‘Killing in the Name’ – or – “The Alternative Christmas [Number 1] Message”

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).

Chris Oliver

I've been playing bass guitar and guitar for over half my life. I last played bass in in a band called Electromotive and as a singer-songwriter I have written songs about cheese and vajazzles (separate songs!). I started out listening to 60s, 70s and 80s rock as a kid and I was in to grunge and U.S. punk and ska in the 90s. Since then, I've broadened my tastes and I like the best of all styles of music, even country. I've been writing for Silent Radio since it started.