In 1962 Elvis made it to number one at Christmas in the UK charts with Return to Sender. The following three years saw the Beatles at number one over Christmas with hits that still get played from time to time: I want to Hold Your Hand (1963), I Feel Fine (1964) and Day Tripper (1965). The charts have trends. The fads come and go. People learn how to play the charts. And now the social media have stepped in to stop the chart stoppers.
Examples of such social media perpetrators are Jon and Tracey Morter. In the UK, they created a facebook site to promote “Rage Against the Machine for Christmas No 1″. This was soley designed to prevent another number one being “chosen” by the TV show, X Factor.
They did it, to coin a phrase, to rage against the machine: Simon Cowell & his show X-Factor represent the machine of ‘manufactured music’. Cowell has produced four consecutive Christmas number one records. Cowell’s machine – what every you think of the man – has done well.
So, social media brought down the machine… and promoted Rage Against The Machine to Number One in the UK this Christmas just gone.
Is “Social Media” just a buzz word that everyone seems to want to bandy about? Surely, for the last ten years we’ve called it “going viral”. This year it’s “social media”. But that’s because new media exist to let something go viral.
One expression is about the contagious, uncontrollability of the spreading of a message (like a virus). The other is all about the vehicle, the medium, that is self-perpetuating (implying the media have their own social interactions).
So Rage Against the Machine are back together and had a not-so-Christmassy Christmas jingle (click on this youtube link, crank up the volume) going out over the airways, and more importantly across the stores. They were number one in the UK at Christmas. And that’s a big deal. Especially in the UK… where RATM became, once again, the King.
Another example of the longtail wagging the dog.