Justin Bieber may be gracefully trying to bow out of the race for Christmas number one in the UK by encouraging fans to buy the rival NHS Choir song, but further down the chart there’s another notable festive trend.
Older Christmas songs by Mariah Carey, The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, Wham, Shakin’ Stevens, Wizzard and Chris Rea are all set for top 40 placings on Christmas Day, with their end-of-year rise fuelled by streams as well as sales.
Spotify has announced that Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You has now been streamed more than 100m times globally on its service, with its public charts revealing that more than 9.1m of those plays have come in the last week alone.
In the UK, the song is currently the fourth most popular track on the streaming service, with 305k daily plays. Fairytale of New York is fifth with 253k daily plays; Last Christmas seventh with 238k; and Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone tenth with 194k plays.
The popularity of these tracks on streaming services – Spotify is the only one to make its play counts public, but the trend applies to rivals like Deezer, Apple Music and Google Play Music too – is being driven by playlists.
Spotify UK’s Christmas Crackers playlist has more than 50,000 followers, while its US team’s Christmas Pop playlist has nearly 500,000, for example.
What does this mean in terms of revenues for the creators of these songs though? The size of streaming payouts for artists and songwriters has been a heated topic within the music industry in 2015.
The 9.1m plays of Mariah Carey’s Christmas song in the last week should generate a payout from Spotify to its label and publisher of around $66k, according to the streaming service’s own estimate that an average stream pays out between $0.006 and $0.0084 to rightsholders.
How much of that $66k goes to Mariah will depend on her deal with label Columbia, which originally released the track, as well as the terms of her publishing deal, and her share of the publishing credits – the song had another co-writer.
All I Want For Christmas is not just a streaming hit in 2015, however. It is currently 22nd in the top songs chart on Apple’s iTunes store in the UK, and 21st in the US.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Thursday 24th December 2015 12.38 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010