Rage Against… What? #ratm4xmas

I’m sorry for doing a bunch of short posts in a row, when I should be doing my longer ones, but I wanted to make a brief point.

I have seen several people linking to an ‘anti-X-Factor’ campaign, to get the track Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine to number one, in ‘protest’ against the latest X-Factor winner – whoever it is – getting the Xmas number one spot, as the Rage Against The Machine song has the chorus “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”

This reminds me of a similar campaign last year, to try to get Jeff Buckley’s cover version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to number one, ahead of the X-Factor winner’s version.

Now, I don’t have a ball in this game, not really caring who’s at number one since the last time I even looked at the charts was, I think, in 2001. But I would point out that this year’s campaign shares one curious factor with last year’s. Killing In The Name Of is published by Sony/ATV Music, and the recording is on Sony/BMG records. Hallelujah is published by Sony/ATV Music and Jeff Buckley’s Grace (from which the track was taken) is on Sony/BMG records.

All X-Factor winners get released through SyCo Records – a subsidiary of Sony/BMG records. And they record songs published by Sony/ATV Music.

This looks to me like an astroturfing campaign – Sony trying to use people’s anger at one Sony subsidiary to make money for another Sony subsidiary. Even if it’s not, I sincerely doubt that giving your money to the same people for a different song is actually going to have the desired effect of protesting against them. All it means is that by doing X-Factor they’re guaranteed *two* hits instead of one. Hardly a disincentive to keep making tha godawful programme, is it?

I really don’t care who gets to number one, and neither should anyone else as far as I can see – the singles charts have been pretty much worthless as a measure of either quality or popularity for a decade. But if you *do* actually want to scare Cowell and his paymasters at Sony, instead of giving them some money for a slightly different thing, why not buy some *real* independent music?

At CDBaby, for example, you can find all sorts of good stuff, including my own band, or the Tony Award-winning Stew, or the obscenely talented Blake Jones (and his band The Trike Shop).

Or, if you want something as shouty and rebellious as RATM, you could always try Seasalter Sounds, who put out the albums by my friends The Psychotic Reaction.

Or maybe you want something a bit more melodic? Try Now Sounds, an indie label run by Steve Stanley of the Now People, dedicated to soft pop of the 60s, but also releasing albums by the Wondermints.

Or perhaps you like your music experimental and proggy/pastoral? In that case, why not try Andy Partridge’s APE records, which puts out records by Partridge himself, the great Peter Blegvad, and Pugwash (whose leader is also in the Duckworth-Lewis Method) amongst others?

Or maybe you like spiky-but-jangly melodic powerpop? Why not try Not Lame Records?

If you buy from any of these (especially if you buy my music, obviously ;) ), or any other true independent, you won’t be giving Sony a penny of your money, and you’ll be refusing to accept the false dichotomy of “Rage or X-Factor”. In other words, you really *will* be saying to Sony “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me”

(ETA I’ve been messaged on Twitter by one of the organisers of this who says “It’s not astroturfing, it’s me and my husband”. Fair enough. It’s still counterproductive though).

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4 Responses to Rage Against… What? #ratm4xmas

  1. Debi Linton says:

    I also have negative caring for whoever gets the Christmas number one spot – but if I were going to participate in such a campaign this year, I’d choose a track which a) had a chance of getting the #1, and b) forwarded at least some of the proceeds to a charity.

    And so, even though I haven’t heard the track and am sure I wouldn’t care for it if I did, I’d be buying The Soldiers.

  2. Andrew Hickey says:

    Apparently the people trying to get Rage to number one have a justgiving page and are encouraging people to donate…

    And I promise that if Jaded by The National Pep gets to number one as a result of this blog post, I’ll give a million quid to Oxfam ;)

  3. Say, how is CDBaby? Good experience? I always meant to get my band’s CD up on there when we finished it but never ended up doing so, and I’ve been meaning to get another push to get it out there together. A $35 setup fee seems *extremely* reasonable.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      They’re very useful if you can spend the time and effort to promote your music, which I really can’t at the moment. The big appeal – and what makes it worth it – is that they’ll get your music onto pretty much every digital platform going. Because of them, my band are on Spotify, Rhapsody, Emusic, iTunes, etc ad infinitum, and making small but real amounts of money from all of them.

      However, to do this you not only have to tick the ‘put my music on everything’ box, you then have to poke them a bit and chase them about it – they’ll automatically put your music on iTunes, for example, but will only send it to eMusic if you specifically say “what about emusic?” (and eMusic make you *far* more money per track…)

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