Why Holiday Albums Still Sell

Marketplace Staff Oct 18, 2011

Justin Bieber wants to cozy up this holiday season.


JUSTIN BIEBER SONG: I’m going to be under the misteltoe with you.


And who can blame him.


David Bakula: Everybody is still demanding holiday records. (0:03)

David Bakula is a VP of analytics at the Nielsen Company.


Bakula:  You know if you look at last year’s top sellers, the number five record of the year for the entire year,  was Susan Boyle’s holiday record.  You know and you are talking about a record that came out the first week of November. 


The thing with holiday music is that we still buy whole albums. We buy CDs even. 

Aram Sinnreich is a media professor at Rutgers University.


ARAM SINNREICH:  Holiday music looks more like the industry did back in the 1990s.  (0:04)


Why?  Well, because a lot of these albums are sold as presents.


SINNREICH: People prefer to get gifts that are actually material.  No one wants to open a box and see nothing inside it and have someone say, oh well, what I got you is a bunch of 1s and 0s.  Don’t worry it’ll show up on your computer tomorrow.  


Big sales of whole albums aren’t only reasons artists rush to belt out “Jingle Bells” and “Oh Holy Night”.


Sean Ross is the VP of music and programming for Edison research.  


He says a couple decades ago, studios had an epiphany.


SEAN ROSS:  Holiday albums were a good way to sell records by artists who weren’t top of mind in pop culture and didn’t necessarily get a lot of radio airplay.


Think Neil Diamond, Wilson Phillips, Amy Grant, even Mariah Carey, whose modern standard “All I Want For Christmas is You” is likely no more than a month away from your radio dial.


OK, less than a month, a lot less.


MARIAH CAREY SONG: All I want for Christams is you. 


I’m Adriene Hill for Marketplace. 

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