For those who are not familiar with the rock music in the 90’s, Rage Against the Machine is American alternative, rock, punk band, notable for revolutionary and political lyrics. If you grew up in the post-communist under sanctions country such as Serbia (former Yugoslavia), you’d probably heard for their popular song “Killing in the name” released in 1992. This song was explained as “a howling, expletive-driven tirade against the ills of American society”, but also it marked the music, political, social scene in Serbia in that period. Why am I writing about RATM and not about new and so waited Massive Attack LP?
For those who do not live in UK, or do not watch TV (moi included!), there’s a TV reality competition show called X Factor (equivalent to American Idol or Talent), where one of the most unexpected turn outs and victories of this decade happened: RATM’s “Killing in the Name” beat out X Factor’s winner Joe McElderry’s “The Climb”, and became the U.K.’s Christmas Number One single.
This all happened thanks to social network site Facebook, campaign in the form of a group, launched by Jon Morter, a 35-year-old part-time dj and logistics expert from Essex, and his wife Tracy, as they had become jaded by the inevitable annual rise of Cowell’s judge newest pop star to the top of the charts and were determined to stop it, using the power of social networking and obviously a humor.
Facebook group gathered almost 1 million people and the band’s single sold 500,000 downloads gaining Christmas no.1 charts. Some interesting BBC chart analysis show how in short time (only a week of Internet campagne) this single won the charts. Beside Facebook activism, British comedian Peter Serafinowicz urged his 268,000-plus Twitter followers to join this campaign, as later on RATM’s guitarist Tom Morello twittered on this historic event.
The power of social Web created not only the public sphere in political, economic and global context after all, but is also influencing the music business industry where corruption’s time is coming to an end. I’m looking forward to see these kind of activities and campaigns in governmental sector where some policy and political issues can be changed on better if majority learn network and media literacy. It’s interesting video – interview of RATM’s leader Zack De La Rocha with Noam Chomsky. Here’s the video of BBC’s interview with RATM and their live performance.