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Rage Against the Machine beat X-Factors Joe McElderry to UK Number 1

Posted on | December 21, 2009 | 1 Comment

In a race that gripped millions of people across the UK, Rage Against the Machine  have just had their first UK Number 1, dumping X-Factor winner Joe McElderry to the number 2 position.  How this happened though is the interesting thing here as RATM released this single (Killing in the Name of) over 15 years ago and spent nothing marketing it..  Rage Against the Machine - UK Number 1

With a little help from Facebook, the Social Media masses and Online Collaboration, RATM managed to sell over 50,000 more singles than the X-Factor winner (who let me remind you got MILLIONS of phone votes to win X-Factor).

It was a race that has captured the headlines, Rage Against the Machine versus Simon Cowells new boy on the street, looking to stop the publicity maching that is the X-Factor from getting a fifth straight Christmas number 1 single.

They got it thanks to what started out as a Facebook group campaign started by Jon and Tracy Morter and turned into what has been called “possibly the greatest chart upset ever”.  The group itself quickly grew within it’s two week life to over 500,000 members (2 percent of the U.K. Facebook population) and spread like wildfire through sites such as Twitter with thousands of people tweeting away that they had just “downloaded the RATM single”

The major failing here by the Cowell machine was failing to realise the power of the Internet with Simon Cowell himself calling the Facebook campaign “stupid” earlier in the week.

However, Simon Cowell has now admitted he called Jon Morter and offered his congratulations. He said, “I am gutted for Joe because a number one single meant a lot to him but I have to congratulate Jon and Tracy, who started the Facebook campaign. I called Jon on Saturday to congratulate the two of them that, win or lose, they turned this into a very exciting race for the Christmas number one. I am proud of Joe – he worked really hard this week, but he has a great year ahead of him.”

Rage Against the Machine guitarist, Tom Morello, speaking of the result said, “it tapped into the silent majority of the people in the UK who are tired of being spoon-fed one schmaltzy ballad after another”.  He’s also promised the UK fans and Facebook supporters group a free gig next year as a thank you.

Wether or not this pulling together of disparate online folk into a focused and successful online collaborative group will happen again remains to be seen, but what you can see happening here is the music industry taking Social Media that much more seriously when next trying to push their fancies the UK’s way.


One Response to “Rage Against the Machine beat X-Factors Joe McElderry to UK Number 1”

  1. James Northcott
    December 21st, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

    Great to see public co-operation can help change the shape of even the music industry.

    Would be good to do an even deeper look into the community aspect you mention in this article though.

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