Christmas is still almost a month away but there are already signs of a streaming surge for festive songs.
Radio networks are also changing their output for December with Radio 2 confirming that it will play Christmas music from today (December 1).
The genre - which is being tracked by the Official Charts company from this week - made its first Top 20 entry on Friday (November 25) with a 36-18 climb for All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey. Last Christmas by Wham! moved 42-23.
Christmas music is now set to flood the first chart of December on Friday, with Carey and Wham! Moving into the Top 10, new Top 20 appearances by Ed Sheeran & Elton John (pictured) with Merry Christmas and Brenda Lee with Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, and further entries in the Top 40 by Michael Buble, Ariana Grande, Shakin’ Stevens, Kelly Clarkson, The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl, Band Aid, Bobby Helms, Chris Rea and Lizzo.
Of course, classic catalogue is penalised by Official Charts Company ACR rules, which means it has to stream at double the rate of new releases to achieve the same chart ‘sales’.
Lizzo's Someday At Christmas, at No.40 in the Midweek Sales Flash with consumption up 139.4%, is a new Amazon Original cover version and so is not subject to ACR. Amazon has previously been a contender for a festive No.1 with a Jess Glynne cover of This Christmas.
Based on the raw data, the OCC’s combined streaming chart has Mariah Carey at No.5 (3,929,589 streams last week) and Wham! at No.9 (3,522,734).
Both All I Want For Christmas Is You and Last Christmas have previously overcome their ACR penalty and claimed the official No.1. Classic festive chart-toppers are now looking likely in 2022, too.
According to Music Week analysis of the Top 20 Christmas songs streamed in the UK last week, consumption has increased 6.5% year-on-year. Every song topped a million streams in the Top 20 Christmas songs for week 47, while only 16 tracks managed that a year ago.
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of the festive tunes are catalogue tracks. But Merry Christmas by Ed Sheeran & Elton John, first released last year, is emerging as a new perennial. It was the 16th biggest Christmas track last week on 1,170,033 streams.
The third biggest festive song of last week - and a possible No.1 contender - was Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree by Tree Brenda Lee on 2,189,494 streams. It made No.25 on the combined streaming chart (surging 92-42 on the official singles chart).
At this point last year, Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl was the third biggest festive tune based on streams. It is No.7 for Christmas songs streamed in the past week, but it still has time to catch up.
As Radio 2 turns to festive music, the station has revealed the Top 40 Most Streamed Christmas No.1s ever, as compiled exclusively by the Official Charts Company for Radio 2 and BBC Sounds. It is based on total streams since release for each track, many of which are not actually Christmas songs.
Helen Thomas, head of Radio 2, said: “Our yuletide gift for the Radio 2 listeners is to kick off our festive tunes today, as well delivering as our Christmas No.1 singles chart on BBC Sounds and Radio 2. This rundown is a brilliant trip back through the decades, with a perfect mix of the timeless Christmas tunes we love and the hits that have since become classics – it’s the perfect festive soundtrack!”
Martin Talbot, Official Charts Company chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Radio 2 to create what will be the ultimate showcase of the nation’s favourite Official Christmas Number 1s – even if some of them are not particularly Christmassy! Lists like this are a fascinating reminder that the great British public know what they like, even if their choices are not always the most predictable.”
The Official All-Time Top 40 Most-Streamed Christmas No.1s
1 Perfect - Ed Sheeran (2017)
2 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen (1991 and again in 1995)
3 Rockabye - Clean Bandit featuring Sean Paul and Anne-Marie (2016)
4 Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin’ Stevens (1985)
5 Do They Know It’s Christmas? - Band Aid (1984)
6 Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade (1973)
7 Don’t You Want Me? - The Human League (1981)
8 I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston (1992)
9 Killing In The Name - Rage Against the Machine (2009)
10 Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord - Boney M (1978)
11 Stay Another Day – East 17 (1994)
12 Another Brick In the Wall (Part 2) – Pink Floyd (1979)
13 Lonely This Christmas – Mud (1974)
14 Hallelujah – Alexandra Burke (2008)
15 Mistletoe and Wine – Cliff Richard (1988)
16 Always On My Mind – Pet Shop Boys (1987)
17 I Want To Hold Your Hand – The Beatles (1963)
18 Sounds of the Underground – Girls Aloud (2002)
19 Mad World – Michael Andrews and Gary Jules (2003)
20 2 Become 1 – Spice Girls (1996)
21 Something I Need – Ben Haenow (2014)
22 Return to Sender – Elvis Presley (1962)
23 When A Child Is Born (Soleado) – Johnny Mathis (1976)
24 These Are The Days Of Our Lives – Queen (1991)
25 Earth Song – Michael Jackson (1995)
26 Day Tripper – The Beatles (1965)
27 Green Green Grass Of Home – Tom Jones (1966)
28 A Moment Like This – Leona Lewis (2006)
29 Hello, Goodbye – The Beatles (1967)
30 Reet Petite – Jackie Wilson (1986)
31 We Can Work It Out – The Beatles (1965)
32 I Feel Fine – The Beatles (1964)
33 Somethin’ Stupid – Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman (2001)
34 That’s My Goal – Shayne Ward (2005)
35 Seasons In The Sun – Westlife (1999)
36 When We Collide – Matt Cardle (2010)
37 Too Much – Spice Girls (1997)
38 Goodbye – Spice Girls (1998)
39 Only You – Flying Pickets (1983)
40 Saviour’s Day – Cliff Richard (1990)