- Title: UK/FILE: Rage Against the Machine beats "X Factor" to Xmas pop crown
- Date: 11th January 2010
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (DECEMBER 21, 2009) (REUTERS) VARIOUS HMV SHOP WITH X FACTOR WINNER JOE MCELDERRY "THE CLIMB" LONDON, UK (DECEMBER 21, 2009) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) PUBLICITY MANAGER, HMV, GENNARO CASTALDO SAYING: "Although they've threatened to do this in previous years, this year they've really sort of got their act together, they used Facebook and Twitter and other social media to organise a campaign for everyone to download a different song and they focused on Rage the Against the Machine which very appropriately you know is sort of anti-corporate, the prefect vehicle for registering a political message and so many people did it, in sufficient numbers, well over half a million sales in the end that was enough to actually overcome the X-Factor winner. So it's a huge shock, probably the greatest upset in chart history in the UK in its 50 year history."
- Embargoed: 26th January 2010 12:00
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA86ZBEFW5CX2DTPYRU0YUNL15J
- Story Text: The surprise win in Britain's Christmas single chart is being described as a watershed moment in the history of the country's influential music industry.
The betting shops had X-Factor's winner Joe McElderry as the sure winner, but a well-organised campaign on the social networking site, Facebook, mobilised the general public fed up with the last 5 years of rather an anti-corporate, anti-establishment song by Rage Against the Machine.
The band's 1992 single "Killing in the Name" sold more than 500,000 download copies in the past week, enough to beat Joe McElderry's "The Climb," which managed sales of 450,000 by downloads and in the shops, the Official Charts Company (OCC) said.
The surprise outcome brought an end to a four-year run of "X Factor" winners claiming top position in the seasonal charts, and showed the power of the Internet in the process.
It was the first time a download-only single had achieved a Christmas number one, and in the process notched up the biggest one-week download sales in British chart history.
"The internet has inverted the whole relationship. You now actually have the consumer on the inside of this circle using different media whether it's your mobile phone, the internet, your PC, physical sales still, to pull in what they want and it's become far more of an individual thing rather than a mass experience and that's really been the big difference," said Gennaro Castaldo, Publicity Manager at HMV in the UK. "It's a one to one thing you have to have with your customers rather than trying to treat them all as a mass market and I think that trend can only continue as we go forward as different types of social media and sort of electronic media sort of change the whole landscape of music and entertainment generally."
Previous "X Factor" winners have easily secured the Christmas top spot, and music experts had said there was little chance anyone could produce a serious rival.
Bookmakers had believed that the popularity of the show, with some 20 million viewers tuning in to see McElderry win last week, would mean his debut single, a cover of a song by American Miley Cyrus, would come out on top.
But a popular campaign on the Facebook website encouraged people who were fed up of "X Factor" taking the Christmas number one, to buy RATM's expletive-filled single as a protest. It amassed almost 950,000 supporters.
"This is a huge victory by and for fans of real music and we extend our heartfelt thanks to every fan and freedom fighter who helped make our anthem of defiance and rebellion the anarchy Christmas miracle of 2009," the band said in a statement.
However, the greatest beneficiary of the closely fought battle is record company Sony BMG as both acts are on its labels.
Simon Cowell, 50, the executive producer of "X Factor" and also the creator of popular U.S. show "American Idol," had hit out at the online campaign, saying that it was aimed at him and it was "stupid."
But there was some consolation for him, as Scottish singer Susan Boyle, who herself became an Internet sensation when she appeared on Cowell's "Britain's Got Talent" TV show, took top spot in the album charts with "I Dreamed A Dream."
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