How Pentatonix Became Today’s Most Popular Holiday Act

Mariah Carey may have had the most popular song of the 2022 holiday season, but Pentatonix was its most-listened-to act. The five-person vocal group had 92 recordings in the top 10,000 holiday tracks and total consumption of 2.58 million song units, based on sales and streams from Nov. 4 to Dec. 22, according to Luminate — more than any other artist.  


While Pentatonix doesn’t have the same kinds of smash singles as Christmas-time mainstays like Carey, Andy Williams and Burl Ives, the group uses a combination of quantity and popularity to drive its seasonal success. Pentatonix’s top holiday track, a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” ranked No. 43 and accounted for about 10.5% of its total track consumption. Its cover of the David Foster-Jennifer Thompson-Jenner song “Grown Up Christmas List” ranked No. 187 and its rendition of the traditional songs “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Deck the Halls” were Nos. 189 and 191, respectively. Additionally, Pentatonix’s collaboration with Maren Morris, “When You Believe,” from the 1998 animated feature The Price of Egypt, ranked No. 188.  

While most artists are content with the occasional holiday release, Pentatonix has released four studio albums comprised mostly or entirely of holiday music since Oct. 2018: Christmas Is Here! In 2018, We Need a Little Christmas in 2020, Evergreen in 2021 and Holidays Around the World in 2022. In addition, the group released a compilation album, The Best of Pentatonix Christmas, in 2019. Some recordings from its 2012 EP PTXmas and its 2014 album That’s Christmas to Me remain popular to this day. In addition, each November and December, the group tours U.S. arenas to perform holiday music.  

Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” was once again the most popular holiday track with 1.29 million song units, narrowly beating the 1.24 million song units of Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” But Carey, the self-described “Queen of Christmas,” doesn’t have Pentatonix’s depth of holiday catalog. She ranked fifth in total consumption with 1.96 million units from 36 tracks within the top 10,000. Her second-most popular holiday recording, a cover of Darlene Love’s 1963 standard “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” ranked only No. 68. Her 2010 original recording “Oh! Santa” ranked No. 110 and her version of the traditional Christmas carol “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was No. 130.  

The No. 2 holiday artist was Bing Crosby with 2.43 million song units from 61 tracks in the top 10,000. Crosby’s top recording, “White Christmas,” was No. 13. “Hawaiian Christmas Song” at No. 38, “Winter Wonderland” at No. 63, “Silent Night” at No. 72, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” at No. 83, “The Little Drummer Boy” at No. 86 and “Do You Hear What I Hear?” at No. 95.  

At No. 3 was Michael Bublé, whose 25 recordings in the top 10,000 amassed 2.39 million song units. Bublé had numerous songs in the top 100, including “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” at No. 16, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” at No. 31, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” at No. 45 and “Holly Jolly Christmas” at No. 46. Bublé also stands out for having numerous recordings in the top 100 that are the second-most popular versions of the songs. (Burl Ives’ version of “Holly Jolly Christmas,” ranked No. 4 while Perry Como’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” ranked No. 10.) But Bublé is also notable for knocking off some holiday legends. His 19-year-old version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” ranks 38 slots above Bing Crosby’s historic recording from 1943.  

Nat King Cole ranked fourth in holiday music consumption with 2.1 million song units from 33 recordings in the top 10,000. Cole’s top recordings were his now-standard versions of “The Christmas Song” at No. 12 and “Deck the Halls” at No. 15. “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Joy to the World” were also in the top 100, at Nos. 51 and 82, respectively.  

After Carey at No. 5, artists in the top 10 were Andy Williams (1.84 million), Frank Sinatra (1.71 million), Perry Como (1.38 million), Burl Ives (1.37 million) and Brenda Lee (1.31 million). 

Glenn Peoples