It’s the most wonderful time of the year. If you love Christmas music that is.
You have barely recovered from your tryptophan-induced coma. All your credit cards are maxed out from a Black Friday spending spree. And having just spent the week cooped up with family members and battling through the chaos of holiday travel, December is already upon us. How do you know? Probably because there are Christmas carols at every turn.
Looking at the top ten songs that saw the highest percentage increase in the number of plays on U.S. radio in the last seven days, all of them are Christmas singles, including “Let It Snow,” from Boyz II Men with a 439% increase, “Jingle Bell Rock” from happy couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, and the classic “Silent Night,” from the Temptations. In fact, if you look at the top 50, 96% are seasonal tunes.
Holiday tracks pretty much dominate also when looking at virality on U.S. radio, a measure of how evenly, quickly and forcefully consumption of a track increases. Seven of the most viral tracks in the past week are Christmas songs, from Burt Ives’ “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,” to John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas/War Is Over,” to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” The catalogue is seemingly endless and spans decades.
But radio is a passive medium. The best you can do is change the station, and this time of year, you’ll probably find a Christmas song playing there as well. So can we really be blamed for what is served up over the airwaves?
On video streaming site YouTube, the story is pretty similar, 43 of the top 50 tracks are all Christmas songs. Looking at virality over the past 30 days, two versions of “All I Want For Christmas” are in the top ten, crooner Michael Bublé makes several appearances, with “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Santa Baby,” among others (Not to mention that his top five tracks on YouTube in the US are all Christmas songs). In the past week, video views for Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” have increased by 8,838%, and Josh Groban’s “What Child Is This,” by more than 3,000%.
So that’s the scoop, America loves Christmas. Trees, tunes and all.
Liv Buli is the resident data journalist for music analytics company Next Big Sound. Buli is a graduate of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and her work has appeared in Newsweek Daily Beast, Forbes, Billboard, Hypebot and more.