LONDON Dec 20 U.S. rap-metal band Rage Against
The Machine took the coveted Christmas number one in British pop
charts on Sunday after an Internet campaign to keep the winner
of the "X Factor" TV talent show from the top spot.
The band's 1992 single "Killing in the Name" sold more than
500,000 download copies in the past week, enough to beat Joe
McElderry's "The Climb", which managed sales of 450,000 by
downloads and in the shops, the Official Charts Company (OCC)
The surprise outcome brought an end to a four-year run of X
Factor winners claiming top position in the seasonal charts, and
showed the power of the Internet in the process.
It was the first time a download-only single had achieved a
Christmas number one, and in the process notched up the biggest
one-week download sales in British chart history.
"As we have seen in recent years, overhauling any X Factor
winner in the race for the Christmas number one is no mean
achievement," OCC managing director Martin Talbot said.
"The popular support we have seen for the record this week
has been truly amazing -- and handed them two all-time records."
Previous X Factor winners have easily secured the Christmas
top spot, and music experts had said there was little chance
anyone could produce a serious rival.
Bookmakers had believed that the popularity of the show,
with some 20 million viewers tuning in to see McElderry win last
week, would mean his debut single, a cover of a song by American
Miley Cyrus, would come out on top.
But a popular campaign on the Facebook website encouraged
people who were fed up of X Factor taking the Christmas number
one, to buy RATM's expletive-filled single as a protest. It
amassed almost 950,000 supporters.
"We were of the opinion that the X Factor was unbeatable but
it looks like we will be proved wrong," said Rupert Adam,
spokesman for bookmaker William Hill, said before the chart was
"The industry will certainly be paying out a six figure sum,
However, the greatest beneficiary of the closely fought
battle is record company Sony BMG (6758.T) (SNE.N) as both acts
are on its labels.
Simon Cowell, 50, the executive producer of "X Factor" and
also the creator of popular U.S. show "American Idol", had hit
out at the online campaign, saying that it was aimed at him and
it was "stupid".
But there was some consolation for him, as Scottish singer
Susan Boyle, who herself became an Internet sensation when she
appeared on Cowell's "Britain's Got Talent" TV show, took top
spot in the album charts with "I Dreamed A Dream".