Holiday Songs that Make the Season Bright

There’s no such thing as too soon when it comes to Christmas tunes. This statement may be up for a friendly debate but it’s fair game after Halloween.

If there is one thing that is constant in this world, it’s that the day after Halloween, starts the season of Holidays, and Happy Holiday hits streaming in almost every public space that has speakers. There’s no escaping from the multi-month-long non-negotiable streaming of music whether it’s cafes or convenience stores, car radios, or doctor’s office waiting rooms.

There’s nothing that gets folks into the holiday spirit like music. As much as holiday music brings lots of joy, the holiday hits also bring cash. Holiday albums consistently turn a profit even as album sales are down across the board.

Nate Sloan, assistant professor of musicology at the University of Southern California, USC’s Thornton School of Music, explains that people still give holiday albums as gifts and it may be the one time of year folks still want to buy an album.

Licensed Holiday Music playing at retail stores or being used in holiday products is a great way to help make the season jolly. Among a myriad of songs, what music will resonate with customers, and with so many options to choose from where can you start?

According to ASCAP, the top 10 Holiday Songs of 2020 were:

  1. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff (1994)
  2. “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Meredith Willson (1951)
  3. “A Holly Jolly Christmas” by Johnny Marks (1962)
  4. “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson and Mitchell Parish (1948)
  5. “Let It, Snow, Let It, Snow, Let It Snow” by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne (1945)
  6. “Jingle Bell Rock” by Joseph Carleton Beal and James Ross Boothe (1958)
  7. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Johnny Marks (1958)
  8. “Last Christmas” by George Michael (1984)
  9. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Edward Pola and George Wyle (1963)
  10. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin (1944)


Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” continues you dominate. She joyously ushers in the season every year the day after Halloween, this year by smashing pumpkins, to welcome her fans to the holiday season. Since its debut in 1994, Carey’s hit song has earned more than $60 million in royalties according to a 2016 estimate and more than $2 million in royalties on Spotify according to a 2019 report.

In addition to these impressive numbers, Carey has pulled off the feat of having the most recent holiday song on ASCAP’s top 10.

Most of the list are classics that have been making the seasons bright since the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. They continue to outperform newer singles as people love tradition and nostalgia. It’s why old holiday favorites never go out of style.

December is the only time that the Billboard Hot 100 will have songs from the 1930s and 1940s alongside more recent releases. In fact, in the Top 25 ASCAP holiday songs, only two are from the past decade.

  1. “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson and Greg Kurstin (2013)
  2. “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande and Savan Kotecha (2013)

While Ariana Grande’s “Santa Tell Me” is #25 on the ASCAP charts, it’s the third most popular holiday song of all time played on Spotify. This song continues to have staying power. Nate Sloan predicts “it’s just one blockbuster Christmas movie away from becoming the heir to Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

When it comes to licensing holiday songs for consumer products, you can’t go wrong with the classics while a retail setting would be well served by licensing a mix of classics and more recent tunes.

While Christmas music gets unwrapped more often, you may also want to consider other holiday song selections like one of these 21 Hanukkah songs.

Enjoy a holiday that shines brightest no matter what song you license.


Be the first to know about industry trending topics, news, upcoming events and latest updates from us!

Dependable Solutions