Killing in the Name of …Christmas

Ah, this has made my week. :D

Best 30p I ever spent.  I’d write my own views on this topic and state of the music industry — and maybe even highlight the connections to social identity theory in the process.  But f**k all that — I’m too stoked that we actually did it.  :D Things were looking pretty desperate by Friday morning.  Anyway, instead here’s a few highlights from the music press:


Rage Against The Machine led the race for the top spot from the beginning of the week, but their lead slipped after the physical release of McElderry’s single was released on Wednesday (December 16).By Friday morning (December 18), Rage held the advantage by just 9,000 copies. But ‘Killing In The Name’ went on to sell 200,000 copies across Friday and Saturday to make sure of the number one spot.

Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot said: “Congratulations to Rage Against The Machine on their Number One – as we have seen in recent years, overhauling any X Factor winner in the race for the Christmas Number One is no mean achievement. The popular support we have seen for the record this week has been truly amazing – and handed them two all-time records.

“But congratulations too should also go to Joe McElderry. In taking the Number Two spot, he has still achieved one of the highest weekly sales of any single this year – in almost any other year, 450,000 copies would have given him the Christmas Number One.

“Through this week, these two tracks have accounted for more than 950,000 single sales, a fact which is truly remarkable.”

What probably swung it was this last minute announcement:

“RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE have just announced that if their single “KILLING IN THE NAME” is number one on the Christmas Week UK pop charts over the single from X-Factor winner they WILL PLAY A HUGE FREE CONCERT IN THE UK TO CELEBRATE THE VICTORY OF THIS HISTORIC PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN!!!! If the unprecedented grassroots movement to topple the X-Factor monopoly is successful in making Rage number one the group will return to UK shores sometime in 2010 for a massive “thankyou” gig. And get this…Rage have vowed to invite 2nd Place finisher, X-Factor empressario Simon Cowell, to MC the show! Said Rage guitarist Tom Morello late friday night: “Attention Freedom Fighters! RAGE VS. X-FACTOR WILL BE DECIDED BY SATURDAY’S SALES. Spread the word! Knock on doors! Host downloading parties! Knock over ladies buying X-Factor! The clock is ticking. And if “Killing in the Name” is number one WE ARE COMING. And it will be the victory party to end all victory parties.” TM

Plus the somewhat hilarious ‘swearing’ incident on BBC Radio 5 live:

“We had spoken to the band repeatedly beforehand and they had agreed not to swear.” said a BBC spokesman in response to Zack de la Rocha singing the line “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”. Sadly the irony was lost on the BBC and the easily offended.

Pretty good article on the aftermath:

What can I say? The campaign turned into something bigger, and more noble, than I initially gave it credit for. What started out as a pushy Facebook viral has become a heartwarming Christmas story that none of us will ever forget (as much as you can call a song ‘heartwarming’ when it’s about the Ku Klux Klan and features 16 ‘****’s in a row)….

More than anything, this thrilling battle for the Christmas Number One has proved that the music industry is not ‘dead’ after all. People still pay for music. They still feel unbelievably passionate about it.

Although it was Tom Morello who really hit the nail on the head:

“We are also pleased that so much money has been raised for homeless charity Shelter and are happy to donate as well to aid this important cause. While there are many lessons that can be drawn from this historic upset, the main one is this: that ordinary people, banding together in solidarity, can change anything, be it the pop charts or the world.”

It was also good to see people like Dave Grohl and Paul McCartney get behind the campaign as well.

Despite all this, earlier in the week Simon Cowell had this to say:

“I think I’ve done everyone a favour.

Shows like Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor have actually got people more interested in music again, and are sending more people into record stores.”

…yes, IN PROTEST. :)

Now the votes have been counted, he’s not sounding quite so arrogant anymore;  but fret not, I’m sure that will pass soon enough. ;)  Actually the most disturbing upshot of the whole event is that he’s offered the Facebook organisers Jon and Tracy Morter jobs in his record label — so far they haven’t taken his offer up.

Anyway, that’s that — it’s all settled. We now return you to your normal programming. Whether you rage against the machine or the result, have a great Christmas.

Further reading:

(Note, I don’t normally read the NME, but then again, I don’t normally buy singles either :)).