry. But you can’t argue with Ferguson’s comment on Twitter that bad behaviour 'exists because it is tolerated.' Thanks to her, it feels like a reckoning of sorts could be on the way. And the music industry will be all the better for it"

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