It’s that time of year again; Retail Christmas Music. A Consumer Reports survey, reports that 90% of respondents noted something that stressed them out over the holiday season. While it wasn’t the top complaint, Christmas music was on the list with 23% of people saying it was their chief complaint. That is after crowds and long lines (68%), gaining weight (37%), getting into debt (37%), gift shopping (28%), travelling (25%), seeing certain relatives (24%). There are a lot of grievances about the holiday season. Anyone who has worked in retail — any kind of retail — knows the insanity that is the Christmas soundtrack. It’s a repeated cycle of popular songs, and covers of the songs again and again. Michael Buble, and Mariah Carey – we’re looking at you.
It’s one thing to be a customer listening to the retail seasonal soundtrack. A shopping trip usually only takes a few hours at most. Its another thing completely to be a retail employee where those few hours are the entire day, and those few songs multiply.
Bustle Writer Claire Warner writes, “For three months of the year, the majority of their waking hours are spent listening to the same seasonal playlist over and over again in a relentless loop — all while dealing with the joys of working in customer service. Not even Santa’s elves could make it through that kind of experience unscathed.”
Retail Christmas Music Statistics
And a lot of retailers start early. When I say early, I mean months in advance. They’ll play before Halloween, before Remembrance Day before the actual Christmas season.
Why Do Retail Stores Play Christmas Music So Early?
The reason for this is to get customers in the mood for spending their hard-earned moola. There’s a real science to using music in businesses because it affects human beings so much, they want the right effect on their customers. If customers are happy, then they’ll typically spend more. Thus the idea behind the Christmas cheer from the seasonal soundtrack.
Eric Spangenberg, Ph. D, dean of the College of Business at Washington State University in Pullman, has studied how music influences shopping. “Slower tempo music slows down shoppers, and they spend more time and money in a store,” Spangenberg explains. On the other hand, faster-paced songs quicken shoppers in their shopping.
He’s also studied the specific effects of holiday music, “We’ve shown that ‘holiday-appropriate’ music combined with congruent ‘holiday scents‘ can influence shoppers by increasing the amount of time they spend in a store, their intention to revisit it, and intention to purchase,” says Spangenberg.
However, the timing of the holiday music and scents is something he questions later on in his Essay. “First, would the use of seasonally congruent scent and music have the same effect if employed at a time of year other than the holiday season in which the current study was conducted? Basic consistency theory would predict that a congruent combination of scent and music, incongruent with the time of year, would yield negative consumer responses”.
This essentially means that although Christmas tunes improve the Christmas spirit of spending, timing is important. People don’t tend to get in the Christmas spirit unless it’s the holiday season. The holidays are a time for holiday music BUT too much Christmas music is a bad thing. There needs to be a balance.
Twisted Retail Christmas Music
To add a bit of balance, these songs are meant is to counteract all of those typical Christmas songs that are on repeat in malls. These are for those made cynical by mall Christmas soundtracks. Be warned there is some profanity in these songs.
Let’s start with a cover specifically talking about loot, which is a fun play on words when discussing music and retail. JT Music provides a cover of “All I want for Christmas is You” originally by Mariah Carey.
Bob Rivers’ “Wreck the Malls”, a cover of “Deck the Halls”, is the perfect song for retail’s Christmas. This cynical holiday song isn’t River’s only Christmas Parody. There’s also “Yellow Snow” (A cover of “Let it Snow”), and “Carol of the Bartenders” (A cover of “Carol of the Bells”).
This is a cover of the song “Walking In A Winter Wonderland” by Greg Orosz called “The Anti-Christmas Song”. The lyrics go, “The same Christmas Cr@p. I think I might snap if I hear another Christmas song”. This sentiment is shared with a lot of us.
Mitchell Moffit, Gregory Brown and Jon Cozart, provide an extremely cynical (and realistic) parody of several season songs. They sing about Trump, environmental unfriendliness, natural disasters, reindeer biology, qualia, and black holes with the ever so cheery Christmas tune.
“It makes me think about a certain special person. A special person that let’s be honest, Christmas is really all about.” Of course, that person is the actor Micheal Rapaport. James Corden and Sean Hayes sing this parody in his honour. Yep, it’s a parody for the actor that played in Friends, Atypical, The Heat, and Poetic Justice because what would Christmas be without Micheal Rapaport?
Here is “All I want for Christmas is you” a Trump cover by Maestro Ziikos, originally by Mariah Carey. And yes. It’s exactly what you think it is. And no. It’s surprisingly not as painful as you would expect.
How could a Weird Al Yanckoviche’s Christmas song not be added to this list? Here is “The Night Santa Went Crazy” a parody of “Black Gold” originally by Soul Asylum. This song describes what happens when Santa completely snaps.
Here is a song talking about the inconveniences of the winter season and that’s describing it mildly. This parody of the adorable My Little Pony song “Winter Wrap Up” is full of accurate hatred toward winter expressed with ponies and profanity. Seriously, there’s a lot of profanity in this song, so you have been warned.
Now this one is my all-time favourite because of my biased love for A Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack Skellington’s iconic song from the film, “What is This?” is a song about the wonder of Christmas with its lights, cookies, sweetness, and cheer. The parody, “The F*ck is This?” sings about the same topic but not in wide-eyed wonder but in cynical confusion.
Good morning to everyone except all you crazies who are already playing Christmas music.
— Sam Sanders (@samsanders) November 2, 2018