America’s #1 testing Christmas songs 2020
Media Research
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Are America’s all-Christmas stations playing the right songs? P1 Media Group tested the appeal of the 40 most-played and 40 most-streamed Christmas songs from the 2019 Holiday Season, according to MRC Data’s BDSradio, a service that tracks monitored radio, television and internet airplay of songs based on the number of spins and detections.


P1 Media Research conducted a survey with radio listeners likely to listen to a local all-Christmas music radio station this holiday season. We tested a total of 62 Christmas songs, the 40 most-played songs and the 22 unique songs from the 40 most-streamed list, for a total of 62 songs.


Key findings:


For the fourth straight year “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms is America’s #1 testing Christmas song. “Christmas music’s appeal remains as strong as ever amongst American radio listeners whom listen to All Christmas stations ‘frequently’ or ‘sometimes’ and personally enjoy Christmas music on a local radio station during the holiday season” says Ken Benson, Partner and co-founder, of P1 Media Group. “As we often see, there is lots to learn when we compare radio airplay to on-demand streaming data, even with holiday music.  In fact, over half of the top 40 most streamed holiday songs were underplayed in radio in 2019.  Understanding the importance of streaming data can help broaden the the appeal of your station. “Haley Jones, Director of Radio, MRC Data.


  • A total of nine songs from the Top 40 most-streamed songs list tested better with likely Christmas radio listeners than nine songs from the Top 40 most-played songs list. The data suggests these nine songs can be played more on the radio:


  • Michael Buble – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (ranked 230 on 2019 airplay chart)
  • Frank Sinatra – Jingle Bells (44)
  • Nat King Cole – Deck the Halls (562)
  • Perry Como – It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas (64)
  • Michael Buble – It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas (65)
  • Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) (57)
  • Perry Como – Home for the Holidays (74)
  • Andy Williams – Silver Bells (119)
  • Thurl Ravenscroft – You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch (48)


  • The Holiday Classics rule the Top 10 including “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and two versions of “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”


  • The Christmas standards tested higher than their contemporary counterparts. Six of the eight original Christmas songs recorded since 2011 tested at the bottom of the list in appeal. The notable exception is Kelly Clarkson’s, “Underneath the Tree,” from 2013, tested number 28 overall with the total sample and an impressive number 11 with 18-24s.


  • 49 of the 62 Christmas songs tested very favorably with an appeal score of 70 or higher on a 100-point scale.


  • The appeal of All-Christmas Music radio stations is broad with nearly 70% of Men and Women stating they “frequently” listen to Christmas music on a local radio station during the holiday season.




You can also download the full report HERE!


P1 Media Group conducted the online survey the weekend of October 10-11, 2020. We sampled 400 18-54-year-old radio listeners, proportional to the population of the Top 50 American Radio Markets. Participants were required to listen either “Frequently” or “Sometimes” to Christmas Music on a local radio station during the holiday season and rate their personal enjoyment of Christmas music on a local radio station during the holiday season a ‘7’ or higher on a 1 to 10 scale. We identified heavy streamers by asking each respondent “How frequently you listen to music on your smartphone, computer or other listening device from a streaming service such as Pandora, Spotify or Apple Music.” 51% of the sample responded they stream “everyday” and 34% answered a “few days” a week.  85% of the total sample were designated as Heavy Streamers.


The test list was compiled from the most-played Christmas Songs on American radio in 2019 and the most-streamed Christmas songs in America in 2019 according to BDS.


Contact: Ken Benson

Phone: +1.360.910.4119