Since Band Aid 20 in 2004, the UK's best selling single in Christmas week has been derived from the X Factor reality TV show. Who will be Christmas number used to provoke significant debate and generate widespread PR as bookmakers published odds, journalists speculated etc. But the popularity of the X Factor, and subsequent winners single, seems to be killing off this tradition.
However this year people can be seen trying to harness the power of Web 2.0 to try to stop Leon Jackson and the procession of X Factor Christmas number ones. The relatively recent phenomenon of downloads contributing to the Hit 40 means that old songs can be brought back from the dead without record company support (eg Mariah Carey 'All I Want For Christmas' and Wham 'Last Christmas' currently riding high!) The Radiohead 'In Rainbows' example has also shown that bands do not need a record deal to publish their music. Effective promotion through sites like Facebook, Myspace and Last.fm can result in chart success and various artists are trying to use these channels to reach the Christmas top spot this year!
Malcolm Middleton is getting good coverage on YouTube with his Christmas single 'We're All Going To Die' (including the lyric 'We're all going to die alone'). Also promoted on http://www.wereallgoingtodie.co.uk/ his odds have been slashed from the highest odds ever given to a Christmas number one contender, 1000/1, to 4th favourite at 12/1!
The other Web 2.0 contender is Lucky Soul 'Lips Are Unhappy' / 'Lonely This Christmas' and it is backed by Last.FM with all proceeds going to charity.
Lucky Soul - the Last FM choice for Christmas Number One!
http://luckysoulluckysoul.blogspot.com - Lucky Soul blog is here.
Last FM say the following on their website:
"Thousands of Last.fm users voted for the Lucky Soul song ‘Lips Are Unhappy’ to be the track that battles the winner of the X Factor this December.
It’s real, independent music chosen by Last.fm’s passionate community vs. mass-marketed karaoke nonsense released simply to line Simon Cowell’s pockets (in contrast, all of the profits from the Lucky Soul song will go to War Child).
Strike a blow against sanitized, predictable reality show muzak. Buy ‘Lips Are Unhappy’ for a mere 40p and you can also download an exclusive, unreleased Lucky Soul track (and know that you’re bringing some Christmas cheer to War Child). If you all buy a copy it really WILL happen, and you’ll be helping to break the stranglehold the X-Factor has on our Xmas charts."
Web 2.0 has fundamentally changed the way that music is published and distributed. The 2008 battle for Christmas number one is indicative of the change - a reality TV winner vs a social music website vs a dour man on YouTube!