Jingle Beats: The Pros and Cons of Releasing a Christmas Album

That time of year is almost upon us! It’s time to bring out that dusty old christmas tree that you stuck in the closet and string up your lights. It’s also time for a lot of us to think about what sort of stocking stuffers we want to give our loved ones.

The holiday season is typically a dead season in terms of album releases, with the exception of Christmas albums. One only need to look to the likes of Mariah Carey, who typically makes this an annual tradition (this year, she is only being featured on Justin Beiber’s Christmas Album).

Merry Christmas, indeed.

But what are the advantages and disadvantages of releasing a christmas album?

The reality is that people want to have a tangible gift to open on christmas morning. You can’t wrap a download – so the CD makes an excellent stocking stuffer. Record labels receive a seasonal increase in royalties from their Christmas albums.

Does this come with a side of biscuits?

Releasing a Christmas album can also give great exposure. “Holiday albums were a good way to sell records by artists who weren’t top of mind anymore in pop culture and didn’t necessarily get a lot of radio airplay”, says Sean Ross, V.P. of analytics at Nielsen Company. This is why we see artists who don’t typically come out with Christmas albums releasing songs that pay homage to Old Saint Nick.

Nice try, Scott.

For the independent artist, it might not be so lucrative. It seems that these albums mainly benefit mainstream, established artists. There is also a divide between independent and mainstream artists in advertising during the season. TV Networks, websites, and print publications increase their fees during the season, leaving them accessible only to those who can pay them, which leaves only a small group of artists who can afford to give their release the advertising exposure it needs to make it a success.

So while lucrative for mainstream artists, independent artists might not see such success, unless Christmas music is their niche.

“If you look at last year’s top sellers, the number five record of the year — for the entire year last year — was Susan Boyle’s holiday record. You know, you are talking about a record that came out the first week of November.” – David Bakula, V.P. of analytics at the Nielsen Company.

What do you think? Are you an independent artist who has had a successful Christmas release? Comment below with your story.


Contributed by CMIS Blog Editor/Staff Writer Delia Mendoza

About California Music Industry Summit

The California Music Industry Summit (CMIS) is TraMaí Entertainment, Inc. newest entity that is inclusive of all music genre's.
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