How Musicians Can Stand Out with their Holiday Music using 360° Media

During the holidays people buy lots of gifts, albums, and merch, all while musicians are releasing folios of music by the gigabyte. There is a huge spike in music sales during the winter holiday season, and how to stand out & deck the halls amidst all of these ringing sleigh bells can be tough.

If you’re looking to bring to bring joy to the world with your next holiday album, you’re in the right place.

 
 Holiday music playing on Spotify on someone’s desktop.
 
“20% of industry-wide music sales take place in the last six weeks of the year, and 30% of all sales on CD Baby happen during that same period.”
Chris Robley, CDBaby.com

Best Selling Christmas Albums

of All time

There are many holidays in the winter season, though the overwhelming popularity of holiday music tends to be related to Christmas.

Here are the top 3 best-selling Christmas albums of all time, ranked by album sales:

  1. Elvis' Christmas Album / Elvis Presley ~ 10,000,000

  2. Miracles: The Holiday Album / Kenny G ~ 7,370,000

  3. The Christmas Song / Nat King Cole ~ 6,000,000

(P.S., Mariah Carey ranked 7th, with ~5,500,00 sales, as of 2016.)

 Christmas tree by a fireplace.

The popularity of Elvis and Nat King Cole into 2018 points to peoples’ love of tradition and the associated nostalgia with holiday music.

Despite this, each year musicians all over the globe re-record popular Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s themed music in order to give fans a new taste of their beloved favorites with new songs sprinkled in.

Given how popular the old tunes are, musicians with their marketing campaigns need to really let it snow and stand out to avoid being drowned out by incessant Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey replays (no disrespect to their successes).

“Christmas music sells well because people are always looking for something new, but with the familiar seasonal vibe. It’s also a time of the year people are willing to spend money. But don’t get greedy and think you can throw together some holiday recordings and call it an album!”
Cameron Mizell, Professional Holiday Guitarist

360° Interactive Album Art for the Holidays

Could you imagine if Mariah Carey had used a 360° design for her Christmas album covers & some of her promotional materials? Sure, her “All I Want for Christmas is You” was released in 1994, eventually becoming the best-selling Christmas single in the US with 3.2 million digital downloads, but let’s pretend 360° would have been possible then.

“According to researched complied by 3M, the corporation behind Post-it Notes, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, which means you can paint a picture for your audience much faster with an actual picture.”
Rachel Gillett, Fastcompany.com

Using this unique 360° album cover in her holiday marketing campaign would bridge the gap between her fans and her creative personality.

As album art gets swept up in the blur of other media (especially as streaming continues to dominate), 360s are a chance to stop people in their scroll.

With 360° holiday albums, fans are given new points of discoverability on social, while getting one step closer to favorite artists in the similar vein of watching interviews or waiting for autographs. Interactive content, like 360, makes the music and fan-artist connection that much more real.

Plus, in today’s day & age, visual-based content is more popular online & on social media — and this holds true for successes in marketing campaigns, event promotion, with memory recall, and audience education.

Did you know: people retain 80% of what they see versus only 20% of what they read.

360° Holiday Albums — an Example

While this is a very simplified version of the possibilities of 360° album art, it still allows fans to interact and experience a 360° space. In terms of expansion, the above 360° holiday artwork could easily have more clickable graphics, links to music videos or social profiles, the artist’s winter photo shoot pictures, guitar up-tilted in the classical style, and more within it.

P.S., Every 360° we create is tailored specifically to the artist at hand, whether that means designing an entire 360° world from graphics, using a collage of pictures, or some other combination.

Spotify Integrations

With the 360° holiday graphic (above), you may have noticed the waveforms under the “Happy Holidays” text.

When you open the Spotify app, you can can scan the pictured QR code to listen on Spotify to a linked holiday playlist. Try it out! Go into the Spotify search bar in the mobile app, and use the camera to scan the code in our 360 above, and — voilà! hear those sleigh bells ring, la la laaa.

 View of using the Spotify mobile app to scan the QR code within the 360° photo.

View of using the Spotify mobile app to scan the QR code within the 360° photo.

Spotify + 360° for Marketing Campaigns

Artists can readily use this QR-code plus immersive 360° world to deliver incredibly in-depth media to fans online & on social media.

In turn, musicians can drive traffic directly to their music on Spotify, to their website, music videos (with other links), and to their social profiles, all within the wrapping paper of unique 360° art unlike anything fans have ever seen.


Benefits of Interactive 360° Album Art

Musicians can catch people’s attention and hold it around the holidays by incorporating 360° interactive album covers into their brand offerings and marketing mix. This is a time when advertisers are upping their games and people expect to see different types of ads and are paying closer attention to purchase-able content.

Interactive content is shifting the paradigm of digital and in-person interactions. Instead of idly scrolling, mobile and desktop-users give direct, personal input to what they’re seeing online with immersive 360° photos & designs. This forms deeper connections, memories, and associations unfound anywhere else.

360° Album Art as Art

360° album art fits in with artists’ musical styles distinctly, and is not so separate from their art when used as a marketing tool compared to traditional 2D graphics & marketing media.

 Picture of a snowman outside in winter.

People will be much less likely to view 360° promotionals as advertisements as they aren’t as much an ad as they are another piece of art that the musician is sharing (for free) with their audience.

This can be used to pique interest to their latest promoted holiday album, concert, or whatever they wish. This is not about deception, but about delivering unique experiences for people online in an authentic way.

The Persistence of Memory

People play Christmas music and holiday songs on repeat as the autumn leaves begin to dwindle. Many choose to return to the same holiday albums and holiday music playlists by default, associating their harmonies with the winter mood, cinnamon and pine smells, being with family, the mingling of their favorite artists’ voices, etc.

Christmas-music-outdoors.jpg

Within these sensory memories people probably don’t think much of the cover of the CD they know & love. With a more artistic album cover (interactive in 360°) musician’s holiday music can be remembered not only for their musical aspects but for the immersive visuals, too.

In some cases, how someone may have discovered a particular Christmas song or New Year’s playlist could be through their engagement with an interactive holiday 360. (Especially when you can scan Spotify codes directly from the 360° space, taking viewers to playlists/albums/etc.)

360s aren’t crazy sensory, though it will be (as a side note) interesting to see how they develop and really let it snow in coming years to engage the senses in an increasingly comprehensive way.

360° Album ARt on social media

As with Google Street View, engaging with a 360° graphic gives fans a chance to try before they buy, whether that purchase is an album, tickets to a winter concert, merchandise, or something else.

 360° holiday albums just in time for the winter season!

Social media is a place where people spend a decent section of their days. During the holidays, musical discoverability fits perfectly into this equation as people actively search for things to buy and share.

As holiday shopping and media discovery occurs increasingly on social, it’s reassuring to know your 360° album art is going to perform well and draw crowds. 360° album covers & album art put fans one step closer to their favorite artists, while offering an authentic experience for little cost.

Visual content is now 40x more likely to be shared on social networks.
Fastcompany.com

What you can do with your 360° holiday album in marketing campaigns:

  • Share across all major social media platforms & really rock around the Christmas tree

  • Run paid ads on Facebook (360s work extremely well for this)

  • Post on your website

  • Send out as part of a press release or within a blog

  • Pair with music video releases during the most wonderful time of the year

  • Drive engagement for events, album releases, new merch, and more!


Looking for crisp, interactive visuals for your upcoming album release or music marketing campaign? Let’s get in touch.