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Will today’s “Bum Rush the Charts” work? Probably not.

March 22, 2007

It’s 9:30 a.m. EDT as I write this, and there’s no sign of Black Lab‘s single “Mine Again” on the iTunes Music Store Top 100 singles yet.

BTRC.gifI’m wondering if today’s “Bum Rush the Charts” effort/campaign/stunt really stands a chance of working.

If you don’t know what BRTC is, then you’re obviously not a podcast listener. For the past 30 days, almost every popular music podcast has promoted this digital-citizen effort to make one single by a chosen independent artist on Apple’s music store the top-purchased song of the day, showing symbolically that the podcast-listening community has power and is tired of big music labels selecting what we’re going to listen to.

But as one Digg commenter aptly noted: “No, apparently we need a blog to do it.” (select the song, that is)

Touche, anonymous Digg poster!

Here’s the video promo via YouTube for BRTC:

Will Femia’s MSNBC “Clicked” blog gave the push a mention today:

Today is Bum Rush The Charts day. We’ve seen efforts like this with organized Amazon purchases to improve sales rank as a marketing trick. This time it’s with iTunes and they want to put an independent band in the number 1 download spot. Their hope is to make this happen at least temporarily by getting lots of people to buy the song at the same time. The iTunes equivalent of Googlebombing.

Googlebombing is such a negative word. But Will Femia is dead right. More after the jump…

This is very similar to the process in which many blogs that want to band on a single point write the same negative phrase over and over in their sites in relation to a target’s name (ie. Rick Santorum, George W. Bush) and, through the power of search engines and negative association, will forever taint that person’s search results.

In this case, despite the positive intentions, the podcasting community has “Googlebombed” Black Lab’s name into their listeners’ collective consciousness. And the band will benefit with a sales spike because of it. (Granted, the band has said they will donate half of their day’s profits to a music charity … good on them!)

Black Lab ( hey, I already liked Black Lab from listening to them on various podcasts (you can hear them for free on their MySpace page). They have a rockin’ sound. And their history with music labels (dropped by two different labels in 10 years) makes them a somewhat-perfect candidate for this “stick-it-to-the-man/woman/corporate suit/RIAA/anyone else who needs sticking to” effort.

But can it ACTUALLY work? The Washington Post’s story about BRTC notes a major sticking point for the campaign:

Derick Mains, a spokesman for Apple, declined to comment on the campaign but said the bestseller list is compiled using proprietary methods that the company doesn’t disclose. “It’s much more complicated than taking a snapshot of the previous 24 hours’ worth of sales,” he said.

So there’s your answer … Black Lab will see sales shoot up (3,700 buys so far off the effort’s home page at 8 a.m. EDT, according to Christopher Penn’s Twitter page), but probably will not see the top spot on the list. We’ll keep an eye on the chart, and will update here if Black Lab cracks the list.

And it would be no surprise to me if Apple’s algorithms, formulas and doo-dads that decide the Top 100 order were specifically set up to prevent this kind of chart manipulation (to benefit the big labels’ artists that are allowing Apple to sell their stuff?).

One other question is on my mind: Will BRTC do a second artist push? And how will it be decided who will get/benefit from the next marketing push? Will it be Geoff Smith? Sophia Ramos? Matthew Ebel? Jeremy Rowe? Why not open it up for a vote on the effort’s site for its next great song-buying drive?

After all, isn’t this effort all about democracy in action (at the iTunes store?) If you want to register your vote for Black Lab, buy the song here (and help kids get college scholarships).

UPDATE (11 p.m. EDT): The BRTC effort did not crack the iTunes Top 100 singles charts.  It made the Top 100 “rock” genre songs on several countries’ iTunes stores, but did not make it into the 12 rock songs on the U.S. Top 100 list.

Here’s a link to the latest stats … Black Lab’s No. 9 (in rock) in Sweden!!!  Wooo!!! 

  1. March 26, 2007 1:49 pm

    Final Numbers:

    US ROCK #11
    Canada ROCK #10.
    #53 Canada OVERALL
    Norway #10 ROCK
    Switzerland #42 ROCK
    Sweden #95 OVERALL
    Portugal #31 ROCK
    Australia #35 ROCK
    UK #71 ROCK
    ITALY #30 ROCK
    NZ #54 ROCK

  2. July 21, 2007 12:40 am

    HEY can you support us with OUR bumrush–we are a lesser known band than Black Lab, and proceeds will benefit Marines in HMLA-775 in Camp Pendelton!

    AUGUST 31st 2007 is the BUMRUSH!

  3. July 18, 2008 11:03 am

    What type of football do you yourself play?

    Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?

    Very impressive that this blog is syndicated through Google and is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

    Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..

    Soccer / Football greats you should write about next!

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