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Streaming & Smart Speakers Are Giving Holiday Music An Unprecedented Boost

“All I Want For Christmas is You” reached No. 6 on the Hot 100 chart this year.

Mariah Carey’s 1993 hit, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” has been a holiday staple for years. In 2018, however, the song reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, its all-time peak and the highest-charting Christmas song in 60 years. It’s not an anomaly, and there seems to be a pair of culprits: streaming and smart speakers.

Andy Williams“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” sits at No. 13, Bobby Helms“Jingle Bell Rock” is at No. 15, and Brenda Lee’s “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree” reached No. 18, all at their highest levels ever. According to a report from Billboard, the growing popularity of smart speakers has helped give Christmas music a boost from casual listeners.

“Holiday music, more so than any other genre, is a shared listening experience at this time of year and that alignment is really tight, and it’s driving a lot of Christmas listening,” Amazon Music’s Director of Global Content Programming Alex Luke told Billboard. “We’ve seen it grow as voice has grown, as Echo and Alexa have grown.”

Streaming has upended the way consumption of “evergreen” holiday songs is tracked. In the CD and digital download eras, songs and albums would be purchased once and used year after year. Since streaming services track every instance of a song being played, these yearly listenings are now counted on the Hot 100 chart, reflecting their true seasonal popularity.

Songtrust previously reported that smart speaker ownership is directly linked to adoption of subscription streaming services, with 30 percent of owners saying their device led them to purchase a streaming subscription.

Combined, these two factors have helped lead Christmas music to huge gains on the Hot 100 chart. Billboard reports that “All I Want For Christmas is You” earned 54.9 percent more streams in the first week of December 2018 than it did last year. With the song already having sold over 16 million copies worldwide, it seems there’s even more upside for Carey in years to come.

Catch up on all the lyrics to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You” on Genius now.

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