Published on December 8, 2023, 10:32 a.m.
by Katherine Williams.
It’s no secret that Mariah Carey is the queen of Christmas. Every holiday season, her hit song “All I Want for Christmas Is You” continues to top charts 29 years after its initial release. According to The Economist, the song earns Carey approximately $2.5 million in royalties each year.
Why does this holiday hit resonate with so many listeners? Despite Carey’s powerhouse vocals and the song’s catchy tune, there are layers beyond the surface that contribute to the song’s success.
A timeless classic
Carey and co-writer Walter Afanasieff’s songwriting skills help make the song relatable for anyone who celebrates the Christmas season. It differs from traditional Christmas songs like “Joy to the World,” because it’s about spending the holiday with the ones you love.
The song also has no reference to gender, which allows any listener to place themselves in the mindset of the song. By using inclusive language in the song, Carey is able to connect with many different demographics.
Some artists choose to simply cover a traditional song from years past, but Carey chose to create her own original song. While such originality might come as a high risk to music artists, it is also highly rewarding if the song becomes the new classic hit.
Public relations and marketing professionals in the music industry should encourage their clients to produce Christmas music at least once in their careers. If an artist creates a popular Christmas song, it generates not only a large stream of income, but it also allows them to stay relevant during the holidays every year. This relevancy can generate earned media for the client and help positively boost the public’s perception of an artist.
Popular Christmas songs can also create demand for a Christmas tour, allowing an artist to connect with their fans in person.
Carey has been on numerous Christmas tours, and she is currently on her “Merry Christmas One and All Tour,” which began on Nov. 15 this year.
Sleighing the charts
Since Carey’s success with her festive hit, other artists have jumped on the bandwagon and released their own original Christmas songs.
Ariana Grande’s 2014 release “Santa Tell Me” is a Christmas hit that is popular among Generation Z. Last year – eight years after its original release – the song jumped to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which is its highest ranking since its release.
This holiday season, pop-singer Sabrina Carpenter released a Christmas EP titled “fruitcake,” which includes a song she released last year, “A Nonsense Christmas.” This song is a Christmas remix of her original song “Nonsense,” one of her hit songs from 2022.
Music artists can use Christmas releases as a way to satisfy fan demand. In between an album release cycle, music artists can release holiday-inspired music to boost engagement with their music and brands. Releasing music consistently can help with an artist’s online presence because fans are more likely be engaged when they expect new content often.
As seen by Taylor Swift’s successful strategies, fans are more engaged when an artist takes shorter breaks in between new song releases.
Releasing Christmas tracks can also boost visibility because the song may be put on holiday playlists for Spotify or Apple Music, which helps attract listeners searching for new music content. Holiday playlist exposure can attract new audiences for the artist that were originally untapped.
Wrapping it up
As seen by their streaming accomplishments, Carey, Grande and Carpenter all have increased success because of their Christmas music releases. It is important for PR practitioners to work with marketing professionals to find new ways to boost their clients’ reputation in the industry and allow them new opportunities to grow their fanbases.