Saturday, December 22, 2007

Why we should all be proud

OK, so Tom Waits didn't make it to Number One for Christmas, he didn't even make it to the top ten. That said, we should all be proud of what we've achieved here, and here's why.

  • This blog and campaign is just two weeks old and yet in that time we've managed to get a 30 year old song into the Irish top 30 at the most competitive time of the year for singles, through online sales alone (just to put that in context, only a small percentage of the number 1's sales were bought online - just over 15% to be more precise).
  • We managed to attract the interest (and maybe even capture the imagination) of The Irish Times, Today FM, 2FM, Phantom FM, The Star and a wealth of bloggers.
  • While we failed to topple X-Factor, we managed to make a point in all of the above outlets about how boring the show has made things, and while it's still number one in 2007 you can't help but feel as though the worm is turning (even if this campaign has nothing to do with that).
  • Paddy Power thought Tom Waits was the third most likely to get to the number 1 spot, behind X-Factor and The Pogues. They were way off, of course, but they certainly took us seriously.
  • In the week leading up to Christmas we managed to make Tom Waits outsell the old reliables like 'Do they know it's Christmas?' by Band Aid, 'Driving home for Christmas' by Chris Rea, 'I wish it could be Christmas every day' by Wizzard, 'It's the most wonderful time' by Andy Williams and 'Santa Claus is comin' to town' by Bruce Springsteen.
  • We managed to get Tom Waits played on daytime radio in Ireland for the first time in a long time (too long a time, if I do say so myself).
  • We introduced a fantastic song and artist to at least a handful of new listeners and hopefully opened their eyes to the power of Tom Waits!
  • And if we're really, really, really lucky, Tom Waits will notice slightly more royalties coming from Ireland this month and will decide to drop by on his next tour (chance would be a fine thing!).

A hundred thanks to the bloggers who gave us a mention, the people who visited and joined the facebook group and, most importantly, those who bought the song and got it where it is.

Proper thanks to come but I just wanted to say that there's no reason to be ashamed at the outcome, even if it wasn't the ideal one!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The final push

We're finally here - the last day of purchasing before the big day tomorrow.

As of this morning, 'Christmas card...' is 11th on the iTunes Ireland chart, climbing from nothing, to 29th to 19th to 11th in less than a week.

If you've not bought the song yet, now's the time - there will be no tomorrow (well there will, it's just your purchase won't count). If you've not told your friends, family and co-workers yet, now's the time. If you've not mentioned it on your blog or website, now's the time to do it.

If you have bought the song online this week, many thanks - you've done your good deed for Christmas. If you feel like you're in a festive enough mood to do one more, then by all means pick up another copy of the song (but do it from a different online outlet as it won't count otherwise)!

Remember - all purchases must be in by today or they won't count for tomorrow's chart.

Thanks again for your support and let's make this final push a good one!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Waits coming up the inside at 6-1!!!

I hadn't even noticed this but Tom Waits is now just 6-1 to make it to number 1 for Christmas in Ireland... wow!

That makes our campaign the third most likely to hit the top spot according to

I think it's a pretty impressive achievement by all of us to make Tom Waits anything other than a complete outsider for a time like this, and we're only inches away from being favourite!

So if you're as confident as I am about Waits' chances maybe you might drop a few quid on the line - if we make it you'll be able to make your money back from the song purchase and maybe have enough left over for a scoop or two over Christmas!

Update: It looks like the page for Christmas Number 1 has been taken down for the time being - we'll keep an eye out to see if it comes back.

More coverage

I'm just back in the door having appeared on Phantom FM today to talk about the campaign and how it's going - many thanks to Simon Maher for giving us another mention and having me in to state my case. He even played out with the song itself - probably the first time Tom Waits has been on daytime radio in Ireland in a while!

The campaign also got some substantial coverage in today's Irish Star (scan coming later). It's on Page 18 if anyone has one nearby - thanks to Robert Cox for showing an interest and giving us a mention!

I was also told by one or two people that Ian Dempsey's Breakfast Show had a bit about the campaign - unfortunately I didn't have the radio switched on at the time but thanks to the crew in there for giving us a plug and hopefully your listeners will be making their way to iTunes to download it.

So a good day for coverage and there's more to come tomorrow, from what I understand.

Thanks to everyone who's helped promote the campaign so far and to everyone who's given in a mention where they can. Tomorrow is the second last day to buy and will be the start of our "end game" phase where me make the final push for support.

So in between buying online and harassing your friends and local radio stations about it be sure to keep your fingers crossed!

Higher and higher

"Christmas card..." has broken into the top 20 on the Irish iTunes chart as of this morning, and that may not even include all of Monday's sales (and certainly doesn't include any from today so far).

Big thanks to everyone who has bought the track so far and/or promoted it in their own way - it's clearly having an impact. The iTunes chart is the only real indicator we have to see how things are going and with 3 days or so of purchasing left I'd say it's going well.

There's plenty of time left to push it further up the chart and remember, even if it does amazingly well online we still need to counter-act physical sales so an extra push is needed.

If you've not bought already, now's the time to do it. If you have bought already, make sure you tell everyone you know about the campaign. If you're feeling extra generous at this festive time of year, log onto one of the stores you haven't already bought from and pick it up again!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Not got a credit card? Never fear

We need people to buy online to make Waits number one, but one limitation to this is that a credit card (or visa debit card) is required - not even the trusty Laser will work anywhere that we know of.

So what if you want to buy "Christmas card..." but don't have a credit card? Well why not follow the suggestion of Vincent Lacey on Facebook and invest in an iTunes voucher instead?

One place you can get these vouchers in the offline world is in a 3G store (locations here). You can also get someone you know with a credit card to buy you vouchers online and send them on to you to use.

(And if you know of anywhere else besides 3G where people can pick up an iTunes voucher in Ireland then leave a comment with details.)

Another solution is to get a 3V card, which is kind of like a temporary Visa card you can top-up in shops or through your phone. The problem here is that the charges are quite high, so you'll end up paying far more than 99c for one song.

So if you know of any other way that people without a Visa or Mastercard can buy a song online or if you know of any reason why either of the above won't work on iTunes (or anywhere else) then let us know.

Digg This!

Someone has started a Digg article on the campaign and it's in bad need of your Diggs.

Head over here and Digg if you can. Otherwise be sure to buy early and buy often - and spread the word!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Campaign update

Last night, just as Tom Waits' main competition was being finalised on TV, I hit the airwaves to promote the campaign to get Tom Waits to Number 1 for Christmas in Ireland.

Una Mullaly was there too and besides Waits we discussed other alternative Christmas songs from the likes of Sufjan Stevens and The Flaming Lips.

If you missed the piece you can download it here (right click, save). Fionn, Zoe and co. were kind enough to wrap their programme up with the song too, although I didn't put that into the recording.

In terms of how well things are going so far, the campaign's momentum is continuing to grow. Last night the facebook group hit the 400 members mark (which is impressive considering it was only set up on Monday night) and the song itself hit number 29 in the Irish iTunes charts, based on Friday's sales only.

For one day's work that's a pretty solid performance and with over 4 days left of buying time left we can only hope the momentum continues.

If you've not bought already, please check this thread out for more information on where you can spend a few cent and have your purchased counted in the Irish chart. If you have bought already then make sure you tell everyone you know about the campaign and encourage them to spare a euro or so for the cause! You could also buy again in a different online outlet if you're feeling extra generous!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On Newstalk after 8pm tonight

I'll be on Newstalk tonight at around 8:15pm (Irish time) to talk about the Waits For Christmas campaign as well as other alternative Christmas tunes for those sick of what's normally on offer at this time of year.

Tune in on 106-108FM or listen online at - be sure to text in with suggestions and comments!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Time to buy!

From today and until Thursday and purchase you make will be counted towards the charts for the 21st of December - the very charts that will be in effect far Christmas day!

So if you're looking to support the campaign to get Tom Waits to number 1 with his classic 'Christmas card from a hooker in Minneapolis' now is your chance to do so.

There are a number of places to buy the song from that will be counted by IRMA for their charts. Below is a list of links along with price and other information - if you find one that isn't listed please leave a comment and it will be added as quickly as possible!

Apple iTunes* - 99c, works on any iPod or iPhone (please note the link will launch iTunes)
Eircom Music Club - €1.20, works on any 'Plays for Sure' device / €1.40, works on mobile phone
Sony Connect* - €1.29, works on any Sony device (please note the link only works in Internet Explorer and you will need the SonicStage application to download song)
EasyMusic - €1.35, works on any 'Plays for Sure' device (please note you may have to change your location to Ireland before purchasing as the site's default is for the UK)
Wippit - €1.39, works on any 'Plays for Sure' device (please note you may have to change your location to Ireland before purchasing as the site's default is for the UK)

Please note that purchases from the one site will only be counted once so there's no advantage in purchasing the song many times from the one place. You could, however, purchase it once from a number of sites or purchase it once on every account you may happen to have with the service (which would almost certainly require multiple credit cards).

* Links marked with asterisk are to the page for the album on which the track appears. From there you can purchase the track individually.

Hello Irish Times readers!

Big hello to anyone making their way here on the back of the mention we got in The Irish Times' music/entertainment supplement 'The Ticket'.

Many thanks to Jim Carroll for giving us the mention too.

From today and until Thursday night, any purchase you make online or in a music shop will count towards the charts for Christmas day, so please do your bit for the campaign and buy a copy of 'Christmas Card from a hooker in Minneapolis' from anywhere that's counted by IRMA for their charts.

This would include Apple iTunes (this link will open iTunes), Eircom Music Club, Sony Connect, 02 Napster, Vodafone and Easymusic amongst others.

(The iTunes, Sony Connect and Eircom Music links all lead to the page for 'Blue Valentine', which is the album featuring the song. From there you can choose to buy the song individually for between €0.99c and €1.29)


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hello Phantom Phans!

A massive hello to anyone dropping by on the back of Phantom FM's coverage of our campaign - make yourselves at home!

Thanks to Una for giving the whole thing a mention and to Simon Maher for giving it his seal of approval - I figure if anywhere's going to appreciate something like this it's going to be Dublin's alternative music radio station!

If you're on facebook be sure to hook up with our campaign group and also be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed here - and hopefully between Friday coming and next Thursday you'll be up for sparing a mere Euro or so for a quality Christmas tune.

For anyone who missed the mention, I've taken the liberty of recording and uploading it here (right click and save) - hope that's OK with the folks at Phantom.

Facebook group hits 100 (Already!)

Sure, it's not a huge number in the grand scheme of things but the Facebook group for our campaign has just passed the 100 members mark despite only being around for just over a day.

We have a long way to go but it's still early days, and the facebook group is by no means representative of the amount of people supporting the campaign in general!

There are also a few international members in the group and that's great - maybe they can start their own campaign in their locality! Besides, you don't have to be Irish to support the campaign in principle, so even if you're not, join up!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Getting support

Thanks to all the bloggers who have posted about this campaign so far - it's already starting to kick off and hopefully the momentum will continue.

The important thing now is to get some support together so if you're a blogger please give us a mention on your site. If you're not a blogger maybe you can let friends of yours know about the campaign if you think it's their sort of thing - just point them in this direction or the direction of the facebook group.

To get into the Christmas charts purchases will have to be made between Friday 14th and Thursday 20th of December - not before and not after.

I'll be posting about that in more detail sooner to those all important dates!

So for now, go forth and spread the word!

Monday, December 10, 2007

'Waits For Christmas' Facebook group

I've set up a facebook group for anyone looking to join - the link is on the right hand side there.

Join now and invite all your friends!

An off-beat pitch for Christmas number 1

Even though I was never a big pop-music fan I always remember being entranced by the race for Christmas number 1 as a child. It was never about wanting one song or another to win but simply about the heightened excitement of the race that surrounded the whole exercise. None of the other 51 weeks of the chart topping year seemed to matter nearly as much as what song was number 1 for the 25th of December.

Nowadays it's different. For a start we can be pretty sure that the winner of X Factor will be number 1 in Ireland as well as the UK. How sad is it that the favourite for Number 1 is an as yet undecided artist singing an as yet unknown song?

If it's not X-Factor it will probably be Westlife and whoever it is they're unlikely to have an actual Christmas song - at best it will be remotely "wintery", thanks largely to the addition of bells to an otherwise neutral song (see East 17's "Stay" for further information).

So here's my idea to counter this boring, dull trend. I want to get Tom Waits' "Christmas card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" to number 1 for Christmas.

If you've not heard this song before let me say this before you do - it is the absolute antithesis to what generally gets the Number 1 slot in Ireland nowadays.

For a start it's not a manufactured song sung by a manufactured artist. Secondly it's extremely funny and not a drab, safe ballad. Finally it's actually packed full of real emotion - it's tragic, beautiful and hilarious all at once.

It's absolutely perfect as a protest against everything that's wrong with music today and it even has some real humanity in it to boot.

And let's not beat around the bush - it would also be very enjoyable to hear the song on mainstream radio, or even to hear its title read out as part of a chart line up.

Getting it into the charts will be tough but not impossible. The song is available on iTunes, Eircom's music service and Sony's Connect - all of which are counted in the IRMA charts. Next week will be the one sales need to be made on, so there's a short time frame to get the job done but selling a few thousand songs (that's all that's needed) at around €1 each a pop is more than do-able.

So who's up for it? At the very least it will be a bit of fun.

Here's a live version of the song, by the way, but it's worth checking out the studio version for the full impact (on his Blue Valentine album):