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ON THE BMM COVER:
RICO WADE
ATL legend (6/17a)
KEN & FRIENDS FILL THE FORUM
High times in Inglewood (6/20a)
BEADS! FEEDS! TIKTOK EXPANDS TAY'S ERAS TOUR HUB
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FESTIVAL FORECAST: IT'S MUDDY OUT THERE
Sloshing through the fun (6/20a)
WELCOME TO ATLANTA
Black Music Month in the ATL (6/18a)
THE GRAMMY SHORT LIST
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COUNTRY'S NEWEST DISRUPTOR
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INDIE DISTRIBUTION'S RISE TO GLORY
The discovery engine is revving higher.
Blighty Beat
COWELL CHATS X FACTOR, STEMDROP
11/7/22

Simon Cowell has opened up about the potential return of The X Factor and his new StemDrop venture with TikTok in an interview with The Times.

After British broadcaster ITV axed the show last year, there’s a “decent chance of The X Factor returning in 2024” in the U.K. or U.S., Cowell said. Thanks to a working relationship with NBC on America’s Got Talent, he’s reportedly more inclined to revive it there.

If he does, Cowell says judges will be industry insiders, such as A&R execs, rather than artists. “Because they are better judges of talent and less jealous of bright young artists.” They are also, he noted, cheaper, allowing production funds to instead be used for “creating moments” for the aspiring talent.

Cowell admitted the format had become too complicated in recent years and plans to take it back to its original basic premise. “You audition and then at the end of the series you get to sing with a superstar.” In doing so, he wants to forget the “ratings-battle nonsense” and focus on getting the artists they want, and giving them the opportunities they need, rather than competing with other primetime TV shows.

With StemDrop, Cowell said he told label partner Universal Music to release any “great” versions of the Max Martin-penned track “Red Lights” they come across as a result of TikTok users reworking it. “I have no idea what’s going to happen, but my gut feeling is somebody is going to do a great version of the song, have a hit record and, I hope, kick-start their career.”

He hopes the venture will help democratize talent development. “I know what the annual budget is for these labels and realistically how many people are going to get a deal with marketing money, etc. It was hard 20 years ago; I would say it’s almost impossible right now. None of this stuff should be privileged or kept a secret.”