Power of The People: How To Make a #1 Hit

Written by | January 9, 2012 0:11 am | No Comments


Two years ago, Jon Morter, a part-time DJ and logistics expert from England, managed to do the impossible: he succeeded at propelling the anti-Christmas-vibe song ‘Killing in the Name’ by Rage Against the Machine at the top spot of the charts around Christmas. He even beat Joe McElderry (performing 'The Climb') who had just won the famous Simon Cowell’s TV contest, XFactor, a show which had got the number one spot for its winning song for the past four years at this time of the year.

How did Morter do that? Just on the basis of an online campaign, he won the battle by encouraging people to download the song, and managed to sell 50,000 more downloads than the other song. A month before, he started a Facebook group, proposing the crazy and bold idea to beat the Xfactor winner with a song having the complete opposite vibe, and he was helped onTwitter by a comedian, Peter Searfinowicz, who had more than 268,000 followers.  With the help of another huge celebrity – Paul McCartney pledged his support by declaring to Sky News ‘it would be kind of funny if Rage Against the Machine got it [Number 1] because it would prove a point’ –the Rage Against the Machine’s song won.  

Morter couldn’t believe it and declared:
‘I think it just shows that in this day and age, if you want to say something, then you can – with the help of the internet and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. If enough people are with you, you can beat the status quo.’ 

Graciously, Rage Against the Machine gave all profits of the single to the homelessness charity Shelter, and performed a free concert to thank everyone who had bought the single. 

If it has been done, it could be repeated. Rock NYC could launch a similar campaign on Facebook for the download of an Elliott Smith’s song. The choice of the song has still to be determined, but it is not the most important part of the story. Then, if we are lucky, we could get the help of other musicians who like Elliott (there are tons of them), and with the forces of social networking, Facebook and Twitter united, we could get a number one spot for an Elliott Smith’s song for Christmas 2012! 

Beside the achievement to see one of his songs in the charts, the motivation behind all this would also be to give the money to a charity, like for example, ‘Outside in’ a Portland social service agency which helps homeless youth and marginalized people, and which was recently endorsed by Elliott’s family.


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