Giving the Gift of Digital Music Sales

During the holiday season, labels are tasked with how to spend their ad budgets most effectively. For most retailers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the key dates on their calendars. But what about advertising digital music? How should music marketers structure their daily budgets?

In order to answer these questions, we looked at US iTunes affiliate data from the 2013 holiday season, and evaluated the days where we saw the biggest spikes in total sales. Our findings should make any digital music marketer reconsider their plans for this holiday season.



  • Christmas Day was the highest sales day in the iTunes store, despite it not being a major release day.
  • Black Friday 2013 was a below-average sales day on iTunes for the holiday season.
  • Cyber Monday 2013 was the 3rd highest sales day in the period, but it coincided with a release day.
  • The 2nd, 4th and 5th highest sales days were all release days.
  • The week following New Year’s Day saw higher sales than the week following Christmas Day.
  • Insights

Most Wonderful Day of the Year:

For digital music, Christmas Day is what Black Friday is to retail brick-and-mortar stores. From our findings, sales on Dec. 25th, 2013 were 242% greater than an average day during the holiday season. Drivers for this could include:
Rapid Redemption: iTunes gift card recipients use their new found digital currency to buy albums and songs that day.
New Device, No Music: People receiving new devices as gifts are looking to load music onto them immediately.

Snowballing Trend:

According to Experian, iTunes saw an 82% increase in visitors on Christmas Day 2013
over 2012. iTunes experienced a 193% traffic increase from 2011 to 2012 on Christmas Day.


With a given holiday or end-of-year budget, concentrate on Christmas Day. Follow our recommended ways to reach the right audience on December 25, 2014:


According to Google, music-related search queries peak on Christmas Day. Keep your search budgets uncapped to account for the boost in traffic across devices.


People use Facebook to share their Christmas experiences and use Twitter to find out about trending topics of the day (TV, NBA games, movie releases, etc.). Put your sales message in front of fans where they’re spending Christmas Day online.


Reaching the most qualified consumers on the biggest day for iTunes traffic is a smart strategy. Target those who have interacted most recently with the artist or shown previous purchase intent for them.

Connected and Engaged:

Locate the fans who take the extra step of subscribing and engaging with your content and lead them to the next step: the iTunes store.

Gregg Tobin
Written By:
Account Director
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