Suddenly, Jon Morter is a rebel culture hero. After Morter started a Facebook and Twitter campaign to block X Factor winner Joe McElderry from the Christmas number one, sure enough, Rage Against The Machine’s 17-year-old Killing In The Name Of sold 500,000 copies, 50,000 more than McElderry, to take the title.
Here’s what the victory tells us…
- unlimited digital shelf space for archives can be restorative to long-ago out-of-print cultural artefacts – providing there is significant enough impetus (this we already knew)
- virality only requires a single seed to spread, as long as enough people share its sentiment
- there is a large enough constituent in the UK frustrated at the lock on culture exerted by national talent contests
So, a counter-cultural moment just happened, thanks – again – to the social internet. But, one final thought, courtesy of tweeter Adam Hay: “500,000 people got Killing In The Name Of because they were told to. I didn’t buy it. Who’s closer to the message in the lyrics there?”