Market Overview

Holiday Music Sales Slumping This Year

Every year, Americans anxiously await the new round of holiday music from the best (and not so) best-known artists but that seems to be changing.

Who could forget Michael Buble’s 2011 Christmas album that went on to sell 2.5 million copies or Mariah Carey’s version of “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

But times are changing and holiday music is no longer the cash cow it once was.

The record business isn’t what it used to be. Those with a couple of decades under their belt remember when music was purchased at a record store, Best Buy or some other place that required the purchase of an entire album instead of a single song.

When the digital format took over, Christmas music acted much like the holiday retail season: the savior of the industry because who, in their right mind, wouldn’t want the newest holiday hits for their Christmas party?

This year isn’t looking so good, though. According to The Wall Street Journal, Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” has sold only a few hundred thousand copies since its October debut.

Duck Dynasty’s “Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas” has sold about 360,000 since it debut. These “top sellers” are down from the 2012 #1, Rod Stewart’s “Merry Christmas Baby,” which sold about 858,000 copies last year.

According to Billboard, album sales slipped 10 percent in 2012 compared to 2011 levels. 54.9 million units were sold in 2012 compared to 61 million the prior year.

Michael Buble’s “Christmas in 2011” sold 2.5 million copies that year and another million since. Josh Groban’s “Noel” sold 3.7 million copies in 2007, and Kenny G’s “Miracles: A Holiday Album,” sold nearly three million copies in 1994.

Even back in the day of Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, sales were better. Crosby’s famous cover of “White Christmas,” recorded in 1941, sold millions of copies. Today, those numbers are a thing of the past.

It appears that the days of supercharged music sales during the holiday season are a thing of the past, or for those who wish to keep the faith, in a temporary slump.

If there’s any solace to this trend, we’ll always have the true classics like the top rated tune of all time according to surveys, “The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) performed by the famous, Nat King Cole.

Posted-In: Holiday Music Kelly Clarkson Mariah Carey Michael Buble Nat King Cole Wall Street JournalWall Street Journal Retail Sales Media General Best of Benzinga


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