When I first came across the facebook group trying to subvert the pre-determined X Factor Christmas #1, I will openly admit I thought they had no chance of even making a dent, let alone headlines. It turns out that I was wrong. Their push for Rage Against the Machine’s Killing In The Name hit BBC News after pulling ahead of this Joe chap from the show in digital downloads. I still suspect their efforts may be in vain as the physical version of Joe’s single is only released today and will undoubtedly cause a spike in sales.
Simon Cowell’s (unsurprisingly) massively egotistical response labelled it “cynical” and “stupid” and he then proceeded to explain it was all about him. Sorry Simon, it’s not. It’s a retaliation against the whole commercialised package that uses an entire TV show as a glorified advertising campaign to buy/”fix” the Christmas #1 in much the same way as these chaps are attempting. Whatever Simon may argue, both are equally “cynical” and “stupid” if it’s supposed to be about music. People are welcome to buy the X Factor single and if another bunch wish to express their views with their wallets in an alternative direction, surely that’s exactly the sort of audience participation Simon usually endorses…
The great irony is, of course, that Sony BMG wins doubly out of any competition since both songs are released under their label. The strongest argument against the campaign is that they’ve rallied around an old song (albeit one I rather like) rather than something new which they feel isn’t being given a fair chance against the X Factor machine. But what better than Rage in an attempt to take on the system? It’s no wonder Tom Morello approves. All I can say is I certainly know which song I’d prefer you buy. Call it my Christmas present. It would certainly be a moment to be remembered in music chart history.
16 December 2009 at 11:02 pm
Haha I’ve been waiting to talk to you about this! Although the thought of knowing people will be buying one of my all time favourite songs just to spite Simon Cowell is a bit disconcerting, it would be amazing if it did reach Christmas number one!! Also here’s hoping that a fair few non Rage fans will give them a go and ultimately become fans themselves!!
17 December 2009 at 2:35 am
And for those who want to see want this year’s X Factor contestants would look like singing Killing In The Name Of, look no further.
21 December 2009 at 12:37 am
Thanks for the link P, but it’s been taken down. Screw you “British Phonographic Industry Ltd”, this is surely “fair” use, it’s just not a use that puts your crappy popstars in a good light.
If you think that I want to spend my time extracting 32kbps MP3s from flash videos I’ve downloaded from YouTube then you must be out of your minds.
21 December 2009 at 1:25 am
Well quite. In the States they have a specific fair use exemption for satire, which sadly we lack here.
But as many of you will have heard, this crazy campaign was somehow successful with RATM breaking away in the final two days. Whether you view it like Tom Morello as statement by the silent majority (though bear in mind estimated viewing figures for the X Factor final were almost 20 million, nearly a third of the country’s population), or simply as a refreshing reminder of how interesting the musical chart battle used to be, we’ll certainly remember this one for a while.