An unsigned act for the Christmas Number 1?
The campaign to get the 17-year-old song to number one was in protest of the X-Factor’s monopoly over the UK charts – but this year, an even more unusual candidate for the position of number one is battling its way through the mainstream singles.
YouTube celebrity Alex Day (also known as Nerimon in the interwebs) has launched a campaign to get his poppy single ‘Forever Yours’ to number one – with all proceeds going to charity. The song is available on iTunes in 12 different versions, all remixed and recorded by the YouTube community in order to help Alex reach number one. If he does, he’ll be the first unsigned artist to ever have taken the number one spot.
So far, the song has made it to number four on iTunes, ahead of Rihanna and Lady Gaga, and right behind Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’. Besides releasing 12 different versions of the song to maximize his chances, Alex also invented a YouTube holiday – Forever Day – to let his fans know when buying the song would start counting for Christmas week.
“The music video was released a few weeks ago and it’s on 2.1 million views currently, all organic as you’ll see if you read the comments … and that’s it! We’ve had no national radio play or record label support of any kind, people are just excited by the idea of helping an artist they like and trying to make history by getting the first unsigned artist to number 1 in the UK.”
This isn’t Alex’s first attempt to get a song into the charts by simply using the internet; in 2009 Alex and three other YouTubers released a cover of ‘I’ve Got Nothing’ and got it to number 36 in the UK – all proceeds went to charity as well. The project, Chartjackers, showed the strength of the YouTube audience to come together for the first time, but ‘Forever Yours’ is different.
“This time round, it’s not a novelty attempt – it’s the start of my career, with a song I really believe in, not a cover or a re-release or a comedy track but – I think – a simple great dance pop song that a lot of people can get behind.
“The previous experiences definitely helped. I learned to find ways to keep people excited about the song, to release it at the right time and in the right way.”
‘Forever Yours’ was released on 11 November, as the principal intention is to raise as much money as possible. Alex will donate all the money he makes to charity World Vision, an organization fighting against children poverty and for which Alex volunteered for in Zambia last year. The charity works with third world countries and is committed to long-term change; Alex is very positive about the potential of the song, which sold over 10,000 copies on Sunday.
“At the moment, I think we can guarantee Top 40, which is hugely positive. If it stays at the rate it’s at now it’ll be at least top 10 – but there are still six days to go and a lot of challenges to overcome.”
The iTunes chart is independent from the official chart but downloads are expected to dominate the Christmas Number One countdown, making iTunes a good barometer of the race. If Alex succeeds in his claim to number one, he will join stars such as Elton John and the Beatles in achieving such a feat – but he will be making true music history as the only unsigned artist who ever made it that far in the charts.
“I definitely think non-YouTubers are buying but it’s mainly a force of my audience on YouTube It’s really a group achievement – this is our song now. Like the Rage campaign for 2009 except this feels motivated by positivity instead of a swipe at the major competition.”Tagged in: Alex Day, Christmas Number 1, rage against the machine
Recent Posts on Arts
- Friday Book Design Blog: Collier Books - great paperback design... and some of the worst Narnia covers I've seen
- Pulled Apart By Horses' European tour diary
- Friday Book Design Blog: Fitzcarraldo Editions
- Children’s books for October: Meg and Mog, The Demon Dentist and The Whispering Skull
- Friday Book Design Blog: Slightly Foxed and Notting Hill Editions
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter