It's officially December so you know what that means: the return of Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on every radio station. It's been an absolute smash hit for the last decade and will continue to be Mariah's yearly cash cow for the foreseeable future. When radio stations aren't drastically overplaying this song, other familiar favorites fill the air waves such as "Here Comes Santa Claus", "Grandma Got Runover By A Reindeer", and my personal favorite, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree".
While turning on the radio during the holidays can get a bit annoying with all these classics on repeat, there is something independent artists should really take away: holiday music will always dominate the holidays. In our second week of holiday-themed blogs, I want to discuss releases during this time of year. Are they beneficial? Are they necessary? How should you approach the holiday season to benefit your career the most?
Christmas music dominates radio play during the holidays ('tis the season after all). Even if it's not the usual holiday classics, you can find many stations where popular artists have covered the usual Christmas carols. What you don't see is much new music coming out. The reason being the attention of the general public has shifted during this season. In this day and age, music is a game of attention and we all have to be considerate of that fact.
Let's take a second and think about what people are most focused on during the holidays. It is always a huge time to be with family. People are traveling to visit that family. They are worried about getting this year's holiday shopping finished. Some people pick up extra shifts or odd jobs to get some extra money for gifts. All of that, plus taking the time to actually enjoy and celebrate. Saying it is a busy time is an understatement.
Hearing all of this, is it still a good idea to release during this time of year? Well, yes and no. While releasing new music may not be the way to go because of attention being more focused on the holidays, re-releasing old music is another avenue to consider. At Broken Record Music Club, we consider this time of year a "maintaining period". Gaining new fans by releasing new music is an uphill battle, but giving current fans something new but familiar would help keep them engaged with your music. You can promote it however you want; a holiday gift for your core fans, a reward for a promotion you run, or a treat to end the year.
You're accomplishing two things at once with this approach. As an artist, you are giving back to the fans that have listened to you throughout the year. They have been loyal to you, buying tickets to shows and streaming your current songs. A little treat just for them is special during a time that focuses on giving thanks. In return, you are getting their attention back from them. They will remember to listen to your music, along with the re-released song. While this approach is not a method to help you break streaming records, it is a good way to maintain your end of year streaming statistics so you are primed and ready to go in the new year.
This holiday season, be careful of your release plans. The attention of the fans you are looking to gain is heavily occupied with many different things attributed to the holidays. New releases may go unnoticed after all the hard work you put in. Think of instead giving your current fans a new edition of an older song or project. Your fans have supported you all year long, giving back during the end of the year is a sure way to maintain your position in the music industry as you prepare for a big new year. It is the giving season after all, and often when we give, we receive.