Music industry needs more originality in Christmas music

Kellen Hight, 21st Century Journalism Student

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Once we pass the threshold of November, you begin to get into a Christmas-y mood and you’ll need some fresh tunes to go with it. But what should you listen to? The market is getting filled with more and more songs every year, but many of them are not original songs. In fact, most covers of carols are essentially cash-grabs in nature. This, of course, will make it hard for you to get a fresh set of songs.

After a few failed internet searches, I decided to conduct my own observations. From a search on iTunes, the first three albums: “Christmas” by Michael Bublé, “The Essential NOW That’s What I Call Christmas” by various artists and “That’s Christmas to Me” by Pentatonix, all contained multiple songs that were not written by the artist that sang them. I will give credit that around seven of those songs between those three albums were original, but for three albums I honestly expected more new songs. As you can see, the problem is that these cover songs are everywhere.

Now to put this in perspective as to the other pros of writing fresh music, Mariah Carey makes around $469,500 every December just off her hit single “All I Want for Christmas is You.” That’s almost eight times the average salary in America (for reference, the average American salary is $53,000). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any data on how much money Carey made from her cover of “Silent Night” because the song didn’t get nearly as much recognition as her single, but we can estimate that “Silent Night” definitely didn’t rake in a comparable amount money. This means that if an all-new song is liked enough, then it will easily get more money than a rehash of yuletide tunes that everyone’s heard a hundred times.

All in all, the most important reason for this is that originality is dying. If you’ve looked at current movie releases, nearly all of them are sequels and reboots. It would be bad if this happened in the music industry any more than it already has. Maintaining creativity is easy if artists decide to put out albums that they’ve spent more time on and been explorative and imaginative.

The key to reducing the amount of cheap and unimaginative Christmas carol covers is to spend more time coming up with creative music. I’m not saying that those carols should entirely disappear, but there should be a one-to-one ratio of classic songs and new songs to keep things fresh. If you are an artist, try to be thoughtful and write a few originals to go with your covers. If you’re a consumer, then you should leave a helpful review on your purchased albums, you could even consider becoming an artist if that’s your thing. Now, I’m going to find some other Christmas songs. Wish me luck.

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Music industry needs more originality in Christmas music