Madison, Wis.– January 26, 2016 – You could say that the Musicnotes 2015 Song of the Year is a sign of our musical times. The world’s largest downloadable sheet music retailer and publisher today released its annual award to the top-selling title of 2015. However, unlike previous years in which top-selling titles mirrored pop charts, this year’s #1 sheet music download wasn’t featured in Billboard or a big screen blockbuster. “Mary, Did You Know?” is a modern Christmas classic, written a quarter-century ago, that has been recorded by more than 30 genre-spanning artists, including stars Kathy Mattea, Rascal Flatts, Cee Lo Green and YouTube a cappella sensation Pentatonix.
The latter inspired more than 2,000 vocal groups of various sizes and types to sing “Mary, Did You Know?” this year, an indication of the rising digital choral score marketplace. In all, Musicnotes offers more than 40 arrangements of “Mary, Did You Know?,” from standard piano/vocal/guitar to accordion and everything in between. Musicnotes tallies sales across all arrangements of a song to determine the Song of the Year prize.
“Songwriters Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene penned a truly special song in ‘Mary, Did You Know?,'” said Tim Reiland, Executive Chairman of Musicnotes. “Musicnotes is proud to work with music publishers Capitol Christian Music Group and Word Music in offering this song to our worldwide customer base of more than five million musicians.”
The phenomenon of older music outselling its contemporary counterparts extends beyond the sheet music industry, according to Nielsen SoundScan’s year-end music report. The report details that ‘old’ or ‘catalog’ music (defined as released more than 18 months prior) outsold current releases by 4.3 million copies last year.
“Mary, Did You Know?” sheet music was joined by other evergreen titles including Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (1995), Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” (2011) and “Over the Rainbow” from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1938) on Musicnotes’ 2015 top-sellers list.
“Great songs have staying power and inspire musicians and audiences alike,” Reiland said. “We fully expect ‘Mary, Did You Know?’ to be performed and cherished looking out another 25 years.”