No matter where I go during the holidays, the seasonal songs I seem to hear most often are the oldies – tunes such as Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of “Sleigh Ride,” Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” and Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas.” About the most modern songs I ever hear are Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” which dates from the 80s, and Etta James’ nearly 20-year-old – but classic-sounding – songs from her “12 Songs of Christmas” album. If you ever wander through a mall or a brick-and-mortar store during the holiday season, your experience is likely similar.
But it turns out those classic tunes aren’t necessarily representative of the music most people hear during the holidays. If you take a look at what seasonal songs were streamed online or sold as downloads last year, the majority were recorded in 2000 or later, as this chart from Statista – based on data from Nielsen – indicates. And you can’t blame DJs for holiday nostalgia; the majority of seasonal songs played on the radio last year were recorded after 1989.