There is truly no better indicator that Christmas season is here than Mariah Carey telling us that it’s time. Carey and a fresh batch of hundreds of millions of streams for “All I Want For Christmas Is You” wasted no time in getting going the day after Halloween this year. Carey even announced a new holiday special and despite what the US trademark Office has to say, she is the bona fide “Queen Of Christmas.” So while it’s essentially impossible to leave the house in November and December and not hear “All I Want For Christmas Is You” everywhere you go, it begs the question: How much money is Mariah Carey making off of this song each year?
A new Billboard report tried to get to the bottom of exactly that. It showed that in 2021, the song, co-written by Carey and Walter Afanasieff, clocked 200 million on-demand audio streams, 48,000 downloads, 52.5 million video streams, and 24 million programmed streams in the US. That all generated $1.36 million for Carey and her label, Sony Music. But it doesn’t stop there.
Publishing rights to the song brought in another $378,000. Global streams brought the total spins to 823 million with 94,000 total downloads. Carey and Afanasieff’s master recording earned an estimated $4.5 million in 2021, plus $1.66 million in publishing royalties, making a grand total of $6.16 million in total revenue. Billboard surmised that Carey’s share of the masters to be $1.55 million with Sony getting $2.95 million (further proof that labels are even making far more money than Mariah freakin’ Carey.) Her publishing shares after admin fees, publishing deal and Afanasieff’s 50/50 cut (assuming that’s their share of the writing), comes out to around $415,000.
So in 2021, Billboard estimates that Carey made around $2 million from “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Of course, that doesn’t include royalties from covers, or any revenue made from her TV specials. So she can keep that cash register chugging from there and well beyond 2022.