This started as a comment on Pauls post at Blog On The Motorway but escalated to a full on post of my own.
Firstly, I don’t watch usually watch X-Factor. Of course, I’ve been at friends houses when it’s on but I don’t watch it of my own accord.
Secondly, I don’t listen to the radio in the UK (other than the occasional Planet Rock and Kerrang) and thus have little interest in what track is number one and even smaller awareness of what is being played all the time.
Thirdly, Christmas number ones, as far back as I can remember (with the exception of Cliff Richard), have been these so called ‘novelty’ records. I can’t remember specific examples but I’m sure there was a Mr Blobby one or some form of celebrity rehashed Christmas carol.
I do tire of hearing about X-Factor all the live long day but it’s easy to tune out/block Facebook friends/stop following tweeters/ignore people.
So, why am I so interested in getting stopping some most-likely-to-be-a-one-hit-wonder kid getting to number one?
Is it the ‘F you I won’t do what you tell me’ element? I’m not sticking anything to The Man with this, really. No-one is – except for RATM swearing on Radio 5. I see a lot of people putting that line to mean everyone saying “hey, F you Cowell”. I don’t think that’s true at all. If that were the case, there some more relevant tracks in RATMs back catalogue – infect I think Take The Power Back would have given a more obvious call to action.
Is it the ‘F Simon Cowell, he’s a C..’ element? Nope. Does anyone really think this is going to stop X-Factor next year or mean that Mr C will have to sell one of his myriad houses? Of course not.
Is it because I don’t want some kid to get rich off of the back of some crappy TV show? Ridiculous, he’s already going to have made a fortune and this whole deal is only going to make things more lucrative for him. I doubt more than 10% (very conservative number) of RATM purchases were originally going to buy the X-factor single.
The whole thing is interesting to me from a social and technological view point - Virul campaigns have been around for years but this is different.
This was started by one ordinary guy, not some big brand with a marketing budget and some scenster in-charge. Some chap who created a Facebook group most likely for a laugh amongst his friends. I’ll bet he didn’t think “I’m really gonna go out on a limb to stop this X-Factor guy, whatever it takes”. Let’s be honest here, he hasn’t done much at all. Don’t get me wrong, everything starts somewhere but let’s not put this up as some one man crusade to stop the tyranny of a televised talent show.
Of course, it’s not the first time this kind of thing has happened. Crowd-sourcing is really taking off in a huge way - news sites like Reddit and Digg, software companies using it to aid their development roadmaps, even news agencies use Twitter to track breaking news in real time.
That’s why it’s interesting. However, ordinarily, I wouldn’t have bothered getting involved with this but the fact that this kind of unimportant ‘battle’ can also be used to motivate people to donate to charity made me change my mind.
Last Friday, they’d raised almost £2k for Shelter. Today, the current total is over £50k with gift aid.
Am I going to listen to the chart show this weekend? No way, at least not on purpose.
Am I really going to be annoyed/interested if X-Factor kid is number one? Not at all.
Of course, it would be very cool for kids to get exposed to (via the radio friendly version ) some decent musicianship for a change. Maybe they’ll even pay heed to some of the causes that RATM have campaigned for over the years. Honestly though, I’m really not bothered about the outcome.
However, I spent £0.99 and a did a good deed in donating to charity to be a very small part of something both interesting, useful and certainly something that will be a kind of folklore in geek history - Well, at least there’s a good chance someone will stumble across it on wikipedia in years to come..
I can also hope that RATM will follow this all up with a UK tour next year!
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