The Chestnuts of Christmas
Consider that in Ascap’s annual ranking of the 25 most-performed holiday songs, oldies but goodies dominate. [...]
[...] Why are we stuck in such a musical time warp? The answer may have less to do with our nostalgic leanings than the Ascap list implies.
Plenty of new Christmas songs are written and recorded every year by established artists [...]. But these tunes hardly ever work their way into the public ear through avenues like shopping-mall background music, soundtracks to television holiday specials or, perhaps most significantly, the playlists of the many radio stations that switch to an all-holiday format after Thanksgiving.
Part of the problem is that the rules of the modern-day recording industry dictate that a song must indeed be “worked” - that is, positioned with stations - over weeks, if not months. The Christmas season doesn’t afford such a generous allotment of time, so labels simply spare themselves the effort.
But even if a label were to make the big push, it would still find itself catering to a small piece of the pie. That’s because audiences these days are deeply divided by genre. [...] Billboard magazine, which began tracking popular songs in earnest in the 30’s, didn’t even introduce a separate country music chart until 1944. The trade journal now has more than 40 charts, covering everything from rock to rap, classical crossover to contemporary jazz.
Sounds like an argument for some new models in music distribution to me.