Wednesday, January 13

Why Musical Facebook Campaigns Need To End

. Wednesday, January 13

The top 40 is a strange British institution. On the one hand, it's widely derided by people who claim that all the songs in it are rubbish and that it no longer means anything because you don't have to sell hundreds of thousands of units to reach the higher echelons of the list. On the other hand you get the feeling that all bands, no matter how credible, secretly want their single to hit the number one spot. It's a validation and a great status symbol. These two warring factions reached a head over Christmas when Rage Against The Machine managed to beat the seemingly unstoppable X Factor establishment by selling more copies of their single 'Killing In The Name' than Joe McElderry's 'The Climb'. It was good fun while it lasted and a very sanitised act of rebellion but it's aftermath may be even more annoying than John and Edward (inevitably) hitting number one in a few months time.

The Rage campaign was initiated on Facebook by Jon and Tracy Morter and then grew until a million people had joined the group and over half that number downloaded the single in the crucial week. Seemingly buoyed by the Morter's success there are now an increasing number of groups popping up on-line to declare that their favourite song should be number one. Already this year there have been three underwhelming and cheap copies of what was achieved at Christmas. First up we had the immediate look forward to Christmas 2010 and a campaign to get Kirsty McColl and Shane McGowan to the top spot in twelve months time followed by Florence and The Machine's turn. Someone with too much time on their hands decided that Florence's cover of 'You Got The Love' deserved to be number one despite the fact her album effectively spent 5 weeks at number one when it was released, only being beaten by Michael Jackson's greatest hits following his death in 2009. Now we have the news that someone is trying to get The Smiths the recognition they deserve by aiming to get as many people as possible to download 'How Soon Is Now'.

The key word in all of this is 'deserve'. What is it to deserve to be number one? What these boring campaigns do is strip music back to an act of consumerism. 'Buy this song on this week to prove a point' is the basic message. What is the point though? If 'How Soon Is Now' is downloaded a million times on that particular week and N-Dubz, Chipmunk and Tinchy Stryder all retire from music due to the confusion at Morrissey's weird voice are we really in a better position? The Top 40 should be a reflection of what the record buying British public want to hear that week not what a contrived group of 'credible' music fans have dug up from the eighties.

Lady GaGa's 'Bad Romance' has already shown that great songs can be both credible and top the charts and maybe if these keyboard warriors took a break from what is 'deserving' and instead and focussed on what is actually popular and relevant they'd realise that their campaigns are ultimately flawed and pointless.


Anonymous said...

The "consumerism" bit doesn't really work because Lady GaGa inc had to spend an absolute fortune in marketing over the past 12 months....maybe if you did some research before you wrote you would be able to make a more relevant point..
People are supporting these campaigns because they are sick of the crap, bland music in the charts and on the radio playlists - which in case you don't now you have to pay loads of money to be on..Payola baby, it never went away

Mistress Wanda said...

I see you're point but it has at least made the charts interesting once again. I'm sure it will blow over though and we'll be back to the same old Simon Cowell dross dominating every position.

(P.S To Mr Anonymous, if you're going to be so bitchy in your comments at least have the balls to say who you are. Alternatively just be nice/constructive with your feedback)

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