All the rage

I don’t relish being the one to point out that the Emperor’s bollocks are on show, but the FaceBook/Twitter “campaign” to artificially get Killing In The Name, a 17-year-old Rage Against The Machine single, to number one for Christmas, is at best “a bit of fun” (the defence many have made on Twitter) and at worst a deluded act of musical snobbery.

The theory goes: evil Simon Cowell has the singles chart sewn up and can claim the Christmas number one as his own no matter who wins The X Factor, which is cleverly timed to climax just before Christmas; ergo, if we (whoever “we” are) get together and all buy the Rage Against The Machine single in the key week beginning December 13, we can bring down his hegemony and put a record with the word “fuck” in it at the top spot, rather like last year, when “we” failed to get the Jeff Buckley Halleluyah to number one instead of Alexandra Burke’s cover of his cover. Yay! #ratm4xmas!

I understand the NME and various other media outlets are supporting the “campaign.” Why not? It’s just a bit of fun. Maybe. The pair who started the campaign on FaceBook say: “None of the admins have anything to do with Sony music or Rage Against The Machine themselves. We’re just 2 music fans who want to bring back the Christmas No.1 excitement to the UK
(plus we’d love to see a Christmas No.1 containing the word ‘fuck.’)”

1. They’ve dealt with this on the FaceBook page (they don’t care!), but I’ll restate it for those that don’t know: Rage Against The Machine are – or were – signed to Epic, part of Sony Records. Simon Cowell’s Syco Records is licensed through Sony BMG. Whether it’s #ratm4xmas or #whoeverwinsxfactor4xmas, one of the largest music and entertainment conglomerates in the world pockets the lion’s share of the cash. Actually, this is not important, as most music is released through a tiny handful of such media conglomerates, and it would be sweet if Rage got a few dollars, but it is ironic. If someone at Sony had started the #ratm4xmas campaign, they would have deserved the afternoon off. (By the way, I don’t happen to think Rage Against The Machine’s admirable and selfless political campaigns – they truly rage against sweat shops, torture, war criminals, Fox News, poverty, repression of Tibet etc. – are in any way diluted by the fact that they are – or were – signed to a major record company. There is something to be said from subverting from within.)

2. Some on Twitter seem to think that buying one single and not another one will topple “capitalist consumerism.” Nothing needs to be added to that.

3. Others on Twitter seem to think that Simon Cowell’s “empire” needs “toppling.” Why not Google’s empire? Or Amazon’s empire? Or Microsoft’s empire? Maybe they think those empires need toppling too. I suspect not. Because those empires provide things that people on the left approve of, whereas manufactured pop music – eek! – is for idiots and plebs, who are too stupid to know how bad the music they like is, and the choices they make on iTunes or in HMV are in some way inferior to the choices made by Rage Against The Machine fans. (By the way, the #ratm4xmas campaign seems to have little to do with Rage Against The Machine, and plenty to do with the fact that the song has “fuck” in it, which isn’t magically going to be played on Radio 1 or the Christmas Top Of The Pops anyway.)

4. Since when did Zach de la Rocha and Tom Morello start worrying about who was number one at Christmas? In Britain? It’s nice that the FaceBook “admins” want to get back the “excitement” of the Christmas number one, but wouldn’t it be better if the “excitement” was based on who bought which single? There’s no suggestion that Cowell is cheating his records into the charts, so surely the X Factor single has as much right to go to number one as a record being orchestrated into the chart by a FaceBook group. (About 230,000 have signed up to the group, so they must be counting on 230,000 sales – unless members are going to buy more than one, which really does make a mockery of the “excitement.” A fixed chart is no longer a chart, surely?)

5. There is no harm in orchestrated block-voting, but organised direct action is far more powerful when it’s to do with things like elections or civil rights or referendums, as opposed to the number of singles being sold in a week.

I do not watch The X Factor, nor am I likely to buy one of its singles, but it’s not because I am boycotting either, or because I think I am better than the people who do like it. I don’t like The X Factor and I know I don’t like it because I have watched it in the past; my dislike is not based on reflex snobbery. I don’t like it because it manipulates the contestants who apply to be on it and exploits their desperation and sometimes their mental instability for entertainment. It also devalues crying, as everybody on it cries all the time – what will these people do if, say, a family member dies? Where will the extra tears come from? How much harder can they fan their faces? I object to the editing. And I object to the fact that it obviates the need for record companies to seek out talent and nurture it. It’s a smash and grab on the charts, and if the hapless, stage-managed, madeover artist survives the year, that’s a bonus.

It seems to me that Simon Cowell is a very, very astute record company executive and A&R man; he also just happens to be one whose giant ego allows him to play a pantomime version of himself in a talent show that’s as tightly scripted and plotted as a soap. Fine. Let him have his fun. More people bought Susan Boyle’s album in its first week than bought the Arctic Monkeys’ debut album in its first week – so why are the people that bought the Arctic Monkeys album in some way more discerning than those who bought the Susan Boyle album? It’s a lot of people in both cases, just from different demographic sectors. I scent snobbery here, and I don’t like it. The X Factor is light entertainment. When I was little, summer-season artists like Bobby Crush and Lena Zavaroni got in the charts after being on Opportunity Knocks. The only thing that’s changed is the sheer scale of the thing.

If the success of The X Factor drives more musicians underground to make their own angry response and put it out without Sony, then good. But herd-buying a song from 1992 to stop a song from 2009? Fuck you, I won’t buy what you tell me.

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90 thoughts on “All the rage

  1. Well said. Maybe if this year's X Factor winner covered Killing In The Name it would keep everyone happy.And let's not forget, there was a big Facebook campaign a year ago to get everyone to 'panic buy' carrots. I'm sure we all remember what a giant success that was.

  2. 2. Some on Twitter seem to think that buying one single and not another one will topple "capitalist consumerism." Nothing needs to be added to that.It's brilliant, isn't it? And by brilliant I mean the other thing… deeply disheartening.(I won't be buying anything. Not out of protest, not out of snobbery, and not out of misplaced anti-capitalist notions. I just don't buy singles.)

  3. Perhaps the reason people hate the Xfactor acts getting to number one is because, for the first time, the bones of the recording/entertainment industry are on show. People can easily perceive the link between TV promotion, "Executive" decisions, and success, and it shows just how unfair the process is. It appears to show that these "newfangled" acts are somehow "punching above their weight" or being given an unfair leg up by the evil Cowell. But of course the pop chart has never been a meritocracy and the popular is always deeply unpalatable to arbiters of "good taste". It would be more appropriate for people who don't like Cowell's mediocre covers to try and get You Spin Me round (like a record) or Daydream Believer to number 1 or another great, original, manufactured pop song.

  4. "what will these people do if, say, a family member dies? Where will the extra tears come from? "If only there were a finite amount of tears in the world Andrew, if only…

  5. Glad someone else sees this as deeply ironic.Not only because of everyone being ordered to buy the same thing at a prescribed time – but also because I would guess that a large proportion of the folks doing it decry the crass commercialism of Christmas. In which case what does it matter what is No. 1?May as well go out and buy a wooden whip and top than this years 'must have' toy as well. That'll really show those capitalist bastards.

  6. I largely agree with your blog, Andrew. Many people will buy RATM's song, but it will not diminish the number of people buying the Excr-Factor single. The singles chart changed dramatically in a very short space of time when I was working for HMV; more novelty songs, more karaoke cover versions, and the demographic buying singles changed as well. The sort of music I like never gets into the charts, so it doesn't matter to me who gets to number one. American Jesus by Bad Religion would never get into the charts, but it doesn't stop it being a superb song, nor does it diminish my love of it or the band that crafted it. All the charts indicate is other people's musical taste, not mine. Those bands will carry on regardless. Unless something miraculous happens, not one of the current X Factor acts will be remembered in three years, let alone two.I was accused of snobbery by you on Twitter, but the 140 characters limit the argument you're trying to make, especially if your comment is going to be cherry-picked from hundreds but not the follow-ups. In my experience, the people buying the X Factor/BGT singles in the past few years have not been music lovers as such, but people who have invested their Saturday nights in these programmes. Half the time, they didn't even know the name of the person who recorded the song. It's not snobbery, it's sadness at the decline of a once vital part of the music industry.Finally, if I were to choose an Xmas number one, it wouldn't be by RATM, much as I love that song. I've invested too much time in something I don't care that much about, and have had a terrible day, so I must now try to cheer up. Have a lovely day. :)PS I have decided to not unfollow you. 😀

  7. Dude. Think you're over-analysing a bit here. I bet the campaign originators didn't think about it this hard.Surely it's just a movement to rise against the media shitstorm around the diabolical 'music' that is the X Factor. A good old-fashioned chart war between people who prefer different tunes to one another. Nothing to do with which pot the money's going to, whether it's going to cure capitalism, whether RATM care. Just a bit of fun mate, calm down!

  8. Jessica, I think some things are worth analysing. (Although you're right that I doubt those who started the campaign – unless it was Sony – thought very hard about it, or they might have spotted the irony.) If I don't seem calm, I am. I'm enjoying writing about something that has entered my cultural radar today. Also, I acknowledge the "just a bit of fun" argument in my blog.The fact that you put "music" in inverted commas when referring to X Factor reveals a lot. Because it's mostly cover versions? Because it's manufactured? Because it's not rock? Because it's designed to get in the charts? Because it's popular? Why is not music without inverted commas?

  9. Ha – I don't doubt that you're calm. You just seem to be going a little over the top with the analysis. Don't you remember the days when this was the feeling the charts generated every week? I put 'music' in inverted commas in much the same way I would have put 'music' in inverted commas referring to Take That up against Oasis back in the day. You get behind your team, diss the opposition and prepare for battle! I just don't like X Factor-esque whining – it's vapid and uninteresting. Isn't that the sole point here, personal preference?

  10. I hate Killing in the Name Of more than any other song in the history of recorded music. A horrid thing.I'm sure the original sentiments of the song (about enlisting in the army or the brutality of war or "something important")were fine but whenever I hear it I see some grubby teen in a lumberjack shirt refusing to clean his room as if was a subversive act.Horrid, horrid, grubby little tune for miserable little kids. It'll scrape in at 39 for Christmas.In summary, I do not like that song and consider myself a better and more dicerning human being than those that do 😉

  11. People will find good music if they want it, be it by seeing a new band in a small sweatbox, discovering it on MySpace (do people still use that? I've lost track), or downloading from iTunes or whatever. It will never stop cover versions; let's not forget that some pretty big bands have had major hits with covers themselves. I choose to ignore it all, and stick with what I like, occasionally getting pleasantly surprised by something new. I'm at that 'difficult' age.By 'good' music, I of course mean 'whatever appeals to you'. Everyone will define that differently.I'm massively into rock music, always have been. Playing SingStar on PS3 has indicated to me how much I also appreciate great pop music. I may not go out of my way to buy it nowadays, but it's always been there. No amount of campaigning for RATM is going to alter the amount of manufactured pop out there, nor will it alter the amount of bands making genuinely great rock music. There's room in what remains of the music industry for both. I cannot remember a song by a rock band getting to number one, yet rock music is alive and well. The charts won't affect that. If you don't like what's in the charts, react against it by buying stuff you like, or discovering something new, rather than putting your energies into getting a 17-year-old sweary song charted. Alternatively, buy a single that supports Children in Need.

  12. There's a Facebook campaign to get Journey's Don't Stop Believing to number one for Xmas following a rumour it was going to be the X Factor winner's song (there was a similar Jeff Buckley campaign last year). Frankly I'd rather buy 100000 copies of both Killing in the Name and the X Factor single to stop Journey getting it. Conspiracies everywhere!

  13. I support the RATM campaign, but not for the reasons Andrew eloquently argues against. I watch and enjoy the X Factor. I understand how manipulative it is and don't like Simon Cowell's character on the show, but I find the whole thing a lot of fun. These kind of shows have produced some good popstars in the last few years; the pop scene would be duller without the likes of Will Young, Girls Aloud and Leona Lewis involved in it. I want to see Stacey win this year's contest, by the way.The reason I am planning to buy RATM is nothing to do with smashing the system or bringing down an empire. It's because I love the whole battle for Christmas number one that we used to have. It was exciting and fun, and we've lost this because the X Factor winner is all but guaranteed to get to number one. If someone else got the top slot this year next year might be a bit more interesting. Big artists (Take That, say) might have the nerve to release a Christmas single or the public might get behind something from leftfield like they did with 'Mad World'. RATM just might just help to freshen things up a bit, and it might make the X Fator up its game a bit. For someone like me who owns Killing In The Name Of and Bleeding Love it’s win-win.

  14. Ian Hewett – "I cannot remember a song by a rock band getting to number one" – I don't know much Chart History, but surely this must've happened?Of course, it depends what you class as a "rock band" – some might even say that if a band's had a Number One song, they cannot, by definition, be "rock" – but I think, taking a more general definition of "rock music", this must have happened at some point!What about Kings of Leon's song about having sex while you're on fire? What about Green Day's American Idiot? What about "Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby" by the Kaiser Chiefs?I've chosen those songs as examples not because I think they're especially good, and therefore worthy of a mention, but because I know that they were very popular when they were released, that they were played on popular radio, and in Chart Shows, and that the bands who played them would probably be considered "rock" bands by most people…To Jessica Rose, I should like to ask – what makes your definition of "music" any more valid than Andrew's, mine, or anyone else's?

  15. You've got a wee bit over the top on a subject that scarcely warrants it (look – it's the "just a bit of fun" defence!) but taking each of your points one by one…1. RATM being on Sony is irrelevant to this. In fact RATM themselves are largely irrelevant to this. The aim is simply to have any song that isn't the X-Factor winner as the Christmas No. 1. I'd have preferred if they'd opted for Clive Dunne's "Grandad" as the song choice, but realistically, that wouldn't have grabbed the yoof vote in the same way as the choice of RATM did.2. All causes, no matter how deserving or how frivolous have tossers following on their coat tails. 3. See answer to 2. Note though, that the "consumer terrorists" are very much in the minority here. Mostly this is simply quite an amusing prank. Note also that Radio 1 did inadvertantly play the un-edited Killing In The Name once on the Sunday afternoon chart show back in the day.4. Zach and co, probably don't give a toss about this. But as you already know, this has almost nothing to do with RATM. And of course the X Factor single has as much right to the #1 spot as a record being orchestrated into the chart via a Facebook / Twitter campaign. Conversely of course, a record orchestrated into the chart by a Facebook / Twitter campaign has as much right to go to No. 1 as the X Factor winner. 5. Agreed. This is a harmless bit of festive fun, remember?Big Music must be absolutely loving this though – a viral internet campaign that could potentially see half a million disaffected punters LEGALLY DOWNLOAD SOME MUSIC. Who'd have thunk it?

  16. Rock songs that got to number one in recent years, mainly the indie side of rock: First 2 Arctic Monkeys singlesBeetlebum by Blur (but not Country House)The Masses against the Classes – ManicsA few Oasis singlesBring Your Daughter… – Iron MaidenThe Drugs Don't Work – The Verve (might be pushing it a bit)

  17. I think your point #3 is faulty. Anyone with any sense would indeed want to topple Google's empire, Microsoft's empire, Amazon's empire etc. Each of them began by providing a service for which we were indeed glad, and they did it well. But instead of being happy with that, they have muscled their way into arenas that others were doing a perfectly fine job of, and instead of providing competition (as the capitalist system would pretend it works), they simply abused their size and either bought out their rivals or copied them. Google should get back to providing the best search engine on the planet. It shouldn't be producing mobile phones that then use its Map service to provide a SatNav system that makes TomTom and Garmin effectively dead in the water.Microsoft produce an excellent operating system (yes, they do. Really.) Why isn't that enough for them? Using this position to effectively enforce a web-browser that doesn't properly comply with internationally-agreed standards and make thousands of companies to spend millions on trying to be compatible? That's not sane.And the big record conglomerates have a similar problem, although to their credit they have largely tried to stay within the field they know about. But they too need to be toppled. Broken up. Returned to the smaller, independent labels that they once were. After all, I think we do need record labels. But we no longer need record corporations.Not that this is the way to go about it, mind. I think it's a stupid idea, and I won't be supporting it. — David

  18. I don't pretend to be important enough to warrant a long response, so I'll just say…1. You've missed the point, but sadly, I think the orchestrators have too.2. it will almost certainly fail to reach no.1, but at least this kind of thing keeps it in the media that a sizable number of us object to generic music.3. If you have a problem with musical snobbery, why do you work yourself to 6music, a radio station which sells itself as 'closer to the music that matters'?

  19. Kit Marsden- Good examples. I didn't say rock music had never reached number one, but couldn't remember the last time it had. But I have a bad memory. Must be my age.I sincerely hope some of the people who bought those singles (ie the ones who weren't necessarily fans) were inspired enough by them to delve deeper into the respective back catalogues, learning about those bands' influences, finding that great music doesn't mean music that gets into the charts.

  20. It's almost like when Graham Norton guest-hosted on the Jack Docherty show, and played a song so awful – it would be so funny to see it get into the charts, so it gets bought, goes in at number 14, gets performed on Top of the Pops, and Norton went from presenting late night quiz shows like Carnal Knowledge to a British Comedy Award and his own chatshow – thus a monster was born.The puppetmaster behind this cunning scheme – Simon Cowell.I had signed the facebook thing, because it would be nice to see something alternative to X factor win – although I don't see it happening – If approx 1 million people gets a christmas number 1, thats approximately 10% of the audience needs to buy it. Can't see the X factor haters and RATM lovers competing with that. If the idea were to properly work, we would need to have someone that wasn't signed to a label that Cowell has an input in – ideally an indie, and what with mp3s, it isn't as hard as it used to be for indies to compete with producing enough CDs to match major label sales.Perhaps someone needs to suggest someone that made a song in his bedroom, financed with friends that is actually quite good and we all get that to number one instead – would be an example of trying to topple the institution.machine levine

  21. I agree on the whole with what you say BUT I do feel that attacking the group due to it being "at worst a deluded act of musical snobbery" is a little hypocritical. I only say this because of the fact you've worked for BBC 6 Music; a station which screams and cries 'We are going to play these records because they are cool and better than any other stuff out there! We only play what we want and nothing else!' I just feel that attacking music snobbery is a bit rich.

  22. Long time listener first time caller and all that ….Feel compelled to reply to this entry even though i'm not up on the Twitter discussion.First thing is that I do not believe you are being over the top and I do believe there is a discussion to be had here (though I disagree with your sentiments).I don't think this is about "pop" music vs "rock" music or "real" music vs "non" music but more of a statement of how far we have come in removing any sort of "musical intent" from popular culture.At the height of this has been Cowell's domination over the charts and deconstruction of all that made "pop" great so that all we are left with is X-Factor – a long promotional event for Simon Cowell designed principally to create money for himself. Music does not even play second place in Cowell's world – I imagine the actual song-stuff is a bit of an irritation.The result is that pop culture is effectively dead – replaced with a subsection of the trashy celeb-a-day empty headed culture we've been stuck with for the past decade or so.And this change now holds such a monopoly on music that it becomes impossible for other music to exist alongside it.Which is why we have a struggle for artists to find some ground and establish themselves.Which is why even "indie" publications have reduced themselves to similar knock-em up to kick-em down type journalismWhich is why those who try to bring some art back into music increasingly find themselves struggling to stay alive (see closure of Plan B magazine)I don't like Rage Against The Machine, I probably have none of the same arguments as those who are promoting this campaign, I do see the hypocrisy in Rage's politics and in the thoughts of much of those backing the campaign however I also believe that pop has reached an end point where it is safe to state music as "music" because the "music" has become a side-issue and the "culture" has disappeared and personally I think that is a pretty poor state of affairs.I guess i'm surprised to see people (who I imagine have a passion for music) accept that the current "sheer scale of the thing", in your words, is acceptable and that it is not a good thing to see it being challenged (inspite of the hypocrisy).It is a bit too easy to be flippant about such things (not really labelling this at yourself) and say 'oh well it doesnt matter' but if you see popular music as having the potential for artistic expression and cultural value then things like the domination of The X Factor should be a constant depressant and cause for complaint.Err end rant!

  23. It should be added that the Jeff Buckley campaign, which I believe had more Facebook group members and definitely had more media support (Radio 1 DJs, newspaper columnists), still ended with his version of Hallelujah selling less than seven times as many as Alexandra Burke's. As convenient as they may be for filler material, Facebook groups don't work as a be-all and end-all, or else Jeremy Clarkson actually would be Prime Minister.There's also the very Life Of Brian sentiment of a group of people being compelled to follow the doctrine of a song the key lyric of which is "I won't do what you tell me".

  24. I agree that this campaign can be seen as Ironic, but you have to understand that there are Amazing musicians out there who cannot voice there music. I'm a percussionist and have only ever playe small gig's around the north-west (and once in London). We unheard musicians are the people who are make new music, soon all music will lose Originality as we enter a period of musical degredation.Too many people have no vision, no passion and no spirit. This is echoed in todays lifeless music. I hope all kids of this musically illiterate younger generation see 'killing in the name' and experiment with music rather than listen to cheap covers on ITV.Obviously this facebook campaign to get rage number 1 is the first of small steps towards re-claiming the charts for original, experimental and most of all GOOD music.

  25. It would be nice to pick a random busker or completely independent artist who really needed and deserved the exposure and sales and could come out of nowhere with no marketing, no industry backing and no phone voting. That really would be worthwhile subversion. Not that RATM don't 'deserve' it but it'll be a hollow victory.

  26. Frankly it's all good fun, and as AC says it actually benefits the industry more than hurts it. For people like me though that's never been the point of these silly campaigns, I think it's all about that sense of belonging that most adults used to have when thinking about the charts that we don't get anymore. The christmas number one only used to be special because you were young, not because the tracks getting there were any good. Joe & 'The Climb' being XfactorMas number one is no better or worse than Spice Girls or Westlife or Bob the Builder. X factor is the new 'song off the Levi Adverts' for hit generation.And if it's the kids buying the singles throughout the year shouldn't it be them that gets the Xmas number one slot not a bunch of jaded grown-ups?It's nice that RATM get to play (there are censored versions no doubt being made as we type), but it's not us older folks that have revitalised the singles market so maybe we don't get to choose who is number one anymore.

  27. Remember the campaign last year to get people to buy the Jeff Buckley version of "Hallelujah" as opposed to the X Factor winner version (Leona Lewis I think?), and when it was too late to grind the campaign to a halt it was discovered that Simon Cowell owned the rights to the song, so he profited by the campaign to oust his winner from the number 1 slot?Wouldn't it be funny if he bought the rights to "Killing in the name of".

  28. I don't have a problem with X Factor or the music it produces – also, I understand the irony of RATM being purchased en masse.I'm just going to buy it because it'd be neat to see one of my favourite bands at the top of the charts – nothing more, nothing less.

  29. I quite agree, my reaction to getting an invite to this FB group was that it all seemed a bit pathetic, exactly like last years Jeff Buckley stunt. With regards to last years one, it seemed even more ironic and snobbish, as it was ultimately saying 'we much prefer this cover version from 20-odd years ago to this new one, therefore it's the right one and nobody should like the new one'. I'm somewhat unsure how many people supporting that campaign were aware that the Buckley version was a cover (one of very, very many) of the Leonard Cohen original. Why not get people to go out and buy that? Because the Buckley cover is better? Hmmm, how ironic.What was doubly ironic about both these campaigns is that, from my point of view at least, they're both very obvious, safe, and somewhat clichéd and over-played songs to pick. In my circle at least. People like both songs because it's what they're familiar with and it's in their comfort zone, much like the listeners of the X-Factor listening to safe covers of songs they usually know.At a fan of many fringe styles of music, I've often found it interesting how genres like rock or metal that claim to be all about individuality, doing your own thing etc, are in actual fact just as (if not sometimes more) conservative and close-minded as the mainstream.My 'protest' against the X-Factor (which I do completely despise by the way) is to simply ignore it. By doing these stunts you are simply fanning the flames. In fact it reminds me a bit of the 'Love Towelie' or 'Hate Towelie' shirts in South Park…

  30. I've never met a music geek who doesn't get angry at bad music so I can relate to why people want to do this. And it will be interesting seeing how it all pans out. One (new) media force v another. As for snobbery…people with good taste have the right to look down on idiots and I for one will continue to do so. Some opinions are just wrong. I sneer at Jim Davidson fans and make them laugh at Lee and Herring using intimidation. I call BNP supporters cunts. I piss on people who go to Glastonbury because they are 'into music' but then ask me who Iggy Pop is. I infect the coffees of people who like Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin. I am a snob and I am superior. And correct. And I use the word 'I' a lot.I am also a fan of Andrew Collings.

  31. Am I a snob for thinking Rage Against the Machine are better than whoever wins xfactor? Would you say someone was a snob for stating that the Smiths are better than Mr Blobby? Is the #RATM4XMAS thing going to smash the state? No, and I doubt anyone thought it would. I would have prefered a different song as I think 'Killing in the name' is a bit overplayed (at least in rock clubs/pubs) but even if it causes the slightest bit of annoyance to Simon Cowell (whos contributions to music have been worthless novelty acts or trite boybands formed purely to make Simon Cowel a bit richer) I think its worth the price of a download.

  32. Matt W and Dweeb, you suggest that my working for 6 Music disallows from sniffing out musical snobbery where I think I find it. Firstly, I hope the music I have been playing on 6 Music these last three weeks pushes any boundaries about what does and doesn't constitute some prescribed idea of "cool." (I have played Goth rock and 60s soul, 80s dance and 90s rave, plus Tom Waits, Cud, the Slits, all sorts … at no point was I stopped or told to toe some imaginary line.) This criticism from Dweeb – to quote: "We are going to play these records because they are cool and better than any other stuff out there! We only play what we want and nothing else!" – is an odd one, as that sounds like an exciting and inclusive way to run a radio station to me, when you think of how many different presenters have an input. Also, if the selection is broad, what's being left out?If 6 Music was ever "snobby" about music, it was only in order to establish itself as something different from the chart pop of Radio 1, the guitar-based indie of xfm, and the MOR of Radio 2 – we played the Sex Pistols and Sonic Youth next to Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone from the start, which was pretty unique – and it's definitely evolved over the years to include more hip hop and soul, which is a good thing. Having been away from 6 Music for quite a while, I felt the music choices were pretty refreshing when I got my feet back under the desk. And as I say, like all presenters, I added to the mix with my own stuff.The musical snobbery I don't like is the one that says manufactured pop music is by definition bad, when Motown and Stax did the same thing, matching singers to songs and sometimes launching new artists with covers. I personally prefer Motown's conveyor belt soul than most stuff I hear in the charts today, but that's my taste. I love Girls Aloud, and I think Take That's comeback has provided some fantastic music, so I clearly approve of some modern pop songwriting. I also enjoy some US R&B, although not that much. It's wrong, I think, to dismiss great swathes of music from the perspective of how it's made. Who cares if it sounds good? Equally, Jeff Buckley's cover of Hallelujah isn't intrinsically better than Alexandra Burke's because he was cool and died, and she is a talent show winner and didn't die. I like his version better, too, but I also prefer it to the Leonard Cohen original. Sacrilege!I think Susan Boyle's version of the Rolling Stones' Wild Horses lacks all meaning and passion, and I don't believe she would need wild horses to keep her apart from anyone, but if someone did prefer her version, that would be their preference. They are not an idiot for liking her.And to say I can't talk about musical snobbery when I broadcast for a radio station that has a remit to play stuff other stations don't play is, frankly, insulting to me, and to 6 Music – which, by the way, no longer uses the tagline, "Closer to the music that matters." I always thought that was deliberately worded to include anything it wanted anyway, as any music can matter.Certainly, trying to artificially get a record to number one is a bit of fun. I accept that. I just worry about musical snobbery being at the heart of it, that's all.

  33. I'm not sure that the snobbery thing is about the music as such. I think it's a patronising belief that while "we" can see that X Factor is "fake", those who enjoy it are too stupid to see the strings being pulled. That doesn't appear to be the case: all the people I know who follow these shows seem to enjoy them on many levels. Indeed, the "it's just a bit of fun" argument might equally be applied to their approach to this stuff. They are by no means unaware that it is a pantomime. Some people enjoy pantomimes. Not all of them are stupid. Or "common". But that, I think, is what this all boils down to.This ties in with the celebrity culture thing that we've discussed here before. Soap operas became a big draw in the eighties, not just for TV companies, but also for newspapers and other media. Now that's been replaced in the print media by "real" people drip-feeding a dramatised version of their lives to the world via newspapers and magazines. Shows like X Factor are essentially a means for TV to get in on the act. It's a fairly flimsy frame upon which to hang a multitude of "journeys" – even those of the judges.Personally, I can't see the point of the "fun" because I just can't stop looking at the strings that are making it happen. (Arguably this is also why I – and you, Andrew – can't simply enjoy "fun" campaigns like this one. When it comes down to it they're no different to X Factor, are they? If you like X Factor then you're not discerning enough; but if you don't take this campaign at face value then you're over-analysing everything.) I used to enjoy Big Brother, but only as long as I could believe that the bulk of the politics in the house was genuine – even where the driving forces were fabricated and manipulated. As soon as that ceased to (appear to) be true, I had to stop watching.It's a weird world where people can one minute deride X Factor for its fakeness but the next quite happily take Simon Cowell's on-screen persona at face value. I really can't see any point in criticising him for anything because I really haven't got a clue who it is I'm criticising, or what he has done. It seems to me that to have a go at him is essentially to join in with the "fun" of the show itself, just as if you were watching it. Like everyone else. Whatever you say, and whatever you do, you are simply contributing to the success of the show. (I've said this before too, haven't I? Oh well.)Both Cowell and the show itself thrive on this stuff. It's all grist to the mill. If people are talking about it then that's just another part of the journey – sorry – story. If you really want to fight it (and why not let yourself be manipulated into wanting to do that?) then surely the only way to do it is to ignore it?

  34. I have very warm happy memories of when the Pop Idol Xmas single, a grotequely cynical cover of John & Yoko's War Is Over (in 2003!) was trounced by that gloomy cover of Mad World from Donnie Darko. Number 2 that year was The Darkness' Don't Let The Bells End, a brilliant song that's actually about Christmas (unlike most of them), that harks back to Slade and Wizzard, and if that didn't make it then we've have no chance of getting another proper Christmas No 1.That Pop Idol single was even outsold by Bo Selecta. Sometimes, just sometimes, things work out the way they should.

  35. Hah, I posted a very similar entry myself a while ago, and have just been made aware of your much better written article.Very much in agreement with you.

  36. 4) This is where you really lose me. Who ever said that Rage should care about who was British Xmas No.1?! They had no part in the decision to choose that song and as yet no part in the campaign. Completely irrelevant.Also: "surely the X Factor single has as much right to go to number one as a record being orchestrated into the chart by a FaceBook group?"… You can flip that statement around ad infinitum to serve both sides of the argument. Given many people such as yourself are pouring scorn on the whole idea, it is still "exciting" for those in the group as even they are not sure they can pull it off, and maybe this is the closest they can get to the excitement they miss from previous years? And were they to win it, it is no more a "fixed" chart than it has been these past few years with X-Factor bludgeoning their way to number 1 with their marketing weight and media onslaught. And yes, people still have to want to buy X-Factor songs for said marketing to work and that is their choice, but equally, it is the choice of those buying Rage to try and make the chart more of a battle than an assumption in the only way they can without millions to spend counter-marketing X-Factor.5) No-one can seriously argue that this is the most important thing in the world and that organising actions for any number of more worthy reasons is not more powerful, but to assume that in the minds of everyone in the group the two are mutually exclusive (that I and others can not and do not for instance share links for any number of current and worthy Christmas charities on the same computer) is once again, heavily patronising and quite the assumption.You smell snobbery here? Yes you probably do, but as previously stated, to assume that this is the sole reason of the group (when you yourself give any number of perfectly valid and more serious reasons why people may actively dislike X-Factor that the majority of the group would agree with) and that this is the prime motivation for the vast majority (as I assume you do to feel the need to post this blog and publicly pick apart the group, concentrating mostly on that topic) is equally snobby, assuming anyone joining a facebook group/using twitter for this reason is too thick to realise what you say above on our own.Despite the length I have gone to with this comment, as you maintain you are not worked up about this whole thing, honestly, neither am I. I can completely see where your reasoning is coming from but I find it quite flawed in places. The whole concept of purchasing the song really is "just a bit of fun" for me, or at least it was until I read your blog when I have to admit to feeling very slightly disheartened by the implied intellectual and moral superiority, and need to dissect and rail against people who are perfectly free to join together to buy the song if they wish. The main reason for my reply though is that I am not sure you are aware (as you do not mention it in your blog post) that the facebook group has also set up a donation page for Shelter, and is actively using its current levels of exposure to encourage people to donate to this worthwhile cause. However misguided people may be in getting to that RATM facebook group, they have currently raised over £800, not much but better than had their been no group at all and certain to rise as the group grows.Given you either did not take the time to find this out about the group (or have willingly glossed over it for the sake of making your point about this all being motivated by snobbery), can I perhaps persuade you to make a small contribution to offset and traffic you may have steered away as a result of your somewhat damning blog above?http://www.justgiving.com/ratm4xmas

  37. How about people buy the music which is being released now by the artists that they like? If people want the X-Factor to contain their entire musical horizon then that is for them to choose. Obviously there are enough people out there for that to apply to, or we wouldn't have them at Xmas no. 1. That is surely what the charts are showing, what most people are currently buying from the music that is being released.Shouldn't the orchestrators suggest that people purchase the singles they like which are new? Or do they not buy singles anymore? Surely then the singles chart is not really a place for them.This whole thing just seems to be 'fuck you Simon Cowell and your stupid show, we'll show you' but I have a suspicion that Simon Cowell might show them, without even trying, that people genuinely want to buy his music, without some sort of strange motive.

  38. Alistair: I said that the X Factor single "has as much right to go to number one as a record being orchestrated into the chart by a FaceBook group?" because I was trying to steer away from a sense of superiority. I have not joined the FaceBook group, but that doesn't mean I can't have an opinion on it. Nor have I denied any "excitement" it may generate. I just think it's an "excitement" based on an almost random act. I do not wish to patronise anyone in the group, but by maintaining that organised activity can be a very positive thing politically, I didn't mean that anyone involved in the FaceBook group by definition did not have any bigger political battles to fight. I didn't mean to tar everyone with the same brush. I write about that which exercises my mind on the blog, and I have been very careful to offer a point by point anaylysis, rather than a quick slag-off – and in fact, wrote a longer entry for fear of previous posts on Twitter failing to articulate my more complex feelings than 140 characters a pop allow me to. I wrote a long blog entry precisely so that I could try and convey all my feelings about the subject, which is why I took so long explaining my position vis-a-vis The X Factor. (Nothing worse than dismissing something you have never watched, for instance, or generalising about those that enjoy it.)I never said anyone was "thick" to join any FaceBook group. If you took that from something I write, I apologise for failing to explain myself more clearly. I also accept that my arguments may be "flawed in places" as you say. That's why my posts are often rambling, and my additional comments. We're all trying to work stuff out as we go along. (I often go back and edit my blog entries, too, as my opinion forms, but the fun of it is to post something up quickly and get the dialogue going. I welcome comments. If I came onto your FaceBook page and left a comment, that would be spoiling for a fight, which I am not. Now you have come to me. Fair dos.)I did indeed notice your donation link to Shelter. This is admirable. I make many donations to charity, at this and other times of the year, and I shall continue to do so, without announcing it to the world. I'm not sure why you're trying to guilt trip me. Not one single person who has agreed with me here, or on Twitter, was going to join the FaceBook group. I am not trying to stop people joining it. Many have disagreed with me here and on Twitter. It's all part of the dialogue.But I appreciate the time you've taken to respond. You obviously care very deeply about the campaign and I respect that. At least you didn't call me a "retard" like somebody on your group did to a naysayer. (Although they called you "idiots", which I never would do.)

  39. It is a stupid campaign, and buying a major label stadium rock act's old hit song in order to spite the same major label is as about stupid as you can get.I think you are wrong on the 'Snobbery' point though.If music is about anything it should be about art and soul, not about marketing and TV Talent Shows. Lets face it, which ever of the three singers wins X Factor they are guaranteed the christmas number one (despite this moronic campaign). It is surely not right that SC has the power to make someone a 'star'.In the same way you object to MacDonalds or Cocacola, you should object to Cowell's domination of music. His 'acts' are devoid of any art, any soul – it doesn't matter which one wins – its not about the music, only the amount of money he can make off the public.

  40. Andrew, in a day where I've had as many bad things happen to me as there are members of the Polyphonic Spree (roughly), I just want to say how much I've enjoyed this debate.I remembered earlier how Ric Blaxill used to get the Wildhearts onto Top of the Pops when he was producer. It made for a nice variety on the show. I'd rather a different song was being championed, but it'll be nice at least if something guitar-based and angsty gets into the top ten. I believe there is a radio-friendly edit of it, at least. Still, I doubt the Xmas TOTP will even acknowledge it.Hey ho. Have a pleasant evening. 🙂

  41. Andrew:Not sure why you only got the second half of my comment but would be happy to repost the first if you are at all curious.I don't believe I at any point said you were not allowed an opinion on the facebook group, (where would the fun in that be?!) but given you have used the hashtag originally intended to raise awareness of this campaign on twitter (though clearly just as capable and allowed for people to use it to pass comment on a social event) to redirect to this blog, I believe this makes you accountable to be open to discussion on your thoughts (and as you say, this is something you encourage), especially as they seem at to be outwardly discouraging people from taking part or seeking to criticise those who already are. I apologise if it appears I came to you spoiling for a fight but I promise this was not my intention.I can appreciate your clearing up you did not mean to tar everyone with the same brush and my feeling you may have thought people "thick" for signing up to this particular group was largely from the way in which you pointed out some pretty obvious things that many people on the group are already aware (and frankly tired) of.I deeply apologise if you feel I am trying to guilt trip you, (or for any reason call into question how you do or don't donate to charity) this is not my intention, in fact I only mention it as you strike me as the sort who would be upset to think they may even in some small way be potentially diverting people from a group which as well as its demonstrably piffling and largely frivolous, is actually hoping to do some real good while its at it. That is why I feel compelled to say your argument that you are not damaging this aspect of campaign in any way because everyone here and on twitter against the group would never have joined anyway is perhaps a little flawed.Many people may see your link to your blog when searching the topic online or using the hasthtag to see what all the fuss is about, and if they were to come to your blog first they may dismiss the campaign on the basis of your "gut"/"first draft" reasoning, hence avoiding the page and not noticing that there is more to it than getting the word "fuck" to number 1 (as you do not mention the charity aspect of the group in your main post/argument). Now, while this would not be particularly astute or reasoned on their part, it does not make this occurrence an impossibility, and therefore means that on some level you may unwittingly be doing more damage than you realised. I made that point and left the link not to guilt you into compensating the donation page for potential lost traffic, but to simply make you aware of it so you could factor it in to your reasoning, (perhaps also your post?) when you assert your concern this group is largely or completely motivated by musical snobbery. To be honest, there are a great many things I care far more about than this "campaign" (as the word seems so ludicrous for something so ultimately trivial, but then, why should we not be allowed our little trivialities?), and while your response has done much to reassure me, it is more the sense you were condemning something pretty comprehensively on what I genuinely believe to be a minority aspect of the group (snobbishness, idiotic name-calling) when it had a chance to do some actual good beyond chart positions that motivated me to post in the first place.

  42. Rather than picking a RATM song, why didn't the campaign pick a largely unheard of act, one who could properly benefit from a some extra sales and deserves a bit more exposure for their talents?

  43. Alistair, your comments and my responses are getting way too long. The hashtag thing was done out of a sense of honesty, in that I was contributing to the debate, but just in case it really does influence anybody (Christ, I hope not), I have removed any lingering incidences of the hashtag from my Tweets. It seems a bit silly, but I really don't want to give any fuel to the idea that I am in some way trying to destroy your campaign. I'm merely commenting on it, as I think we've now established.

  44. Can I just point out that Malcolm Middleton's 'We're all going to die' is a much better Christmas song than any rubbish RATM have ever produced. If I'm going about it, let's all try get hold of nigh on unreleased stuff from nigh on unrealised bands like the Skuobhie Dubh Ocrhestra and other bands that I personally love? I totally agree with Andrew's rejection of musical snobbery. My girlfriend likes the Backstreet Boys, I like modern folky music. Horses for courses and all that.I'd rather have my own choices than faux agit-prop hipsters playing over-hyped and over-produced parp. That said, I do have a peculiar dislike of Zack de la Rocha (sp?). As Jack McConnell said of Alec Salmond, 'he's the type of guy you take an instant dislike to in order to save time later.'For the record: no, I'm not an X-Factor fan either. It just seems churlish to complain that something that's designed to be popular sells well. Smacks a little of people complaining about the BNP getting a seat… 'Be the change' and all that. Stunt campaigns like this do little, if you want to support the music industry, do so! Buy what you like, pass over what you don't!

  45. Craig:That was not really a contender for Xmas number one and not really relevant to my argument but since you asked…I made the point at the time to my friends and anyone that would listen, that charity singles, while great at raising awareness, are far from the most effective way to raise money for a charity. Out of the sale price of a CD, some money goes to the shop, some to distributors, manufacturers, digital content providers, not to mention the royalties for the performance, radio broadcast which all go to record labels, publishers and copyright holders. (Finally, it is worth mentioning many of these things also take months to process).Actually determining how much of that goes to the cause in question is tremendously difficult and it is a certainty that a far easier way to give more (and more directly to the cause) is to donate personally, the exact same money you would have spent on the CD. This ensures a far more direct and greater proportion of funds goes straight to the charity in question. Granted this would not come with the full buzz of a "charity release" but a far more honest and less cynical way to release the song would be to use the exact same marketing push to make it available digitally upon the donation of a minimum fee at a dedicated campaign website (the technology exists so it is not impossible, more eco-friendly too). Charity singles piggy-back publicity and airplay off of the interest in genuine causes and have always left a bad taste in my mouth, so if I see a charity I want to support is having a single to raise money for it, I always give the money direct instead and encourage others to do the same. While I see the way you were trying to flip my reasoning against me, I did not post on this blog to retroactively advocate against buying a charity single, but raise concerns over this blog post which I felt may potentially and in a small number of cases put people off visiting a group which is advocating DIRECT donation instead of purchasing a charity single.On that point, Andrew:Sorry for the long posts but I do believe in trying to do people the courtesy of accurately explaining myself (especially when being critical) and I am not very good at being concise! (Promise, must try harder!).I fully appreciate you were only commenting on the situation, and were and should rightly be completely free to do so, to use the hashtag (and still should be in fact) but as I feel I have established, with attention for all the facts as they become apparent and due care and understanding for the potential knock-on effects (including potentially diverting people from somewhere they may have chosen to donate for a worthy cause, as well as causing annoyingly wordy twats such as myself to come to your page). 🙂 I don't feel you are trying to destroy the whole campaign, and really wouldn't care if the number one was all that was at stake, in that case I would just say "have at it", just feel your argument being tempered slightly with a "at least some of those eejits are trying to use the group for something decent and pay to a good cause while they are at it", would maybe provide a more measured view.I take you at your word and admire your honesty when you say you are working it out as you go and are open to changing your mind or revising your opinions, something you have more than demonstrated, and I sincerely hope my posting here isn't taken as anything more than contributing to the debate. Cheers for the responses.

  46. The lead singer of Fiddler's Dram – – yes, of Day Trip To Bangor fame – has her own proper DIY non-corporate self-produced Christmas single out this year. I think all real music fans believe that "Christmas Time" by Cathy LeSurf is the real anti-Cowell, anti-anti-Rage Against The Machine single of choice for all the family this year.Plus, my kids are in the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3swVU4dwYrk(Warning: may contain sleighbells).

  47. The thing that kinda annoys me most about all this is that I can't help feeling there's a much more *charming* way of going about it; there's a likable song out currently which – while it's not actually about Christmas – certainly fits the feel of a potential Christmas Number 1. On top of that, since it's current, it could probably garner sales *outside* the campaign. And finally, it's for charity: The Animated All-Star Band medley.It's also incredibly cheesy, of course, but that feels… right, somehow. But then I'm a sentimental old fool!

  48. I was kind of hoping that Jona lewie's Don't Stop The Cavalry would be rereleased and get to number one, it's a great song with a very pertinent lyric.Other than that I'm at a point in my life where I think arguing over musical differences makes about as much sense as fighting over different wallpapers.It's like that old saying, it doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.no matter who is number one, the same people will be getting even more rich of the back of it.There's really more important things to get angry about.Great article Andrew.

  49. Andrew, does this Alastair character have an off button…I assume you know him or he is a regular commenter? Perhaps he should find a campaign that merits the internet column inches. After reading your article I began to read the posts last night mainly because of the number of comments. But when I got to his it became a chore…Anyway, everything that needs to be said has been said…in the end its all about choice. So as you say *uck it.

  50. What we have learned, then:Purchasing a single where a certain proportion of the proceeds ends up in non-charity hands = bad.Making a direct donation to charity then purchasing a non-charity single where all of the proceeds end up in non-charity hands = good.Ho Ho Ho!

  51. Mike: If you read my last comment I do in fact apologise and make fun of myself for being so overly wordy. I can only genuinely apologise further if you found it such a chore, but as I said to Andrew, I feel if I am going to criticise someone, I at least owe them the courtesy of making my thoughts clear and fully explaining myself, something Andrew himself admits to having done when deciding on how long his original blog post should be criticising the campaign. Also, no, I do not know Andrew other than for his cracking podcast with Richard Herring which I have been listening to of late, and was only brought to this page because Andrew was giving this campaign the "internet column inches" you speak of in the first place, contributing to debate, and I happened to disagree with some of what he said. mintness: Not so much "bad and good" as "good and far better" (if it was indeed my previous comment you were referring to). Its frankly irrelevant what someone buys other than a charity single if they have made a direct contribution of at least the value of the charity CD first (for all the reasons I explained in my previous comment on the matter). In that scenario the charity is still well up on the deal, so unless you are arguing people should not be allowed to then buy anything that doesn't in some way contribute to charity, I am afraid I do not follow your reasoning. Charity singles are far better than nothing in terms of fundraising, but still inherently somewhat dishonest as the vast majority of people do not seem to realise how the money is split/shared/recouped from them. I only even mentioned this in response to criticism from another commenter (as I am again doing now) and so once again can only apologise if my being here pisses people off.Andrew: Sorry again for clogging up your comments but I feel I should be allowed to defend myself! 🙂

  52. I'll probably buy the X Factor winner's single this year and if it gets to number one then fine…based on real sales if that's the case then they deserve it. It doesn't mean it's better or worse than any other song that didn't get to number, it just means more people bought it. What's wrong with that?This embarrassing railing against Simon Cowell and the X Factor doesn't take into account that it's the way the vast majority of pop music has been marketed and sold since the 1950s, from The Beatles to the Teletubbies.I won't be buying Killing In The Name because I bought it in 1992 and I still have the album on my iPod, so no need. To be honest, I'd hate for a band like RATM to be remembered as the act who could only have a hit single because some music snobs decided to 'make a point'.

  53. The motivation behind this for many people is simply to throw a spanner in the works and knock a manufactured ballad from the #1 spot. For most of us it's not about consumerism, Sony or Cowell, it's about music and proving that not everyone wants to listen to the same boring sh*t year after year.

  54. It's not snobbery at all! We have Russ Abbot in our music collection for a start. We have nothing against X Factor or people who like the music at all, just want Christmas number one back. You really are reading way too much into it. For us we just thought it was silly, bored of predictable festive chart toppers. There are many other groups campaigning for a certain song to be number one. For some reason this one seemed to attract people. Never actually thought they would join like this.When we did realise we started http://www.justgiving.com/ratm4xmasand people have been incredible generous.Really it's just a bit of a laugh.

  55. 1. Just because Simon Cowell's company are owned by Sony who also own the company that produce rage doesn't mean he will see a single penny. He won't see a single penny, as the two companies are operated independently.2. I really don't see how one persons misguided comment is any kind of argument against this campaign. Especially since most of us don't see it like that.3. Again, a couple of quotes from people who don't speak for the whole group. I never said Cowells empire needs toppelling, I simply want to stop him from abusing the popularity of his TV show to cheat his way to Christmas number one, and thus depriving more deserving acts. So how is this point relevant when only a couple of morons said it?4. The choice of song is arbitrary. It was chosen for being a good song, not because the band support or ever would support this cause of stopping Xfactor being number one. The song could be anyone song and the message would still be the same. "You can't buy your way into Christmas Number one". And no one, ANYWHERE has ever suggested otherwise, so this point is completely invalid.5. How is this an argument against anything? Would our efforts be put to better use elsewhere, probably. But that's no reason to not do it.In short, that blog post = fail.

  56. X Factor is a really clever program, and Simon Cowell is a really clever guy.The program is effectively a PR stunt orchestrated by Simon Cowell, lasting several weeks and eventually leading to the majority of the people watching the show buying the eventual singles it will produce. It doesn't matter who the winner is – so long as he/she has cried on television, shown why they really want to win and, of course, received the backing of the big SC (I'm pretty sure that's all the finalists I've covered there), they're going to be a hit.That's not what makes it clever though, oh no. What makes it clever is how the future single buyers are made to PAY for the ability to buy the single in the future! Thats right, people ring in and pay in order to push they're favourite 15 minute celeb to the top!Objecting to Simon Cowell's latest show horse taking the no.1 spot this Christmas is kind of like being caring to the environment by only being carbon neutral – It's not going to solve the problem, it's a good way to practice a bit of moral posturing.I would much rather see people boycotting voting in the first place. Let the judges decide who is good and then get them through. Don't be the turkeys voting for Christmas.T

  57. its quite interesting a few people saying they want Xmas number1 back- back from who? i couldn't remember any good ones at all so a quick whizz on wikipedia…what was the last good one? east17's stay? maybe not so manufactured but still a ballad..its really quite a struggle- 1974 and slade?cheersmatt

  58. I've never followed X Factor but since catching Joe a few weeks ago I've watched some of it and um all of his performances on youtube. Unassuming talent is always cool but much more so in this context. He'd be a refreshing winner (and number one) even if it was only for the natural musicality of his singing. "You could sell millions… There's a big big gap in the market for somebody like you," says Louis. Some people just don't have souls do they.

  59. Blimey Andrew – you've not had a reaction like this in a long time and over something so relatively innocent. You must feel a bit like the guy who said "All I said was 'That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah'".Got any views on cutlery and napkin rings? I'm sure there are some out there prepared to be outraged at whatever you might have to say.

  60. Don't knock music snobs. They provide a great service for that more recent of groups: Those that seem to want a pat on the back for liking manufactured pop. What a brave stance they are all taking. We could learn so much from them, etc. Yawn.Tom

  61. I'm not sure those that – gasp – "like manufactured pop" think themselves "brave", Tom. Music is just music. It's permissable to like all different bits of it on different days for different reasons. What I can't stand is the theoretical dismissal of any large swathe of music based on the idea that one is somehow worthier than the other, when really it's all down to taste. When I was 14 I tied myself up in knots trying to work out which "punk" bands I was allowed to like in order to maintain my "punk" credentials. Then I grew up a bit and started liking disco music as well as punk. Life improved as a result.

  62. I think your somewhat missing the point. It isn't about snobbery or denying money to certain parties. Its about trying to change something.There used to be the idea that you could have a little guess about who's going to be the christmas number one. It was a little something we had at christmas, as trivial as it was, it was still quite nice. However due to the X-Factor that's now gone. As we all know that who ever wins X-Factor gets the Christmas number one. The show has stolen a small aspect of christmas and that's the driving idea behind the campaign.Though personally I think choosing something with more broad appeal would give more justification to the campaign. However without that hook of 'getting fuck in to the charts' you loose the mass appeal thats required for this to gain any traction.

  63. Whilst I hate the 'fixed' chart at Christmas these past few years, and as much as I like and enjoy RATM, I won't be participating for most if not all of the reasons you have so eloquently given.I do also enjoy the word fuck. 🙂

  64. When I was at Art College everyone loved The Cure, until they realised that everyone loved The Cure, and then no-one loved The Cure.Great article Andrew, you seem to be trying to address a lot of points simultaneously – but somehow you pull it off (titter).

  65. I think it stems from strong feelings of sadness that the singles chart is irrelevant now. I recall the excitement of listening to the Top 40 on the radio as a youngster, waiting to hear what would be number 1 that week, watching TOTP… but the march of time and technology means such days are long gone. The current generation will never have their Blur v Oasis moment. Even when we first saw the charts dying, the Christmas number 1 battle was still something that ignited the imagination. Yes, the songs were often woeful (I recall being gutted when Mr Blobby beat Take That one year) but you still couldn't predict it. The last year we felt that excitement was Mad World v The Darkness. It seems like such a long time ago now. As long as the X-Factor prospers (and I'm sure it will prosper for some time to come, but equally no TV show lasts forever) and as long as it continues to time its end for Christmas, the last remaining exciting thing about the singles chart is dead. It's not a massively important thing in the grand scheme of the world, but I think certain generations have a nostalgic longing for the excitement of it. That's been replaced by the excitement of "who's going to win the X-Factor?" and it's is a sad thing to behold, because of the creeping feeling that whichever fresh-faced wannabe wins this year, they will be back on the scrapheap soon, another Steve Brookstein or Leon Jackson or Shane Ward. The music industry has always been cruel, but putting its most cynical face on primetime TV is no replacement for a real chart battle. RATM will not be Christmas number 1. If the Buckley campaign couldn't do it then neither will this. I also think it's a little silly as I doubt there will be any new fans being turned on to RATM by this, whereas I think a fair few people did discover Buckley for the first time because of last year; and that's a good thing, no matter who owns the publishing rights to his songs. As for people trying to turn this into a rant against consumerism… people, people, you're still *buying* something!If people want to buy X-Factor releases they can. And if people want to buy RATM they can. But neither group are really helping those talented musicians who get zero press attention because they have no wealthy record company to purchase advertising space for them, neither are helping musicians who would rather go their own way than to the Brit school. The charts are dead. Spend your time and money getting out there and listening to some good live music that you haven’t heard before. Or not. It’s your choice, isn’t it?

  66. I confess I am in the "it's just a little bit of fun" camp. Not overly keen on x factor stuff or even RATM either. However the general person on the street sometimes likes to stick their fingers up to the big man. Possibly flawed yes but still pretty harmless.Now snobbery is very annoying, although not really related I am a huge wrestling fan and get bucket loads of snobbish comments about how it's not real and it's for kids. The stupid thing is, it's not much different to a drama like Eastenders, it's entertainment. In a perfect world it's nice to not be a snob, but I guess everyone is a little in there own way.

  67. I am a huge RATM fan but I agree with Andrew, this is a pointless campaign. I have always had a very broad music taste and happen to really enjoy thrash and industrial metal. The pop music charts are that, for pop music. If you are a fan of pop music then the top 40 run down must be an exciting experience, frankly I couldn't care less. I don't feel the need to like a song because its popular nor try to ruin the fun of those who do. The people who choose to go out and buy the X-factor single have their right to do so.This is nothing more than music snobbery. Its no different from when you were told to "turn that noise" down when you were a kid. Its natural for a minority to stand apart from the crowd, but what your doing by supporting this campain is kicking over peoples sandcastles and its pointless. Exercise your freedom of choice and listen to your own music playlist if you want to.

  68. You seem to be assuming that musical snobbery is exclusive to those with leftfield tastes which, in my experience is very far from the truth. True, a fan of, for example, Japanese noiseniks Boris won't have much time for Alexandra Burke but the reverse is every bit as true for Burke's fans. Except they'd never need to get annoyed enough to start a campaign as they would be unlikely to ever have to suffer the music. This is why I find it a little bizarre that this particular battle is one you has chosen. X Factor fans need no defending. They have an endless supply of their taste in music supplied to them.You say that you just can't stand people condemning large swathes of music – so can we expect a similar post complaining about the lack of free-jazz/goth rock/techno/whatever on the X-factor? Of course not. This sort of argument is exclusively used to defend commercial pop because doing so shows off your open-minded credentials. There's nothing people like denying more in Britain than being a snob. We're all snobs of one sort or other but we usually call it 'taste' when referring to ourselves and 'snobbery' if applying it to others.Having such a closed shop for Christmas number one sucks and the type of music dominating it is secondary to the process itself and to concentrate more on the supposed blinkered tastes of those involved in protesting is disingenuous.I'm glad you enjoy disco as well as punk, though. Those are two of ma favourites, also.Tom

  69. Others on Twitter seem to think that Simon Cowell's "empire" needs "toppling." Why not Google's empire? Or Amazon's empire? Because these are faceless organisations. There is no one they can vent their anger at other then a passive webpage. The Cowell emipre is fully equipped with a smug face people will queue up to punch.

  70. For heaven's sake!It's a laugh. At it's most meaningful it's an objection to the transient nature and false emotional pitch of X-Factor crap. And it's a cheeky two-fingers up to Cowell, who has had enough xmas number 1s now.I'm gonna buy it. I want to share in the joke with half a million other facebook users, and it would be wonderfully surreal to have RATM at number one.Rob

  71. Ah Mr Collins, Andrew if I may? No? Fair enough. I'm afraid I do detect a slight whiff of intellectual snobbery here. I think the important element to remember in this case is FUN. I don't to this in an attempt to be Machiavellian, nor in a peurile wish to hear the word fuck (I'd much prefer a cunt, you can inject far more vehemence into that word, go on just say it out loud, bark it if you will). I don't care about rocking the establishment, hell I work for local government for gods sake! Neither do I despise Simon Cowell (well maybe a bit, but only because he took my Sinnita away from me, bastard). I'm doing it for a bit of fun. The song is irrelevant isn't it? It could have been Shakin' Stevens and I still would have joined, hell I would have bought Gary Glitter! There are so many pointless campaigns on FB. Witness that attempt to reunite some moron with their camera (personally I would have reunited it with his face as hard as possible, idiot). There are also some quite worthy ones, as evident in the fact that I've been banned from FB three times due to my "discussions" over certain "controversial" baby related things last year. This campaign, however is purely fun. The kind of fun you might talk about in the local pub, or the sort of fun that sees you mass invite all your "friends" to join a group. And that, in my opinion is all it is, don't read so much into it. In the end who really cares? Come christmas morning I shall be spinning that classic cover version of "Rocking around the Christmas Tree" by Mel Smith and Kim Wilde. Not RATM and certainly not Hallelujah old version or new (although I always preferred the Rufus Wainwright version). I care enough to spend £0.79, I don't care enough to continue this little diatribe any longer. Good day to you sir, have a very merry christmas, a happy Hanukkah and a krazy Kwanzaa (sic)Steve Willingham (Twitter @ Cholok)

  72. So you think that to want RATM to go to number 1 instead of the X factor winner is music snobbery? To think a certain act has greater artistic merit than another is snobbery? You used to be a music journalist didn't you? How did you handle the inherent snobbery that went with that if you hate music snobbery so much? However, you are quite right that the "fuck you I won't do what you tell me" refrain is a bit ironic when a load of sheep are going to buy the song just because it's been suggested to them. You are also right that X Factor is hardly a million miles away from the New Faces and Opportunity Knocks of old (even evil Simon Cowell is just emulating Tony Hatch in telling untalented people they are shit).

  73. The beauty of the whole situation is that because music is such a subjective medium, the whole campaign isn't a fight between "good" and "evil" or between "the people" battling "the system" or whatever; it's a simple school playground style "who-wants-to-join-our-gang-and-be-bigger-than-the-other-big-gang" gang mentality.Personally, I couldn't care less either way.

  74. As the great (ahem) Noel Gallagher once said, "X-Factor is everything about entertainment and nothing about music." Or something like that.I only have one rule for music – does it sound good to my ears? If so, I don't care who produces or sings or writes it, I'll buy it.The X-Factor stuff though, is cup-a-soup for the ears. And that is just wrong.Merry wobs one and all Deb Holt

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