Bob Geldof says, “I love criticism of Band aid”
Bob Geldof says he doesn’t care about criticism of the new Band Aid track and insists it’s actually a good thing. He made the comments as the CD single was released in shops. The song, which is 2014’s fastest-selling single with more than 312,000 downloads in its first week, is raising money for the ongoing Ebola crisis in west Africa. “Where Band Aid is effective is that it creates all this noise,” Bob Geldof told Newsbeat.
“It creates this argument, it creates this debate. People find it very hard to understand that I love the level of criticism. I personally enjoy it.” Fuse ODG will donate money from his next single to tackling the Ebola crisis. Various artists have criticised Band Aid 30 since it was recorded and released digitally last month. Afrobeats star Fuse ODG pulled out of recording the Band Aid 30 charity single, saying he felt it was a quick fix to a bigger problem.
Emeli Sande said “a whole new” song was needed and that she wasn’t fully satisfied by the lyrical changes made for this year’s remake. Several African artists also claim the song reinforces negative stereotypes of Africa. Bob Geldof told Newsbeat that he doesn’t feel the need to defend the song’s lyrics but says everyone has the right to be offended. “It’s a pop song, it’s not a doctoral thesis,” he said.
There has also been some concern about how fast money raised through Band Aid 30 will go towards helping communities in west Africa affected by Ebola. Geldof says the cash isn’t too far away. “We’ve asked the record companies to advance us what the known sales are so we can have that money almost instantly,” he said. “Because there’s almost a cut-off point with this, Christmas, then in January we more or less know how many have been sold so we can ask for the advance. “Once that’s happened, then it’s almost instant and we get the money out straight away.”
According to World Health Organization figures, more than 6,000 people have died after contracting Ebola in west Africa. Bob Geldof says poverty is at the heart of the epidemic and any money raised will help people on the ground in countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Band Aid 30 is the fastest-selling single of the year in the UK. “We’ve been doing [this] for 30 years,” he said. “We’ve distributed more than $250m (£160m), so you can go online and see all that. “The aid agencies on the ground apply for funding and it goes through a very rapid process. “Obviously we can’t fund everyone, so we select the ones that seem to have the furthest impact or the biggest reach. “The bigger agencies are funded by government or through the Disasters Emergency Committee, but the smaller ones like Mary’s Meals who are embedded in the community, they interest us very much. “If we can help them do their work, then we tend towards that.”
The CD of Band Aid 30’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? costs £4 compared to the 99p download. Bob Geldof finished the interview by saying he probably wouldn’t do another Band Aid track and says it’s embarrassing having to call people up every time asking them to take part. “People are probably fed up with the song,” he admitted. “It’s been 30 years. It’s been sung at every Nativity play at school.”
Extras on the CD single of Do They Know It’s Christmas? include the 1984 version of the track, the 1989 song including Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, plus Band Aid 20 from 2004.