The United States Of Christmas

And the Trumpers are saying the holiday’s been stolen.

If you look at the Spotify US Top Fifty your eyes will bug out. Nine of the top ten are Christmas songs, the only exception is #10, Post Malone’s “rockstar.”

But the next ten, that’s right, from #11-20, are all Christmas songs.

And of the next ten, #21-30, only Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” is non-Christmas.

There are four non-Christmas tracks in the bracket from #31-40.

And half of the last ten of the fifty are Christmas cuts.

Meanwhile, if you look at the iTunes charts, you’ll see none of this reflected.

The people want Christmas music. The move to streaming is an even bigger game changer than the move to SoundScan.

You see it’s all about consumption, that’s how you get paid. We want to know what people are listening to.

And we have no way of knowing consumption with sales. Did you buy it and file it or play it incessantly?

One thing’s for certain, the Taylor Swift juggernaut is not, which is one reason ticket sales are soft. Ms. Swift only has ONE song in Spotify’s Top 100 Tracks of 2017. And it’s in the bottom half. (Although her duet with ZAYN from “Fifty Shades Darker” is #10.)

The big winner? Ed Sheeran, with four tracks on the chart, including #1 with “Shape Of You.” Proving once again that the Grammys have their head up their behind. Come on, what’s wrong with this picture, man writes songs with changes and hooks that all can sing along to and he’s snubbed?

We’re in for a realignment, wherein all the old metrics are cast aside in favor of true consumption, streaming numbers.

The first to go is sales. It’s a de minimis part of the financial picture now anyway.

Next is radio. Yes, radio is powerful, but it’s losing said power each and every day as youngsters forgo its passive listening paradigm in favor of an active, on demand one. Radio lost touch decades ago, with phony deejays playing the same cuts. The public has rejected radio the same way they threw over CDs during the Napster era.

But what the Christmas dominated chart tells us is catalog counts. Just because you’re not in the news, not putting out new hits, it does not mean you’re forgotten. People remember, they want to hear your songs, they want to see you in concert, you’re gonna make bank forever. Think about this, used to be your income from recordings expired. No one bought new ones, if they could even find them in the store. Sure, you got publishing on radio in the U.S., but what if you didn’t write the song? This is one of the silver linings in favor of oldsters who keep bitching streaming will kill them when it’s keeping them alive, giving them another bite at the apple.

As for the Christmas chart, Mariah Carey dominates, her “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is number one, with daily plays of 2,075,827 and a cume of 311,319,704. Hell, she could be the new Trans-Siberian Orchestra, doing a Christmas tour, despite all her faux pas, the country still demands her.

Brenda Lee is number 2.

And from there on it’s a cornucopia of old and new holiday cuts.

Wham!’s “Last Christmas” is #4, and lo and behold, BURL IVES is #7 with “A Holly Jolly Christmas”! I haven’t listened to him since I was in single digits!

Jose Feliciano is a holiday star. Judy Garland too.

You need to get in on this action. Sure, cover the classics, but you’re gonna have a hard time competing with the oldsters. Your best bet is to record an original, try and write a classic. That’s right, acts have been shooting too low, with cash-in cover albums. Better to have one superhit that can sustain! Songwriters, start your engines!

And if you’ve got new product, WAIT UNTIL JANUARY!

No one wants to hear it, not now.

As for all you oldsters saying only the younger generation streams… Do they really want to hear Eartha Kitt and Perry Como?

And of course some of these numbers are high as a result of playlists.

But this ain’t Pandora, with its crappy payouts. Sure, some of Spotify’s plays are on its free tier, but so many are on the paid tier and paying more.

And sure, you can get lucky and have someone stream your cover crapola album, but…

You want the hit. The chart is an endless parade of classics.

Now if someone were smart, and the music business is not, every year they’d put out a Christmas album with today’s hitmakers, try to get in on some of that chart action. Yup, Post Malone would be better off putting out Xmas music in December, Taylor Swift too. And the barrier to entry is so damn low. You record it and post it. You get caught up in the tsunami of holiday play, publicity isn’t even that important.

We’re in a funny period. The oldsters hate the youngsters’ music yet the youngsters’ music has less dominance than ever before. Most people have never heard Post Malone. Most don’t even know the music on Swift’s new album. So the young and old are coexisting, and at this point in time some of the classic acts are getting traction on streaming, they’ve got over 100 million streams on Spotify, their fans have moved over. But before rock came country. Sam Hunt is in the Spotify Top 100 Tracks of 2017, although he does skew young. And “Body Like A Back Road” is only 2:45. Almost all the hit songs are under four minutes long. You get paid the same amount if it’s shorter. Does it pay to stretch out, should you stretch out? Once again, the medium affects the art.

So now that we know December is for Christmas music…

Is there another time of year that has a particular sound?

We’re gonna learn this and so much more.

It ain’t the baby boomers’ music business anymore.

P.S. You can get a look at the Spotify Top 200 here right now, just never forget it changes EVERY DAY, the once a week chart is ANTIQUATED!:

Spotify charts regional

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