Cowell Pays Out to Music Charity: David Triumphing Over Goliath?



I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from reading the title above. Whether you’re an X Factor lover, a supporter of charity, or just fed up of your Twitter feed swamped with ‘Cowell Must Pay’ hashtags, finally, Simon Cowell and his business, Simco, have made a donation to Rhythmix.

To recap, Rhythmix is a Brighton-based music charity, helping disadvantaged and vulnerable young people participate in music workshops. Since early Autumn, the organisation has been battling Cowell for the right to use the name and trademark ‘Rhythmix’, after the ill-judged naming of one of the finalists of this year’s show.

With Simco’s initial response to the charity of ‘get a lawyer’, disgruntled supporters of the charity launched a social media campaign, urging Cowell and his representatives to change the name of the girl group, withdraw their trademark application (which, it should be noted, would have resulted in the charity having to cease trading under their moniker of 12 years) and reimburse any legal costs that the organisation may have accrued due to Simco’s actions.

As momentum grew, Rhythmix gained the support of numerous influential figures throughout the campaign, including Stephen Fry, Alastair McGowan, Rizzle Kicks, Enter Shikari, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly and Caroline Lucas MP but to name a few. One by one, Rhythmix’s demands were eventually met, with the conclusion of the sorry saga coming this weekend with Cowell’s donation.

Media reports by numerous established outlets, including the Daily Mail and The Independent have cited the figure at £20,000. I feel that it is necessary to state that this figure is vastly exaggerated, inflated, and just plain wrong. Whether it’s a desperate attempt at generating a minute slice of positive PR out of a desperately negative story for Simco and The X Factor as a whole, or just wild speculation, the public have been misled as to exactly what the charity has received.

As Lucy Stone of Rhythmix stated on the ‘Raging for Rhythmix’ Facebook group, set up to pressure Cowell through social networks to rectify the situation, “I cannot comment on how much it was, but it wasn’t £20k”. Given that the legal costs the charity made public through open letters was initially put at £8,000, perhaps it is prudent to assume a donation closer to this figure than one with that treasured extra ‘nought’.

Despite the closure and sense of relief Simco and it’s associates may be feeling currently, it’s been yet another difficult encounter for The X Factor as a whole. During this ill-fated series, there has been criticism of the judges (Cowell’s charisma is obviously sorely missed), acts descending into 1980s rock star lifestyles and getting booted off the show, claims of the show being fixed and plummeting ratings. Cowell is appearing desperate for good publicity, and perhaps one could assume that he was hoping his charitable donation would turn the tables on what has been a torrid time for one of entertainment’s most popular and global franchises.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.