‘Killing in the Name’ – or – “The Alternative Christmas [Number 1] Message”
By Chris Oliver
Now I’m not normally the sort of person who gives a crap about Xmas number one – although I do hate the bejeezus out of X-Factor (for many many reasons). However, the “RATM for Xmas number one” campaign has caught my eye for two reasons: 1) Lots of my friends have joined, 2) It’d be very very funny indeed to turn the airwaves blue on Xmas day. But this is where my cynical side stepped in and said “OI! Think about it.” So, being the good, obedient little boy that I am, I looked into it.
Last year something similar happened when X-Factor released covers of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, and people went bonkers buying other versions (most notably the original, and the Jeff Buckley cover). I didn’t think much of that at the time, as wanting the better version to be number one is pretty natural. Interestingly though, a record exec from Sony (who own the rights to Hallelujah) went on record as saying “We get a host of requests… to use it. But Hallelujah is recognised as one of the greatest songs ever, so it demands a high fee.”
So what you’re saying, Sony, is that you made a fortune on the race for Xmas number one last year? Well, bully for you. What else did you get up to? Roasting chestnuts by the fire? A bit of Sony-owned-carol singing? Oh, you were very busy? Why was that? You own The X-Factor’s record label Sysco, do you? That’s interesting – so in fact, you were making more or less ALL of the money from last year’s race. Well, you’d have to be very lucky indeed for that to happen again this year, wouldn’t you? What’s that? Ah. You also own Epic Records… Right. Who’s signed to Epic Records, dare I ask? Rage Against the Machine? Who’d have thought it. Looks like the internet has really arrived as a marketing tool…
Christmas is certainly the time of giving (to Sony)! However, I for one will be singing a certain line from Killing in the Name, while thinking of my fave record label (with my money firmly in my pocket, might I add).