Nearly 30 years since the release of her perennial hit, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey is still cashing in from the holiday favorite. The song pulls in an estimated $6.1 million per year, according to a recent report, from combined publishing and master recording revenues.
Carey earns revenue from her modern evergreen classic through two streams: publishing, since she co-wrote the track along with Walter Afanasieff, and the master recording.
Globally, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” pulled in 823 million streams and 94,000 downloads in 2021 alone. That estimates $4.5 million in master recording revenue while publishing royalties generated another $1.66 million for a total of $6.16 million. Though, Carey didn’t collect this entire amount.
An estimated $1.55 million goes to Carey, and the rest, approximately $2.95 million, goes to her record company Sony. Since Carey and Afanasieff were co-writers on the song, their even cut is approximately $830,000 each —$747,000 if a 10 percent publishing administration fee is taken into account. Based on the 2021 figures, Carey pulled in an estimated $2.4 million in 2021 for the hit.
The estimated figures exclude any additional earnings from cover versions of the song, or revenue from the use of the song on television, film, soundtracks and the use of the song in other mediums.
“All I Want for Christmas Is You” continues to resurface on the charts each year around the holidays, and recently topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 2022 for the 10th week.
Released on Carey’s 1994 album Merry Christmas, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” first reentered the Hot 100 top 10 (at No. 9) in 2017, then jumped into the top five at No. 3 in 2018. It hit No. 1 for four consecutive years from 2019 through 2022.
In 2010, Carey re-recorded the song for her second holiday album, Merry Christmas II You, and again as a duet with Justin Bieber for his 2011 album Under the Mistletoe. Carey also released a new “Make My Wish Come True Edition” video for the single around the release of the the 25th anniversary edition of Merry Christmas in 2019.
On December 20 Carey’s annual Christmas special, her third since 2020, Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to All, aired on CBS. The special followed the singer’s short run of Merry Christmas to All holiday concerts in Toronto in New York City.
On writing the song, Carey remembers the lyrics coming to her while she was in Upstate New York. She had her Casio keyboard in tow, and was thinking about some of her favorite Christmas moments, and the things she wished she could have had as a kid.
“My Christmases weren’t great as a little kid,” revealed Carey in a 2019 interview. “My mom really tried but there were some other forces that weren’t really great, and we dealt with it, but I was just thinking, ‘How do I do this’ because I’ve always loved Christmas so much.”
Carey added that she didn’t want to accentuate any sadness around her childhood holiday memories in the song and instead created something more festive and timeless. “I just wanted to make it a festive moment,” said Carey. “I wanted to make everyone be like, ‘It’s Christmas, I’m going to be happy.’ What I did as a kid is that I pushed through the sadness and was like ‘If nobody else is going to be festive, I’m gonna be festive.'”
She added, “To this day if anyone ruins my Christmas I will never forgive them—ever.”
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