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Corporate anthems find Web fans

April 4, 2002 Posted: 8:17 PM EST

LONDON, England - Corporate songs, once the private embarrassment of the board room, have emerged as a cult musical genre with hundreds of thousands of devoted fans.

Through the Web the little-appreciated songs attracted previously unheard of popularity with firms including Deutsche Bank and IBM vying to top the charts.

More than 6,000 people downloaded this week's chart-topper McKC from German-based McKinsey & Company.

Other top 20 anthems included KPMG's "Our Vision of Global Strategy," which has inspired a Nokia ring-tone, PricewaterhouseCoopers' two songs "Your World" and "Downright Global," and IBM's "Ever Onward."

The motivational company hymns were made popular last year by 23-year-old Chris Raettig, a London-based Web programmer, who created a site to chronicle other examples after he came across KPMG's song.

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A week after launch, Raettig's site of corporate-cringe had attracted 200,000 visitors. The site continued to receive company anthems.

Raettig told CNN: "There was often rivalry between different companies over which song was the worst -- especially between PricewaterCoopers and KPMG."

"Some companies claimed the songs weren't their official anthems but no firm asked to be removed from the site."

As public demand soared, the project was taken over by technology-news Web site ZDNet last week.

"IT Anthems" -- "Corporate Anthems" was renamed by ZDNet as all songs were from tech companies -- initiated a Top 20 according to number of downloads for each anthem.

In the past week song downloads, from companies including Ericsson and PricewaterhouseCoopers, have trebled the total bandwidth taken up by ZDNet's British Web site.

ZDNet news editor Matt Loney said some songs are made by small departments as lighthearted entertainment, while others are created by management with high production values.

"In general the songs reflect managements' poor sense of reality. Above a certain level in any company, executives operate in an environment where reality doesn't intrude very much," he told CNN.

"The songs are popular because they are generally awful. People download them for a cringe."

McKinsey officials were reluctant to discuss their No. 1 status and said: "It's not an official McKinsey anthem, just a group of people in our research and information unit having a bit of fun."

But Jon Bunn, head of media relations at PricewaterhouseCoopers told CNN it was great the company had two songs on the chart.

This week's top five of corporate anthems are:

  • McKinsey & Company "McKC
  • KPMG "Our Vision of Global Strategy"
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers "Your World"
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers "Downright Global"
  • IBM "Ever Onward"




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