They’ve been playing it since Thanksgiving and in some cases since Halloween. There are the old classics, the new classics, the redux of the classics, and then of course there’s my personal bane, George Michael’s discretionary tale of frivolous holiday romance. Please, give your heart away responsibly this holiday season. In the United States alone approximately 500 radio stations switch over to 24 hour holiday music broadcasts by American Thanksgiving. Can we just pause a moment to consider that? That means by December 25th there have been approximately 360, 000 hours of holiday music played across the United States. To add a little context, there are 8760 hours in a year, which means, through 500 radio stations over a 30 day period more than 41 years worth of Christmas music are played every year.
Right now you might be thinking, “Jiminy Christmas tree! That’s a lot of Christmas music!” (as we did) but this 24 hour Christmas flip is well worth the stations’ time. On average when a radio station makes the change they see a 72% rise in listenership during the holiday season and a growing proportion of that are millennials. Millennials can’t get enough of the holly jingles and there may be a sad reason for it. As Bridget Read from Vogue puts it, “There’s something about the naive brand of Americana that classic Christmas and holiday tunes so unabashedly, inanely embrace; it offers a surefire escapist route for the brain and heart.” The first wave of Millennials were welcomed into adulthood right around 9/11. The next wave were welcomed in 2008 with the Great Recession. Throughout that, they have been under the burden of large student debt and a slow-growth economy. Sure, they’re entitled and spend way too much on avocados but their lives are fairly mediocre and they’re staring down a future of increased automation and wage deflation. Its understandable how Millennials might gravitate to unapologetically up-beat nostalgia-ridden songs to escape their not-so-pleasant present.
So as you curse the producers of your favourite radio station for taking away your classic Eagles tunes and replacing them with a crooning Michael Bublé just remember, Michael is spreading the holiday cheer to those who could really use some cheering.
From all of us here at Abacus Data we would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season. Feliz Navidad!
Would you like to know more about Millennials as a consumer? Contact us to discover a full range of research and analytical services. Don’t for get to ask about our Millennial Audit, just one tool we use to make you competitive in the Millennial Marketplace.