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Facebook Campaign Decides UK Christmas Music Charts 362

Posted by kdawson
from the rage-against-the-commercialization dept.
uglyduckling writes "A grassroots Facebook campaign has pushed the 1990s Rage Against the Machine song 'Killing in the Name Of' to the top of the British music charts for Christmas. The campaign was planned to prevent the X-Factor winner from charting Christmas number one, as has been the case for the past four years. It was supposedly a kick against the commercialism of Christmas and commercial dominance in the music scene, although Rage and the X-Factor winner Joe McElderry were actually signed to the same label. Despite this minor detail, it's interesting to note that this is the first song to reach the number one spot through downloads alone in the UK, and is a testament to the organizational power of social networking sites like Facebook. The Facebook group also asked for donations to charity, and has raised £70,000 for the homeless charity Shelter."
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Facebook Campaign Decides UK Christmas Music Charts

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  • Charity (Score:5, Informative)

    by tompeach (1118811) on Monday December 21, 2009 @05:43AM (#30510230)
    And RATM are giving the proceeds to Shelter too, good for them:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/8423340.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by siloko (1133863)

      are giving the proceeds to Shelter

      (They stuck a Shelter link on the Facebook page - not quite the same thing!)

      Which is good all the same - but on the wider point of sticking two fingers up to the establishment - it is worth mentioning that Rage Against the Machine are signed to the SAME record label as the X-Factor dude and this 'contest' simply pushed the sales of both singles through the roof thereby lining the pockets of Simon Cowell and Sony BMG! And there is the further question as to whether or not it is more 'anti-establishment' b

      • Re:Charity (Score:5, Informative)

        by tompeach (1118811) on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:23AM (#30510422)

        (They stuck a Shelter link on the Facebook page - not quite the same thing!)

        The band are additionally giving the proceeds from the record sales to Shelter, from the Beeb article:

        Guitarist Tom Morello said it had "tapped into the silent majority of the people in the UK who are tired of being spoon-fed one schmaltzy ballad after another". He added that proceeds from the single would go to homeless charity Shelter tying in with the Morters' Facebook campaign which includes an online link to give to the charity, raising over £70,000 so far.

      • Re:Charity (Score:5, Interesting)

        by LordSnooty (853791) on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:25AM (#30510430)
        Actually the Xfactor-bot's song sold 100,000 less than last year's winner did, who did secure the Xmas no1 spot. So to say it has increased Cowell's profits is wrong. It was a win-win for Sony though. And the BPI, who saw several hundred thousand people legally download a song for the first time (and paid for it!)
        • Re:Charity (Score:4, Interesting)

          by h4rm0ny (722443) on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:56AM (#30510542) Journal

          And the BPI, who saw several hundred thousand people legally download a song for the first time (and paid for it!)

          You might be right... but I think this requires some examination. The BPI are the UK equivalent of the RIAA. They similarly earn their crust by representing studios against things like copyright infringement. Now people buying music from these studios means that the BPI's paymasters have more money and some of that money might roll downhill. But like the RIAA, the BPI make capital out of scaring the studios with the spectre of piracy. Two things happen when people buy music as a pure download. Firstly, they're a counter to the pirates that take without paying, thus they show some honesty in the target audience meaning piracy seems less threatening than it otherwise would. Secondly, it supports and promotes a distribution model that doesn't require a lot of capital or risk to get involved in, thus opening up the market to smaller studios and even artists marketing themselves directly. This latter consequence of paying for downloads is almost certainly not one that helps the BPI or RIAA.

          So this is indeed great news for Sony (and a nice bonus for whichever Sony exec started the Facebook group ), even better news for Shelter which are a great charity, but probably not in the long term, good for the BPI. Just like the worst thing for people making money out of "The War on Drugs" is people coming off drugs, the worst thing for those making a living from fighting piracy, are honest people who are willing to pay for something they like.

          • Re:Charity (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Zocalo (252965) on Monday December 21, 2009 @07:48AM (#30510784) Homepage
            I've been pondering the ramifications for the BPI and the music industry at large as well, and I'm coming to the conclusion that the BPI and rest of the UK music business are going to be particularly happy with this development once they've had some time to think it through a little.

            Firstly, while it's a little screwed up due to the reason for the sales, it shows that one of their key target market segments within the UK population is actually willing to fork over money on-line for music. More importantly, however, is that it shows that a sizable chunk of this sector of the market is not entirely happy with the bland Pop/R&B fare that sounds exactly the same as the last one and makes up the bulk of their product. That at the very least pokes a few holes in their claims that people are not prepared to pay for music, and very clearly demonstrates that they are not catering for the needs of their target market as well as they could be.

            Somehow, I suspect that this little incident is going to get used against them the next time they try making claims about on-line music piracy being responsible for their falling sales and (supposed) fall in profits.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by h4rm0ny (722443)

              Somehow, I suspect that this little incident is going to get used against them the next time they try making claims about on-line music piracy being responsible for their falling sales and (supposed) fall in profits.

              I'm probably being dense, but how does this undermine claims that online music piracy is responsible for falling sales? (Assuming sales are falling). As this song is both cheap (I think 29 pence is pretty fair to have a song I like to listen to whenever I want) and is available as a download, i

              • Re:Charity (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Zocalo (252965) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:05AM (#30511558) Homepage
                It undermines the claims that piracy is responsible for the declining sales firstly because it shows that a *lot* of people are prepared to pay for music after all, so clearly not everyone is a "freetard" who just downloads everything via P2P. Not only that, but it also shows that they are so fed up with the recycled Pop/R&B performances that labels churn out over and over again, that they are prepared to pay for a song quite a few of them probably won't even listen to in protest. Put the two together, and I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that at least part of the sales decline is actually due to the labels neglecting a sizable chunk of their potential customers taste rather than just P2P.

                The problem as I see it isn't so much that the quality music isn't there, because it is. The real problem is that if an act doesn't fit the cookie-cutter Pop/R&B model then they'll get next to no marketing support from the studios, making it all but impossible for potential fans to find them amidst all the dross that's also out there in music's long tail. Frankly, I think that the music industry has got so caught up in its "War against Piracy", that it's forgotten just how wonderfully diverse music can be and that not everyone likes to hear nothing but Pop and R&B.
        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          All I really care about is that Cliff Richard hasn't had a number 1 this decade, ending his unbroken since the 50s.

      • Re:Charity (Score:5, Informative)

        by Zocalo (252965) on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:31AM (#30510460) Homepage
        Actually, RATM are donating their proceeds from the sales to Shelter as well as the £70,000 (it's even mentioned in the article linked from the summary) and intend throw a free concert in the UK at some point next year. Of course, this is only the artist's cut of 500,000 digital downloads that we are talking about here, so I'd be very surprised if the total was much larger than the £70,000 generated from the Facebook page.

        Personally, my eyes are now on Sony UK and, to a lesser extent, Simon Cowell. Sony have profited to the tune of 500,000 digital downloads on the RATM track, plus probably a good 100,000 extra copies of McElderry's bought by X-Factor fans to try and keep RATM off number one spot. Total materials cost: £0. I think it only fair that they make a gesture in kind and make a sizable donation to Shelter as well.
        • Re:Charity (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Mr_Silver (213637) on Monday December 21, 2009 @07:34AM (#30510724)

          Personally, my eyes are now on Sony UK and, to a lesser extent, Simon Cowell. Sony have profited to the tune of 500,000 digital downloads on the RATM track, plus probably a good 100,000 extra copies of McElderry's bought by X-Factor fans to try and keep RATM off number one spot. Total materials cost: £0. I think it only fair that they make a gesture in kind and make a sizable donation to Shelter as well.

          Slight nitpick, but although there may have been no materials cost, don't forgot that Sony would have had to pay for the 1.43 terrabytes (500,000 x 3GB) worth of data that people used to download it.

          It may be cheaper than producing and shipping a product, but this is Slashdot and we shouldn't be getting into the mistake of assuming that a digital download doesn't cost anything.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by threephaseboy (215589)

            >implying that a single track is 3GB

            wat

            Also the track is 5:14 so it's actually more like 10MB for a 256kbps encode, so ~5TB total transferred, which would cost about $850 from Amazon S3

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by mrjb (547783)
            (500,000 x 3GB) worth of data

            Wait, what? I thought I was supposed to download the MP3, not the frickin' DVD!
        • Re:Charity (Score:5, Interesting)

          by LSD-OBS (183415) on Monday December 21, 2009 @07:48AM (#30510782)

          Yet you would not believe how many people are bitching and moaning about how the "spiteful" and "selfish" people with "no tolerance for the tastes of others" have "ruined" the chart results for poor little Joe McElderry and they should be "ashamed of themselves" for being such "sheep".

          No, I'm not kidding. People actually think that. The conversations have hurt my head so much I hardly slept last night.

        • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker@gnu ... org minus distro> on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:13AM (#30510896) Homepage

          Sony have profited to the tune of 500,000 digital downloads on the RATM track [...] I think it only fair that they make a gesture in kind and make a sizable donation to Shelter as well.

          I presented your idea to Sony's CEO, and here's what he told me:

          "Fuck you I won't do as you tell me!"

          (He repeated that until fading out)

      • Re:Charity (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Xiaran (836924) on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:50AM (#30510522)
        Im in the UK and I bought 6 copies of Killing in the Name. It was not about "sticking it to the man"(I'm 37 for christ's sake). Nor do I give two shits that Sony is making money off of it. I don;t give a fuck what Simon Cowell thinks of anything. I just wanted Killing in the Name to be number one at christmas. I wanted something other than the bland, synthesised crap that we get as a christmas number 1 these last few years. This is not a political statment. Please try to understand that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bigtomrodney (993427) *
          I would have to say that you making a concerted effort to make sure one song was at number one while keeping...

          something other than the bland, synthesised crap that we get as a christmas number 1 these last few years

          ...out of the charts. Though you may not care for the politics at the surface of it, you most certainly are contributing to the campaign in going beyond what anyone could consider a normal music purchase.

        • Re:Charity (Score:4, Interesting)

          by tverbeek (457094) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:48AM (#30511376) Homepage

          What I find difficult to wrap my mind around is the fact that anyone really cares this much what song is at #1 on Christmas. Yes, I know, it's a long-standing British fixation, presumably starting from some record label or another trumpeting about how popular a gift their latest 45 was. And it's nice that from time to time it can be used to focus attention on something serious, like with "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
           
          But really: Why does it matter?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Xiaran (836924)
            It doesn't matter. It's just a laugh.
          • Re:Charity (Score:4, Insightful)

            by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:23AM (#30511720)

            Why do Christmas trees matter?
            Why does tinsel and fairy lights matter?
            Why does Morecambe and Wise / Only Fools and Horses / Other christmas specials matter?
            Why does the Queen's speech matter?
            Why do Christmas crackers and party hats and Christmas pudding matter?

            It's all just part of many British people's Christmas traditions. Things that make people feel good this time of year. Not important in the grand scheme of things. But important enough to care and to spend modest amounts of money on.

          • Re:Charity (Score:5, Funny)

            by tehcyder (746570) on Monday December 21, 2009 @12:21PM (#30513084) Journal

            Why does it matter?

            Indeed, how can anything matter now that Brittany Murphy is dead?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by beelsebob (529313)

        Who claimed this was anti-establishment, or anti-SonyBMG. This was merely people speaking out about thinking X-Factor, and the music that comes out of it, sucks cocks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by slim (1652)

        And there is the further question as to whether or not it is more 'anti-establishment' being told what to buy by some a TV offering or some grassroots facebook campaign

        I think there's a huge difference. One product was pushed by a multi-million pound commercial machine over dozens of hours of prime-time TV, endlessly gossiped about in the papers and on the radio. The other was pushed by a part-time rock DJ making a Facebook page. These things are worlds apart.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by siloko (1133863)
          I agree there is a difference - but at the end of the day people have made a choice - they have either bought what they were told to buy by Simon Cowell or they have bought what they have been told to buy by some 'part-time rock DJ making a Facebook page', for you the difference is huge for me all I see is people failing to think for themselves.
          • by Xiaran (836924)
            I think you are reading far too much into this. Lighten up.
            • by siloko (1133863)
              You mean this wasn't supposed to be the start of the uprising - bleh, I'll rehang my pitch fork ;)
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by M-RES (653754)

            ...they have been told to buy by some 'part-time rock DJ making a Facebook page'... people failing to think for themselves.

            Which is where your reasoning falls apart...

            The people supporting the FaceBook campaign weren't being told what to buy, as normally most of them would abstain completely from the whole Xmas pop chart fiasco. What they did was CHOOSE to get involved in a campaign that aimed to focus people's dissatisfaction at the status quo (not Status Quo the band!!! hehe, that's NEXT year's campaign...) in one concerted effort to make a giant audible statement that the established order of the media conglomerates couldn'

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Just for the sake of accuracy, Rage is signed to Epic. The X-Factor dude is signed to Syco. Both labels are subdivisions of Sony/BMG, but unless Simon Cowell has stock options at Sony (which, I'll admit, is pretty damned likely) then this download campaign isn't necessarily "lining (his) pockets." Purchases of a RATM song may increase the value of a company in which he has an investment, but there's no money from the sale going straight to him.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BasilBrush (643681)

        Which is good all the same - but on the wider point of sticking two fingers up to the establishment - it is worth mentioning that Rage Against the Machine are signed to the SAME record label as the X-Factor dude and this 'contest' simply pushed the sales of both singles through the roof thereby lining the pockets of Simon Cowell and Sony BMG

        The point was never about depriving the X factor label of profits.

        In Britain, the Christmas Number One record has a sentimental value for many people. It feels like a pa

  • by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Monday December 21, 2009 @05:44AM (#30510234) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure which one is worse for the Christmas, Mankind and Intelligence, though,
  • Not the same label (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fingerbob (613137) on Monday December 21, 2009 @05:46AM (#30510248)

    Rage against the machine are signed to Epic, whereas the X-Factor winners are signed to Syco. Both are owned by Sony, but really ... who cares? This campaign was never about the money, it was about doing something to stop the tediousness of X-Factor chart domination.

    It was worth it all, just to hear someone swearing on Radio 5.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by stevencbrown (238995)

      I agree with this, but one thing I am baffled about - why are RATM part of the Sony Empire? Surely completely against what they stand for?

      • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:27AM (#30510438)

        "When you live in a capitalistic society, the currency of the dissemination of information goes through capitalistic channels. Would Noam Chomsky object to his works being sold at Barnes & Noble? No, because that's where people buy their books. We're not interested in preaching to just the converted. It's great to play abandoned squats run by anarchists, but it's also great to be able to reach people with a revolutionary message, people from Granada Hills to Stuttgart."

        - Tom Morello via Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I also have a relevant quote:
          "Main Entry: hypocrite
          Pronunciation: \hi-p-krit\
          Function: noun
          Etymology: Middle English ypocrite, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin hypocrita, from Greek hypokrits actor, hypocrite, from hypokrinesthai
          Date: 13th century
          1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
          2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
          — hypocrite adjective"

      • by jimicus (737525)

        I agree with this, but one thing I am baffled about - why are RATM part of the Sony Empire? Surely completely against what they stand for?

        No matter what they publicly stand for, at the end of the day most people stand for paying their mortgage and putting food on the table.

      • by EEDAm (808004) on Monday December 21, 2009 @07:45AM (#30510768)
        When Killing In The Name Of came out in 1992 there was, of course, no iTunes or any interwebsnet distribution channel. You had to have a label for your record to be heard, which at that time was Epic. As guitarist Tom Morello said "Epic agreed to everything we asked -- and they've followed through.... We never saw a conflict as long as we maintained creative control." Like Jane's Addiction four or so years before, the material was so strong that the bidding war between labels was that fierce that the band were able to lay down their own terms. Very few bands even of strongest principles against mass commercialisation were able to avoid a major label at that time. Even Chuck D allowed himself to be talked into Public Enemy being on a major label for several albums. Its only the democratisation of digital downloads, internet publicity and all that that has made it possible to bust that old model. A lot has changed in 17 years.
  • by netpixie (155816) on Monday December 21, 2009 @05:55AM (#30510298) Homepage

    "a testiment to the organisational power of social networking sites like Facebook"

    I think that might be going a bit far. What it is testament to is that we're all fed up of shitty pop.

    Previously, we've all been too fragmented, "I don't like shitty pop, but I do like cool jazz" (etc.) so (as with many democratic systems) the thing that the largest people like (which also happens to be the thing the largest number of people also dislike) ends up getting branded "good".

    What happened here was that, pretty much by accident, someone found something that everyone sort-of likes (Killing in the name of) and were able to use as a banner behind which to mass to express how much we dislike bloody x-factor. I, myself, have been not buying X-factor records for many years and have had absolutely zero effect on anything, This year I bought two copies of Killing in the name of (I song I like) (and the second one was a mistake, bloody iTunes) and now can delude myself into thinking I might have had some small influence on Simon Cowell.

    Next time he's putting together an identikit pop star perhaps he'll pause for a moment and think "Should I make this one staggeringly hopelessly bland? No, I'll raise my game and just make it very bland". Which is, at least, a step in the right direction.

    And (back to the point I started with), they tried this game last year, but chose Rick Astley. And even with the "organisational power of social networking sites like Facebook", they failed.

    I think Facebook was probably fairly low down the list of causes for this. I think the real things that helped here are:

    1) Wide spread public anger
    2) Choosing the right song
    3) The BBC (where I heard about it)

    • totally.

      facebook was just a convenient mechanism, nothing unique about it made this possible
    • by gsslay (807818)

      I'm bemused that people think that Cowell is in the least bit concern about this. He's delighted. Bottom line is that the whole campaign simply acted as yet another bonus round of XFactor. "Vote now for who you want to have the Christmas No. 1!" "It doesn't matter really, either way Simon wins!" They even had the XFactor style looooong pause before announcing the Christmas number 1. Now cue the banal interview with the "winner".

      It made absolutely no difference to Cowell, it was just more free publici

  • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:03AM (#30510348)

    "It was supposedly a kick against the commercialism of Christmas and commercial dominance in the music scene"

    In a way, but it was more the fact that the previous 4 years' Christmas Number Ones had been X-Factor winners. It's slightly disingenuous to say that the Facebook campaign was a "kick against the commercialism of Christmas"...

    "Commercial dominance" ever was a factor in the race for christmas number one in the UK, but at least it was a race, not a foregone conclusion. Like when the Spice Girls went up against Chef and his Chocolate Salty Balls. The trend in recent years is for the X-Factor winner (whoever it is, it doesn't matter) to win. This is just a big "fuck you, I won't do what you tell me"...music lovers taking back the Christmas #1 slot.

    (Either that or it's a cynical ploy by Sony BMG to sell 500,000 records that they wouldn't have sold otherwise...)

  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:09AM (#30510370)
    I am amazed that so many people are willing to vote for X-Factor and who should be no1 in the Christmas charts but will not vote for who runs the UK!

    That's like totally horrifying.

    At least protest for a something worthwhile - e.g. against clause 11 of the "Digital Economy Bill"http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200910/ldbills/001/10001.13-19.html [parliament.uk] Essentially gives Lord Mandelson complete control of what is published on Internet and unrivalled power and "interpretation" of copyright law.

    You can join petitions here: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/list/open?cat=758 [number10.gov.uk]

    Then again Simon Cowell wants to "X-Factor" politics http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1236002/The-Politics-Factor-Simon-Cowell-unveils-plan-launch-election-debate-show.html [dailymail.co.uk] This mentality scares the crap out of me!
    • by Thundarr Trollgrim (847077) on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:29AM (#30510452)
      > I am amazed that so many people are willing to vote for X-Factor and who should be no1 in the Christmas charts but will not vote for who runs the UK!
      >
      > That's like totally horrifying.

      The difference is that these two songs are polar opposites. When it comes to the General Election, you're voting for one bastard over another bastard, both with essentially the same policies.

      Why bother voting when the result is the same?
      • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Monday December 21, 2009 @07:35AM (#30510734) Journal

        No, this is not the USA. Labour and the Conservatives are both pretty awful (though at least Labour still has some of the decent old guard in its ranks whereas the Conservatives were pretty much rotten since historical times). Anyway, the point is that you can vote for the Liberal Democrats. They're an order of magnitude better than both Labour and the Conservatives and unlike in the USA, voting for a third party isn't a waste. The Lib Dems have many seats across the UK and enough of a faction in the Houses of Parliament that they have influence. If we'd had a few more Lib Dems, the vote for war on Iraq would actually have been lost. That's what a small difference can make to the outcome of large events. You can even vote Green in the UK because at least they do respectably well at local elections and the European elections.

        In short, we are different to the USA. Much of the privately-owned media is trying to push the UK toward the same two-party puppet show that the USA has, but there is a third, less sucky-choice, nonetheless.
        • its not decided by anyone

          third parties, if successful, either replace one of the dominant two, like the whigs in the 1800s in the usa, or one of the dominant two parties coopts the third party's message, relegating the third party back to maginalization, like with ross perot in the 1990s

          furthermore, the similarity of the two dominant parties is not a weakness of democracy, but a strength. two parties compete for the moderates of the country, this forces them to moderate their own message in order to win votes. this leads to the parties being a better representation of the moderate middle, which leads to greater social stability: parity between the leaders of a country and its citizens

          if the party has a strong zealot streak, such as currently in the usa with the teabaggers on the right, this is a good thing for the left, because by forcing an ideological litmus test on right-leaning candidates, the teabaggers force right-leaning candidates further right, thereby weakening their appeal to moderates, thereby weakening the right's showing in elections. if you are left-leaning in the usa, you should thank the stars for the appearance of right wing zealots like sarah palin and rush limbaugh on the landscape: this helps the left by giving moderate votes to left moderate candidates

          meanwhile, if you believe that two similar parties is a weakness, or under some shadowy force's control, you are either a paranoid schizophrenic, or you simply don't understand that marginal, fringe parties should never dominate a country. because no matter how progressive your beliefs, the purpose of a government is to provide stability, first and foremost. the government should reflect the great moderate middle as much as possible, and this is what two parties achieves, and this goal is far more important than any other you can put forth

          finally, third parties merely siphon votes off from their more moderate cousins, and therefore perversely empower the party most opposite you and your beliefs. its simple math

          two parties the ultimate natural evolution of all democracies, and this is a good thing, despite you and your fringe beliefs, whether far right or far left. your marginalization is a benefit to the stability of your country

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by TubeSteak (669689)

            meanwhile, if you believe that two similar parties is a weakness, or under some shadowy force's control, you are either a paranoid schizophrenic, or you simply don't understand that marginal, fringe parties should never dominate a country. because no matter how progressive your beliefs, the purpose of a government is to provide stability, first and foremost. the government should reflect the great moderate middle as much as possible, and this is what two parties achieves, and this goal is far more important than any other you can put forth

            finally, third parties merely siphon votes off from their more moderate cousins, and therefore perversely empower the party most opposite you and your beliefs. its simple math

            two parties the ultimate natural evolution of all democracies, and this is a good thing, despite you and your fringe beliefs, whether far right or far left. your marginalization is a benefit to the stability of your country

            You really couldn't be more wrong.
            Go read the Federalist Papers or George Washington's Farewell Address [yale.edu]
            The short version is that the learned individuals who founded our Democratic Republic
            thought that political parties were bad and that a two party system was even worse.

            About 40 years after Washington left office, a bunch of assholes decided to create ballot access laws to prevent third parties from joining the political process. This grand tradition has lasted 150 years and leaves us with our current duopo

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ceoyoyo (59147)

            Many (probably most) democracies in the world have very strong third (fourth, fifth) parties. Many European democracies almost always end up with coalition governments.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by serveto (1028028)

            two parties the ultimate natural evolution of all democracies, and this is a good thing, despite you and your fringe beliefs, whether far right or far left. your marginalization is a benefit to the stability of your country

            Rubbish. The two party system is a consequence of our first-past-the-post electoral system, a vote for any other party is wasted. Also, this is a bad thing because people will vote for the least-worst option, rather than the best, the Conservatives will swing the marginal seats they require to win the next election in the UK. Most people are effectively disenfranchised.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Half-pint HAL (718102)

            two parties the ultimate natural evolution of all democracies, and this is a good thing, despite you and your fringe beliefs, whether far right or far left.

            Moderate is a matter of perspective. While conscious of Godwin's Law, I'd just like to point out that most supporters of the European right wing in the mid 20th century (the Nazis in Germany, the Fascists in Italy and and the Falangists in Spain) considered themselves moderate, and anyone speaking against them was considered an extremist lefty. Meanw

    • Surely making politics more interesting for the general public is a good thing?

      It might get people interested in a subject that has a social taboo surrounding it, as well as being fairly intimidating at first; I know I'd like some sort of simplified breakdown of things half the time, which is why I try and catch Newsround [wikipedia.org] if I can (if you're not British, it's a child's news show).

      The problem being is that I can see it being terribly biased; maybe I'm spoilt a little bit from the fairly neutral BBC.

    • If I don't watch the news, who is in power makes zero impact on my life. Government is ossified, changeless, and (I think) relatively powerless. Music, on the other hand, does play a role in my day to day life. You hear it everywhere. If I can hear "Killing in the Name" instead of that awful pop-idol shit several times a day over christmas, well that's a difference I'm interested in making!

      • by slim (1652)

        If I don't watch the news, who is in power makes zero impact on my life.

        It affects whether you have a job, or at least whether the people around you have jobs.
        It affects how criminals who may affect your life are handled.
        It affects the quality of the schools your children go to, or the education levels of the people you meet in everyday life.
        It affects how and whether you pay for dental work, eye tests and glasses, medical care.
        It affects how much tax you pay, and how the funds generated are spent.

        I could go on, but I think the point is made.

  • It ain't all that hard to upset the charts, it has been done in Holland by "One Day Fly" a comedian and his palls released a song with the clear published goal of getting it on one. And they did.

    If you count the actual sales that make up the charts it doesn't take much of a group to make an impact.

    And people really like this idea that they are upsetting the powers that be. In this case by showing Sony we won't take their crap, by buying their crap (check the parent label for both bands). In fact what this

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      RATM is no different then X-Factor in that respect, both are fakes who just fake it to a slightly different audience but are now proven to be manipulated the same way.

      Firstly, you should at least google "Rage Against The Machine" before saying something so incredibly ignorant. Secondly, what the protest group was trying to do was to stop some bland, middle-of-the-road, one-hit-wonder from getting #1 when it should be going to someone who at least has the where-with-all to write their own goddamn songs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by slim (1652)

        what the protest group was trying to do was to stop some bland, middle-of-the-road, one-hit-wonder from getting #1 when it should be going to someone who at least has the where-with-all to write their own goddamn songs.

        I agree that the X-Factor effort is bland pap that doesn't deserve to sell (and let's not forget that it *did* sell by the bucket load. This isn't a zero-sum game.)

        However I question this fetishisation of acts who write their own material. Writing and performing are orthogonal talents. One person can have both, but having one talent in isolation is not something to be demeaned. Burt Bacharach was a fine songwriter. He sometimes performs them himself, and it's OK, but not that great. Most people would rather

        • by Nursie (632944)

          I tend to find that the only way music sounds very good is when the "performer" has a personal stake in it. So your songwriter is out of luck in my case.

    • Now if you REALLY wanted to show you could change mass marketing, you would have gotten NOBODY to buy ANY song.

      And just how the fuck would you do that? You can't prevent the people that like x-factor one hit wonder buying the single because THEY LIKE IT. They aren't going to protest it.

  • by igb (28052) on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:54AM (#30510530)
    As I walked into the Yamaha shop in Ginza an hour ago there was a CD player whacking out bloody Susan Boyle massacring John Stewart's Daydream Believer. There should be a law, there really should.
    • You think that's bad? Her single for Christmas is the Rolling Stone's Wild Horses. I mean come on...what a tragically beautiful song. She just went all Elaine Page on it and ended up robbing it of any sentiment at all. Sterile and lifeless.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by igb (28052)
        It's a sort of first time as tragedy, second time as farce thing, isn't it?
    • Amendment proposal 42 is before the House; the lawful slaying of sir Simon Cowell offe Brighton for crimes against humanity.

      All in favour say Aye.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrXym (126579)
      I think it is fair to say that she is a mediocre singer who can attribute her success on her first appearance. People were shocked that this dowdy, mildly retarded frump could sing and it kind of snowballed from there. She didn't even win the final not that winning means squat anyway. Most of the winners of these shows hurtle off into oblivion soon afterwards.
  • by slim (1652) <`ten.puntrah' `ta' `nhoj'> on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:54AM (#30510534) Homepage

    It was supposedly a kick against the commercialism of Christmas and commercial dominance in the music scene

    Supposed by whom?

    All it was, was a couple of people saying "wouldn't it be cool if {classic rock song with apt band name} were Christmas number one instead of the pappy ballad that's supposedly a foregone conclusion. It was an idea with memetic fitness, so it took off.

    Each individual's reason for buying is their own. Whether it's a perceived statement against capitalism, just a kick against the man, or even really liking the song and somehow not already owning a copy.

    FWIW, my reason for taking part was that I thought it would be funny and cool if it worked, and the outlay was 29 pence. If it sends a message to Sony that there's good money to be made promoting non-manufactured bands, so much the better.

  • by R0UTE (807673) on Monday December 21, 2009 @07:05AM (#30510598)

    it's interesting to note that this is the first song to reach the number one spot through downloads alone in the UK

    Umm, no it isn't. Crazy by Gnarles Barkley was the first song to reach number one in the UK on downloads alone. This was the first song to be the Christmas number 1 on downloads alone.

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