The Season of Fortune

Col Chin, Staff Writer


We already know the vast and growing industry that is music. It takes a form of its own creating its own world of artists, revenue paths, differing jobs, and streaming platforms. But every year as the holiday season approaches and Mariah Careys “All I Want For Christmas” plays for the 500th time, we start to hear Christmas music everywhere. On the radio, in stores, or in any public place, the start of the winter festivities begin with Christmas jingles. But with its overwhelming popularity it begs the question; has the Christmas genre become its own industry?

Billboard approximates that Christmas music rakes in“around $177 million a year in the US alone” according to the World Airplay Radio Monitor (WARM). And according to WARM, the U.S. isn’t even the biggest consumer. Countries like Germany have a much higher rate of consumption of Christmas music. That being said, this only accounts for the income from radio stations. Things like streaming platforms, vinyls, and other physical media still need to be put into consideration when looking at the whole picture.

But like all  things Christmas it comes back to the queen of the season, Mariah Carey. In 2017, Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas “earned $60 million in royalties”. Business journalist Adam Muguire writes, “[the song] came out in 1994, so if you do the sums that’s roughly $2.6 million a year.” Mariah Carey’s song has become a staple for the holiday, making it impossible not to hear it during the season.

But Mariah Carey isn’t the only one. Artists like Wham and their song Last Christmas earns an estimated €500,000 in royalties every year. Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” is said to make around €140,000 a year. Some songs you’ve heard of, others you haven’t. But undoubtedly, these songs have amassed huge amounts of money.

In my opinion, I highly dislike Christmas music. Its form, melodies, and rhythmic patterns are repetitive from song to song, artist to artist. The songs are iconic, so iconic that you can figure out its Christmas theme in the first second. In other words, it’s boring. Listening to the unlimited list of Christmas songs is mind-numbing. But hey, if you enjoy the festive vibe and Christmas jams then continue to intake the medium. And if you’re lucky you could even become part of the process, and make a fortune doing so.