10 Nov 2015

How To Release A Christmas Single: 10 Tips For Having a Christmas Hit


It’s no coincidence that musicians push out products during the Christmas period. People are in the mood for spending and digital download sales almost triple. A Christmas hit could mean a healthy pension. Now is the time to capitalise on seasonal offerings and earn yourself some sales. Here are some tips: 

1) Write A Christmas Song (even if it’s not about Christmas)

Do you have any songs in your back catalogue that have the potential to sound Christmassy? It’s easier to tweak one of your better songs than to write a new one, so check your back catalogue and see what you can work with.

2) Record a Cover Version

Unfortunately, The X Factor dominates the Christmas period, but you can still use this to your advantage. Alexa Goddard's cover version of 'Turn My Swag On' racked up a huge number of YouTube plays, so she released it through Ditto Music. When Cher Lloyd performed a memorable version on The X Factor there was massive demand for the digital download. Fans scrambled to buy it on iTunes, but the only version they could find was by Alexa Goddard. As a result, Alexa spent four weeks in the UK Top 40 singles chart and has now sold over 100,000 copies of her debut single.

3) Record an Alternative Christmas Song

In 2010 ‘Killing In The Name’ beat The X Factor song to the Christmas number one with the power of a good campaign. You can gain press with an interesting release and the power of your fans. Call your local papers, set up a Facebook page, let people know that they don’t have to suffer another dreary X Factor number one. You may NOT have a Christmas number one. The point is to release music that people will be interested in and this can get you a lot of new fans for your music.

4) Use Pre Release (and cheat the charts)

If you are releasing a single during Christmas week, you can make it available to pre-order right now. This means that all those sales between here and Christmas count towards your first week. This gives you a massive head start.

5) Make Sure You Are Chart Registered

You won't get in the charts just by having your music on iTunes, no matter how many sales you have. You need to be registered for the charts. If you sell a few thousand copies of your single but aren’t chart eligible you have just missed out on a hit single. You can register for the charts in your Ditto dashboard.

6) Make Holiday playlists (and get sneaky) 

Make a Spotify playlist of all of the big Christmas singles and slip yours in there too. Send the link to friends so that they have it ready for holiday season, pitch it as being the Ultimate Christmas Playlist. Make people want to subscribe to your playlist. You don’t necessarily have to mention that your song is in there but they will soon notice.

7) Write A Press Release

Try and create an interesting press release with a great angle. Test out different titles with friends to see which has the most impact. Local press are always interested in stories. If you are ready to pick up the phone and make some calls, you could get a feature. If you're looking for a more professional level of press attention, you can check out Ditto's Music PR Services.

8) Pitch Influencers via Twitter

Use Twitter’s search box to look up the Twitter handles of local bloggers and journalists. Twello is another great tool for this. Using a hashtag, search for Christmas keywords (e.g. #christmassongs or #holidaymusic) as well as local publication names (#rollingstone) The reporters you care about will most likely use those hashtags when tweeting links to their own blogs, making them easy to find with the right search terms. When you find a blogger who is writing about Christmas music, tweet them a link to your news release. The more compelling your tweet, the more likely they’ll be interested.

9) Don’t be afraid of emailing your fans

Email marketing has proven to be a consistent and reliable source of generating sales and income for all businesses, yet musicians are still fearful of doing it. If you have a new product make sure you let your mailing list know about it. You’ve earned the addresses on that list, it’d be foolish not to use them.

10) Send out Christmas Cards

For bands and artists, sending out Christmas cards is not only good marketing, but great PR. It’s a good way to make a personal connection with fans. A well-crafted and personalised Christmas card can both reinforce your fanbase connection, and take it to a new level. Why not include information on where they can find your new Christmas single?