Inspired by fans of Rage Against the Machine, who recently banded together and mass-bought a single to get RATM to Christmas number one, fans of Delirious recently attempted to get the song History Maker to Easter number one (it got to number four in the end).
The initiative was based at www.invadetheairwaves.org.uk, but word was spread mostly through Facebook, where over 70,000 people joined the group. I, a huge Delirious fan, was frequently invited to join, and frequently declined. I had three issues with what was being done.
1. This is a bad way to treat the music charts. The charts are designed to display the most popular songs of the week, based on people buying the songs because they like them. Not because they have an ulterior motive of trying to publicise a band (or song, or deity...more on this below). This campaign was essentially an abusive hijack of the music charts.
2. This is a bad way to evangelise. The organisers hoped that, as a result of their actions, people would hear the gospel and turn to God. This may have happened. But I expect that many more people would have been put off Christianity by what they see as a group of dogmatic obsessives trying to promote organised religion, and messing up the chart system at the same time. This is not a good way to evangelise. It is not a good way to spend hours of organisation and tens of thousands of pounds.
3. Even disregarding the above points, even if this was a great thing to do, the choice of song was very poor. Yes, History Maker is a great song, one of Delirious' best. Yes, it's iconic and inspiring and has an awesome riff. But it has two problems: it is not a single, and it is not good at sending a message to the nation. It is over six minutes long, and therefore the radio cut it after about four minutes. So no-one even heard the whole song! It's not even a new song, it's from the 1997 album King of Fools. History Maker is simply not single material. The message of the song is basically 'I will stand for God'. A good message, but not that evangelistic. As my brother suggested, God Is Smiling would have been a much better choice – it is shorter, catchier, from their most recent album, and the message is 'God thinks we're great, and love can make a difference in this world'.
So, there's three reasons why this campaign was a bad idea. Interestingly, invadetheairwaves.org.uk has now moved on to promote BeBe Vox's new single. ITA seems to be taking this very seriously, and I still think it's a bad idea. I know this is all very opinionated of me (as usual!), so feel free to comment and explain why I am wrong.