Sell holiday singles online

People seem to have an insatiable appetite for holiday music. The radio stations start broadcasting it earlier each year. (I heard a Christmas carol the DAY after Halloween!) And Big Box stores and record stores alike have already stocked their shelves with the latest seasonal releases.

And while it’s too late to get a brand new CD widely distributed to physical stores in time for the holiday rush, you’ve still got time to record and release a digital single online. By doing your own take on a holiday favorite, you’ll keep your existing fans engaged and have a great opportunity to draw in new listeners who might be searching for that song title in iTunes, on Google, etc. Hopefully those new listeners will fall in love with your version and check out your original tunes too.

But which holiday song should you record, and will you have to pay for the rights to distribute it?

Here’s a list of some top Christmas songs that are in the public domain

You do NOT need to secure a mechanical license to sell these songs (though particular arrangements may be copyrighted — so be sure to do your research).

Christmas Songs in the public domain

* “Deck The Halls”
* “The First Noel”
* “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing”
* “Jingle Bells”
* “Joy To The World”
* “Come All Ye Faithful”
* “Silent Night”
* “The Twelve Days of Christmas”
* “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”

Here’s a few holiday classics that would require a mechanical license

To secure the mechanical license to distribute one of these songs, check out CD Baby’s cover song licensing partner Limelight.

Christmas Songs NOT in the public domain

*  “Winter Wonderland” (Written by: Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith)
* “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” (Mel Tormé, Robert Wells)
* “Sleigh Ride” (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish)
* “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin)
* “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie)
* “White Christmas” (Irving Berlin)
* “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” (Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne)
* “Jingle Bell Rock” (Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe)
* “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” (Johnny Marks)
* “Little Drummer Boy” (Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone)
* “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” (Edward Pola, George Wyle)
* “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram)
* “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” (Johnny Marks)
* “Silver Bells” (Jay Livingston, Ray Evans)
* “Feliz Navidad” (Jose Feliciano)
* “Frosty The Snowman” (Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins)
* “A Holly Jolly Christmas” (Johnny Marks)
* “Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)” (Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman)
* “Carol Of The Bells” (Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich)

Once you’ve recorded your holiday single and secured the rights to sell it, upload the track to CD Baby for worldwide distribution and we’ll make it available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Rhapsody, Spotify, Facebook,, and many more. Then, of course, be sure to announce the release of your holiday single on your blog, email newsletter, and social media profiles.

Check out “Top 10 tips to get your music selling this holiday season” for some other ways to spread the word about your holiday single.

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