"The X Factor" U.K. 2012 winner James Arthur gave an angry rant complaining about "The X Factor" and Syco Music, the record company that Arthur is signed to as part of his "X Factor" grand prize. His rant was filled with so much contempt that it appears he may be trying to get out of his record deal. Syco Music is co-owned by Simon Cowell and Sony Music. Cowell is the creator of "The X Factor" franchise.
According to a Daily Mirror report published on March 8, 2014, Arthur (who is 26) said in an interview on the Polish TV show "Interia" that "The X Factor" and Syco Music make the male "X Factor" winners into karaoke puppets: “I have people telling me what I can and can’t do, what music I can and can’t make. People who aren’t artists don’t think about creativity and art, they think about money. When you find fame or you get signed to a record label, it’s not what you imagined, because you imagined they would have 100 percent trust or faith in you as an artist. Unfortunately, that’s not really the case. It’s what sells ...
“Having watched 'X Factor' over the years, they just haven’t got it right. The male winners haven’t been believable. They look like puppets, they sound like puppets. I happen to agree with a lot of people who say it’s like karaoke. I’ve done it myself watching the show over the years and saying, ‘I’ve seen better down my local pub.’ Unfortunately, there’s a f*ckload of karaoke singers in the world and all they can do is make them look like good karaoke singers.”
"The X Factor" U.K. 2010 winner Matt Cardle began speaking out against "The X Factor" around the time that Cardle's first album, "Letters," was released in October 2011. In May 2012, Syco Music/Sony Music dropped Cardle, who has since been releasing his music independently.
Before Arthur auditioned for "The X Factor," he also released music independently. His angry comments about "The X Factor" and Syco Music are among the many rants that Arthur has given since he found fame on "The X Factor."
Since 2012, he has been involved in several public feuds (mostly on Twitter), and he got an immense amount of backlash from the public for his rudeness and insulting behavior, including calling rapper Micky Worthless a homophobic name. Arthur has since made public apologies for his offensive behavior,
In November 2013, Arthur (who has admitted in interviews that he has a history of depression and suicide attempts) cancelled his public appearances for a few weeks, reportedly because he had a meltdown. His representatives said it was "exhaustion," but his sister Sian told the Sunday People that Arthur had a nervous breakdown, and he blamed his sudden fame for the nervous breakdown.
Arthur also announced in November 2013 that he was quitting Twitter and letting his management team tweet on his behalf. But as many people predicted, Arthur changed his mind, and he returned to Twitter in January 2014.
Arthur's first single, a cover version of Shontelle's "Impossible," was an international smash, by reaching the Top 5 in several countries. (It was No. 1 in the U.K., where Arthur's version of "Impossible" was the fastest-selling single of 2012.) Arthur's self-titled debut album, released in November 2013, debuted at No. 2 in the U.K., where it has gone gold. The album was a Top 40 hit in other countries, such as France, Australia, New Zealand and Germany.
Although Arthur launched a successful European tour in 2014, his music sales have been on a decline. After "Impossible," his other singles released so far in chronological order are "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You" (which was a No. 2 hit in the U.K.), "Recovery" (which reached No. 18 in the U.K.) and "Get Down," which flopped at No. 96 in the U.K.
Arthur certainly wasn't complaining about "The X Factor" and Syco Music when his music sales were at their peak. But now that his music sales are on a downward spiral, he's doing some very public "biting the hand that feeds him." And he's the one who signed up to audition for "The X Factor," knowing that he would have to do "karaoke" on TV. This "karaoke" format (which Arthur says he dislikes) has been part of "The X Factor" since the beginning, so Arthur, as a longtime "X Factor" viewer, knew what he was getting into when he signed up to be on the show.
Is he going to give back the money that he's made from his "X Factor" fame? Of course not. That's what makes his rants hypocritical.
All of the previous male winners of "The X Factor" U.K. have been dropped from Sony Music, and it appears that Arthur is headed in that direction too. But maybe that's what Arthur wants since he seems to think it is hurting his "artistic credibility" to be an "X Factor" singer who won a recording contract. For every winner of "The X Factor" who complains about the show and how the winners are marketed, there are thousands more aspiring singers who would jump at the chance to be one of the show's winners and make the most of the resulting prizes and opportunities without looking like an ungrateful complainer.