Christmas music lifts the shopping spirit
The Future. The holiday season is a key time for retailers, and little else gets people in the shopping mood like a Christmas playlist that appeals to customers of any age. It’s also big business for the companies that make those playlists and the artists who populate them (there’s a reason Mariah Carey is on the charts every December), which shows that the service of creating the right vibe is a craft unto itself.
Putting together a Christmas playlist that speaks to shoppers is a holiday art.
- Radhika Giri, SVP of emerging business at SiriusXM, told Bloomberg that the request for holiday playlists had increased exponentially during her 12 years at the company… and so has the desire to get those playlists in the rotation sooner.
- Playlist-making for stores is a good business for SiriusXM, which has teams dedicated to their creation, which includes “business experts and musicologists.”
- The company even acquired Cloud Cover Media earlier this year, which specialized in curating music for national brands like Party City and McDonald’s.
The big reason why this work is outsourced to companies like SiriusXM is that no retailer wants to put time and energy into navigating music-licensing agreements.
Everything I Want for Christmas
The goal of these playlists for retailers is to “strike a perfect mood for customers” — a strategy that can actually increase sales. The trick is putting together a tracklist that works across generations.
- Elizabeth Margulis, a music professor at Princeton University and director of the Music Cognition Lab, says retailers need to lean into the “reminiscence bump.”
- What’s that? “The phenomenon that the music people listen to in their teenage years is the music that they remember the best, and often like the most.”
- That’s why music from decades past gets played so often. And since the reminiscence bump can get passed down, so does the love of certain songs.
- Margulis says you can’t go wrong with music from the ‘70s and ‘80s in order to hit multiple generations.
Dave Wasby, VP of music for business at SiriusXM, says that reality drives playlist curation at the company, which is why Bing Crosby is still in rotation. “Whatever decade we were teenagers in, that’s our preference. And that’s true even if you’re 80 years old.”