Lisa Alter Speaks to MarketWatch About Royalty Revenue as Christmas Classics Top Streaming Charts

Lisa Alter was recently featured in MarketWatch’s article “Why Brenda Lee may not see much money from her No. 1 hit ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,’” which dives into the resurgence of the 78-year-old artist’s 1958 Christmas hit, currently ranked #1 on Billboard.

Despite the song’s high rank on streaming charts, the article notes that Lee will likely receive limited royalty payments. This is due to several factors, one being that “the big money” in royalties typically flows to songwriters. Lee sang and recorded the song as a teenager, but it was penned by the late Johnny Marks, who was also responsible for the Christmas hits “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “A Holly Jolly Christmas.”

Another reason Lee may not realize significant financial gains after topping the charts is that her artist contract, forged at least 65 years ago, could not have accounted for today’s listening experience, and the rise of streaming platforms. Royalties on Spotify and other platforms are typically low, generating fractions of a cent, which is then further split between artists and their labels. As Lisa emphasizes, “It takes a lot of streams to make money.”

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