Update 2009-12-13 17:54: updated Facebook group URL, charity total
Update 2009-12-13 21:49: original Facebook group is back!
Update 2009-12-14 08:00: It’s Monday! BUY IT NOW!
Update 2009-12-15 13:00: Keep buying! A one day push isn’t enough, it needs to be sustained throughout the week! We’re currently up 10% over X Factor Joe!
Update 2009-12-20 00:10: Well, if the iTunes top 10 is anything to go by, we’re home!

So it’s The X Factor finale tonight, not that I could really care much. I’ve only watched it when the regional auditions are on, which means I only watch it for the first four weeks or so, but they changed the format to have the auditions in front of an audience, Britain’s Got Talent-stylee. This didn’t sit well for me, so I ended up not watching at all; no great loss to my media consumption whatsoever.

Concurrent with all this X Factor bollocks, and the usual notion that the winner will go on to produce a single worthy of making enough sales to reach No. 1 of the charts for Christmas, there’s a concerted online effort by over 600,000 Facebook members to kibosh this trend — they’re urging people to buy Rage Against the Machine‘s 1993 track “Killing in the Name” so that it’ll go to No. 1. You may have heard about this over the last couple of days. Simon Cowell thinks the campaign is “stupid”, “cynical” and will “spoil the party for these three” [the X Factor finalists]. I think it’s a fantastic idea, which pushes buying power back towards the consumers, and away from the moguls who insist on showering us with manufactured pop fluff. I’m not saying there’s no place for pop fluff, but perhaps The X Factor would be better placed to promote jobbing musicians with real talent, not just at singing other people’s compositions, but at actually writing, creating and performing their own, original and passionate music. Hearing another over-produced piece of pap churned out by a dozen songwriters and emitted by the next bland Z-list wannabe is not my idea of promoting musical talent in this country. Honestly, Leona Lewis aside, can anyone point me to the classic music that past winners are still putting out?

And bear in mind that this campaign wasn’t created by some noo-meeja Nathan Barley-style wankers, or some record company execs looking to make a quick buck at Simon Cowell’s expense (Rage are signed to Epic, who are owned by Sony BMG, who employ Cowell, so Sony only stand to benefit either way here); it was created by two people on Facebook — Tracy and Jon Morter — who had decided that enough was enough. At the moment, nearly three quarters of a million people agree. If you’re on Facebook, you should join in the fun.

Anyway, the campaign: it’s ridiculously simple. Put Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” at Number One in the Christmas chart by buying it between this Monday (14th) and Saturday (19th). Some places are saying do it tomorrow (Sunday the 13th), but it’s unclear whether or not sales tomorrow will count towards the Christmas Top 40 data, so better safe than sorry — do it sometime between Monday and Saturday. And yes, downloads absolutely count. Even if you already own the single or the 1993 self-titled album, buy it again. It won’t cost much.

You can buy it from these music outlets:

… or just rock into a record store and see if they have any copies of the single! Note that some of these links link to the album; just buy the individual track. Also, there’s a 29p MP3 version on Amazon — do not buy this. Only sales over 40p qualify for chart eligibility.

Once you’ve done that, the Facebook group is encouraging those of us participating in this stunt to donate a little something to the charity Shelter, which works to improve the lives of homeless and badly housed people. If you’re a taxpayer, an additional 20% of whatever you donate will be added on. At time of writing, they’re over the £12,000 £16,000 mark. That’s just phenomenal.

So give what you can to Shelter (I donated a tenner), and spend less than a quid pissing off Simon Cowell. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

8 thoughts on “I Won’t Do What You Told Me

  1. Oh, and don't download it multiple times, even from different shops, as they notice things like that. If you absolutely, positively must download it more than once, i.e. from iTunes, then Amazon, then HMV, etc, do it from different IPs and different email addresses each time. If you can't do that, don't do it!

  2. I trust this campaign will be more successful than the attempt to rickroll the Christmas Number One last year … Mr Astley only reached Number 73 😉

  3. "Leona Lewis aside, can anyone point me to the classic music that past winners are still putting out?"

    Ok, they didn't win, but Rhydian has his second album out and JLS won two MOBOs and are doing very well.

  4. Do all of those online stores actually contribute to sales numbers? Is there somewhere documented exactly what data is aggregated into the weekly sales charts? In the past it was very selective, only certain retail outlets (one of which I worked in) was counted.

    1. Yeah, someone had posted to Facebook all the entities that contribute to download statistics for the charts, and I cherry picked the most accessible ones (a fair few were companies that handle backend infrastructure and billing for mobile music services) and verified the prices and formats. If you're not sure, just phone your local HMV and see if they have any CDs you can buy 🙂

  5. The original Facebook group seems to have gone AWOL, but Jon and Tracy have set up a new one. I've updated the links above. Cheers, Popey!

    1. Are you sure you have to purchase a download that costs more than 40p for it to count? Amazon is 29p and according to them they do count (but then again they would say that I suppose).

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