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How Much Money Can Christmas Hits Make?

How Much Money Can Christmas Hits Make?

Because it’s the most profitable time of the year! You know how the old legend goes, “Do a Christmas hit and you’ll be set for life!”, but, is there any truth in that?

As it turns out, there is! If you are lucky enough to be played to death, year after year, you’ll be getting a steady pay check for life.

It can be hard to know exactly how much a Christmas song brings in exactly, given that PRS protects their clients’ privacy, so precise figures are not obtainable. But below are the values that have been estimated by industry experts or found out by journalists.

Here, we explore the estimated income figures of the top 10 highest earning Christmas Hits. You should know all of them, it’s October now, so you’re about to spend the next 2 months quickly changing the radio station over to avoid them! 

Merry Christmas Everybody- Slade – £512,000 per year

“It looks as if it’s never going to go away”, Jim Lea said in 2011 “It could be here in 200 years’ time. I think it’s because of the way the melody lilts around and it’s got a happy-sad feel. It sounds nostalgic”. While we don’t know about 200 years’ time, it’s certainly held up for a further 9, making it a prominent Christmas track for 47 years. It doesn’t seem to age! 

Forecasts show that Merry Christmas Everybody makes an average of £512,000 per year. In a 2016 UK TV Episode, it was suggested that the tune could bring in as much as £1mil per year. 

Last Christmas- Wham! – £470,000 per year

Last Christmas is the biggest selling #2 of all time. It was beaten to #1 in 1984 by “Do they know it’s Christmas?”. In 2017, a social media campaign tried to get the song to #1 after George Michael passed on Christmas Day in 2016. The song ended up making it to No.3, so it was close!

PRS have said that Last Christmas is the third most played Christmas song on UK Radio. It is estimated that the yearly royalties could be as high as £470,000. 

Fairy-tale of New York- The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl – £400,000 per year

It turns out that The Pogues track is the most played in UK radio and regularly creeps back into the Top 20 UK charts around the holiday season.

While the PRS won’t share the figure, and the artists have been extremely reluctant to answer questions around it, estimates say it could earn approximately £400,000 each year.

All I Want For Christmas Is You- Mariah Carey- £376,000 per year

Everyone knows the words to this one, right? Surprisingly, despite bagging the USA top spot, this hit has never managed to top the UK charts. It came in runner-up to East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’.

Given that the song is said to make roughly £376,000 in royalties every year, we doubt Mariah is too upset!

White Christmas- Bing Crosby- £320,000 per year

Bing Crosby’s classic hit makes us all dream of snow! In fact, so many of us start dreaming of snow, that the song is yielding £320,000 royalties each year!

I Wish It Could Be Christmas- Wizzard- £180,000 per year

Back in 1973, there was a race to the top between “Merry Xmas Everybody” and “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”. Inevitably, Wizzard lost, so the single was put on ice and re-released in 1981. Apparently, the master copy of the track went missing, and is still missing to this day! In 1981, the song had to be re-recorded in just one week, and that is the version that we hear on repeat for two months!

The song is estimated to make about £180,000 per year.

Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens-£130,000 per year

This is perhaps one of the cheesiest songs of all time. Orginally it was due to release in 1984, but Shakey decided to delay it a year to avoid being silenced by Band Aid. Now that the song is making £130,000 per year, he’s likely glad he did!

Stop The Cavalry- Jona Lewie- £120,000 per year

Perhaps not as well known by it’s title, Stop The Cavalry is a huge Christmas hit. And we are sure you know the words too! The track is estimated to make £120,000 each year in various royalties. Given that the track was produced in every aspect by just one person, that is a lot of money to end each year with!

Mistletoe and Wine- Cliff Richard- £100,000 per year

Fun Fact: In 2013, Costa Coffee banned this song from playing in its stores, due to it being voted their customer’s least favourite track of all time.

But even with a ban from the nations coffee lovers, Cliff Richard’s song is pulling in £100,000 each year.

Stay Another Day- East 17- £97,000 per year

This Christmas classic wasn’t intended to ever be a Christmas song at all. In fact, according to songwriter Tony Mortimer, the song is about his brother’s suicide. This song carries such raw emotions that power the sombre harmonies and built it in to the Christmas Hall of Fame. Each year, this hit comes back around and earns the band a whopping £97,000 in royalties!

Well, I’m glad that’s over! It’s October, and our office was not prepared to be blasted with Christmas Songs whilst I wrote this blog… And neither was I! Christmas songs should only play at Christmas… And even that’s too much!

On that note, I’m off to hide until January….

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1 Comment

  1. Kirsten Bennett


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