Brands and Holiday music

When I was getting started in the music business, one of my first assignments was to go through a large box of cassettes from a record label that specialized in Christmas music. For the next few weeks, all I did was listen to their holiday music and write reviews and descriptions for each project.

Little did Gary Eaton I know that this assignment was an indicator of things to come. As it turns out, Holiday music makes for a significant business for record companies and brand partnerships. In fact, I went on to work with holiday music on an almost year-round basis (try to contain your jealousy please). Over the years, I’ve created a long list of branded holiday compilations that have gone on to sell millions of copies.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned along the way is this – when brands are working with Holiday music, one of the keys to success is this three-word motif: Know your audience.

If you are looking to appeal to a broad demographic base, it’s often best to use traditional artists such as Bing Crosby, Nat “King” Cole, Dean Martin and other similar performers.  Those artists have provided a seasonal soundtrack for multiple generations. The warmth of the Christmas spirit is deeply rooted in nostalgia, tradition and family. Classic Holiday recordings from legendary artists are often as relevant to a twenty something as they are to grandparents, simply because we’ve all grown up with this music.

Seasonal tracks from contemporary artists can certainly be an effective strategy – particularly if your target audience is a younger demographic. Just keep in mind that newer material does not have the historical track record to make an emotional connection with older consumers. There simply aren’t many memories associated with a new song. I have seen holiday promotions fail by brands choosing contemporary music over traditional artists. By choosing a specific newer artist(s) the brand limited their appeal to a very small niche group. At face value it may seem that using a current artist is a compelling choice for the Holidays – and it can be – just be sure to consider the full spectrum of dynamics when making these decisions.

Of course, each situation is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. If you are considering holiday music as part of your brand strategy, we’d be happy to discuss options and possibilities. Please feel free to give us a call 404-688-6858 or email us if you’d like more information.

(Gary Eaton – VP Sales & Marketing)

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