There are more Christmas songs than ever before! Bands and singers are churning out a large number of songs to appeal to listeners for two months out of the year. What’s going on?
First, there are lots and lots of different versions of the same title. You know, every musical act giving their version of “Winter Wonderland”, “Sleigh Ride” or “The Little Drummer Boy”. There’s a reason so many artists keep covering a dozen of the best-known standard titles – those songs are people’s favorite and the lyrics resonate holidays and memories.
Nothing says childhood like hearing a song that takes you back to being a kid anticipating Christmas coming. It’s those fun, innocent, seemingly distant memories that are being triggered in us as adults when we hear “Frosty The Snowman”, “Jingle Bells” or “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”.
Recording artists know that their fan base would love to hear them record those Christmas classics, so they oblige. It’s hard to find any band in any genre, from jazz to country to R&B to pop, that doesn’t have a Holiday song or two, or an entire album, or multiple Holiday albums. Fans love it. Put a country drawl or a hip hop beat into “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” and song is renewed.
The other side of the growth in available Christmas music is musicians and songwriters trying to write the next big Christmas hit. Mariah Carey is now the Christmas diva thanks to the song that first appeared in 1994. “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. That’s modern compared to most Holiday standards that first became popular in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Mariah now has at least 20 more Christmas titles, both traditional and original.
If a singer/songwriter can create a future Christmas classic, it would be like gold that returns again every year. A seasonal hit is a songwriter’s dream. That’s why so many try to write original new songs designed to be heard during the Holiday season, then put on the shelf to be brought out with the decorations next year. Taylor Swift is well on her to having an annual hit with her original “Christmas Tree Farm.” ‘N Sync recorded “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” in 1998 and it’s still getting played and streamed a quarter-century later.
And have you noticed that most contemporary (21st century) Christmas songs are more about “love” than about “Christmas”. Oh sure, the setting is near a Christmas tree and it’s cold outside, but the song is really really about “missing my baby” and “you’re the best present I could wish for.” The sleigh ride to grandma’s house has been replaced by “Christmas kisses all over my body”.
Writing a Christmas hit is big business – but most artists fall short.
Mix It Up For Christmas
Here are some tips to consider with your Holiday/Christmas playlist in a business environment.
- Include the traditional songs. If you only play originals, which can be unfamiliar to most customers, you miss out on the memories and the sing-alongs that customers find themselves drifting into.
- Include the traditional titles but sung by artists that fit the vibe of your environment. You might have the business where Meghan Trainor and Seth McFarland’s up-tempo contemporary version of White Christmas fits nicely, but Andy Williams’ 1963 slow melancholy version of White Christmas sounds out of place.
- Gwen Stefani instead of Bing Crosby, John Legend instead of Nat King Cole. The sing-along lyrics still hit home, but now the sound is up-to-date by today’s artists – and the recording quality won’t sound ancient.
- Include non-traditional songs here and there. There are plenty of stellar seasonal songs that aren’t “Holly Jolly Christmas”. As a professional music-for-business, we’ve made it our mission to find the best originals to go along with the hundreds of covers. However, play too many of these originals and the Christmas feeling will be lost.
Glimpse The Massive Amount Of Holiday Songs
Billboard magazine publishes a list of their “100 Best Christmas Songs of All Time” as chosen by their staff.
P1 Media Group surveyed broadcast radio listeners nationwide. They tested the appeal of the 40 most-played and 40 most-streamed Christmas songs from the 2021 Holiday Season. See the best testing Holiday songs here.
But just because a song is on these lists, doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. Custom Channels curates thousands of Christmas and holiday tunes of every imaginable style and era, covers and originals…. The whole gamut. We can help you find the right songs for your businesses’ holiday vibe – trust the music professionals at Custom Channels with your Christmas sound.
Now that you’ve read Old, New, Remakes, Originals – There’s More Christmas Music Than Ever, it’s time to read The Right Time For Christmas to find out the optimum dates to start playing Christmas music in businesses.
Unsure how to legally stream music for customers in your business? Visit our Music Licensing Basics page or give us a call at 303-444-7700.