After finishing my Culture Industry MA, which deftly criticised the "creative economy" and moving along to work at The British Council, in the heart of the government's plight to push the creative economy forward, it's hard to say which side I'm on at the moment.
The debate around the Christmas number one
in UK is definitely important in lots of ways. First of all, it speaks to the kind of power that The X-Factor has here in the UK. Ten million people voted for Joe McElderry last week. And almost half the population of the UK watches X-Factor. Whether or not you think it's in good taste really isn't the issue. It's, for the most part, what the people want.
Well, not all of the people. Because over 930,000 joined the anti-X-Factor pro-Rage Facebook group. Which is great - I bought the RATM single, admittedly, some of the only music I've bought this year.
Personally, I'm not one to support the recording industry. At least not the mainstream recording industry. And I did watch X-Factor. I never voted, though. I contributed to the show's success by watching it, which is enough, but I've never given any money to the franchise. To be honest, I can see lots of benefits, especially for someone struggling to find work in the media industry at the moment. The show creates jobs for so many people - I can list the number of people I know working for Canadian Idol back in Toronto. It's a great production to work for, because it poses little risk of being cancelled in a climate that makes it difficult to secure employment.
Yeah, it's pablum for the mind, but it's a job. A sorely needed one. And, really, a show featuring heavy metal bands just can't draw those ratings. For that, I don't dismiss the show.
Of course, I've always been a hard rock fan and have dedicated lots of time, money and love to bands like Rage, buying records, going to shows and buying merch.
So I had no problem buying the Rage single. Yeah, to make a point. Not to poo-poo on Joe's Christmas day - I'm sure he'll be fine. But to say, yeah, I like quality music, too. And even if they don't beat Joe, I think the social media campaign displayed two very important things: people still care about real non-manufactured music and social media is doing its job: slightly democratising media.