Now that we’re beyond Halloween, we have to talk about Christmas music and the role smart speakers are going to play this year.

And 2018 promises to be different, too, because of the arrival of smart speakers. How many times will you accidentally hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” between now and the end of the year? As of midnight last night, it has been played exactly four times on stations across North America. Now that Halloween is behind us, it all about Christmas. (2) Traditionally, Christmas music is tied to physical sales. It’ll be fun to watch this data roll in. Gotta get everything in stores now so that when the buying binges start, there’s adequate inventory at Walmart. A couple of reasons:
(1) The aforementioned radio station format flips. Give me some Christmas music” and the tunes will be served up. What about streaming? Watch that number rocket upwards in the coming days.)
This is also peak time for the release of new Christmas albums, Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Pentatonix and even William Shatner have released new Yule-flavoured albums in the last week with more to come tomorrow. All you have to do is say “Alexa, play Christmas music” or “Hey, Google! People who tack the usage of smart speakers–which are easily the hottest consumer electronics item right now–are very interested to see how much they’ll be used to play Christmas music in November and December. Which will see a decline? It’s a total passive experience where the user depends entirely on the computing power behind the smart speaker. What artists will see a bump? If you’re playing that much Christmas music, you need a constant supply of new material. Think about that for a second. This is the weekend when dozens (hundreds?) of radio stations across North America will flip to all-Christmas all the time for the next two months. (I have access to special software that allows me to track radio airplay. What playlists will benefit? In other words, there’s lots of money to be made in playing Christmas music 24/7 at this time of year. The strategy has been a proven and reliable ratings booster for certain types of stations (AC ones, especially) over the last couple of decades. Streams of Christmas playlists have been on a hockey stick trajectory for the last couple of years. When it comes to this sort of seasonal music, people still tend to buy the CDs or the downloads. Why the deluge now? Glad you asked.
Now that we’re beyond Halloween, we have to talk about Christmas music and the role smart speakers are going to play this year.