Every year I walk into the mall on a nice fall day and at some point it happens. I start noticing the red and green decorations and find myself humming “Chestnuts Roasting” (Yes, I know the real title is “Christmas Song”. I choose to not use it as I think that’s a cop out title!) Last year, they literally had Christmas music and decorations up the first week of October! Before Halloween?!?! Seriously guys! What’s up with that!?!?!
Here’s The Good News
The good news is that Christmas can be a really good time for independent artists to expand their fan base and exposure. Every year right after Thanksgiving radio stations start switching over to their Christmas formats and that means there is a ton of potential for unknown artists to not only get exposure, but to get some serious consideration for future quality radio play! Bottom line…score with a Christmas song on radio and they will ask you what else you have for the rest of the year.
Christian Radio, Mainstream, Pop, Rock….eh, it’s all the same at Christmas
All radio formats will at some point play Christmas music even if its just the final two weeks of December or after a certain time of day. They still may stylistically separate a more rock sounding Christmas song for the rock station or a pop sound for the pop station, but almost every Christmas song has one thing in common. It’s OK to be spiritual during Christmas. (Side note – Christian artists this is huge for you!)
Christmas in May
Here is a quick list of elements that you need to be successful during Christmas.
1. The right song
Do not pick “O Holy Night” (I love this song too!) Everyone and their mother will choose this and you will lose to a bigger artist. After all a radio station can’t play five versions of the same song in a row, can they?
2. The song has to be up to pro production standards
There are lots of producers, including myself, who you could contact. Its amazing how useful Facebook is! Be sure to be polite after all they are just people. (I used my mom voice while typing that one.)
3. You will need a quality Radio Promoter
Think of radio promoters as booking agents for the radio waves. You pay them to promote one song and they use their connections at stations to get radio play. Understand you may hire the best radio promoter in the world, but there are simply no guarantees. That’s the simple truth. Here is an awesome company to check out if your looking for radio promotion!
4. You had better get a move on
Radio promotions last on average 4 months, which means that when you hit July or August your already pushing your luck. Now is the time to start working on your new Christmas hit!
I still want my candy!
Christmas in October still really gives me the creeps and I’m not quite ready to trade my Halloween candy for mistletoe and tinsel. But as a professional musician and independent artist, it is great to have a longer Christmas season to make the most of it. And more time for my music is always a pretty awesome present!