Mariah Carey is the undisputed "queen of Christmas". Every year in December, the pop star's 1994 hit All I Want for Christmas is You returns to public consciousness as a de facto festival anthem, still climbing up global charts a quarter century after it was released.
No one understands the value of this phenomena better than Carey herself, who usually begins her publicity juggernaut a day after Halloween. This year, Carey, who co-wrote the earworm with Walter Afanasieff, posted a video on November 1, dressed in a glittery red dress and smashing pumpkins with the words "It's not time".
"Ready? Let’s go!," Carey posted
In 2019, the single, from Carey's first Christmas album Merry Christmas, topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts for the first time after 25 years. The song was back again on No 1 last year, and then this week.
"I know it's corny, and I don't care," she told The New York Times following the feat. "I don't need something else to validate the existence of this song. I used to pick it apart whenever I listened to it, but at this point, I feel like I'm finally able to enjoy it."
And it looks like the appeal of All I Want for Christmas is You is nowhere near fading.
On Wednesday, Carey announced the song has received more than a billion streams on Spotify.
Carey also posted a video featuring her twins, Moroccan and Monroe, 10, singing the song, accompanied by their dogs. Last week, she shared a new animated lyric video of the song, adding to myriad iterations now in existence, including a duet with Justin Bieber in 2011.
But how much does Carey make from the song?
A 2017 report from The Economist estimates that Carey had earned more than $60 million from the track between its release in 1994 and 2016. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the song earns anywhere between $600,000 and $1m in royalties every single year.
This makes the song one of Carey’s biggest international hits, having topped the charts in 26 countries. It’s also the bestselling Christmas single by a female artist, and one of the best-selling singles in music history, with an overall estimated sale of more than 16 million copies.
Streaming is additional revenue source for artists. Apple pays an average play rate of $0.01, while Spotify says artists are paid up to two-thirds of every dollar they make from music streaming, according to foxbusiness.com. However, it's unclear how much of Carey's streaming revenue is separate from her royalties.
Still, it's safe to say that Carey pockets millions every year from a song she wrote in 1994, which is now a holiday classic.
“If someone said to me, ‘What’s the lyric that stands out?’ To me in that song it is, ‘I won’t ask for much this Christmas, I won’t even wish for snow,’” she told parade.com last week. “Because when I first wrote that song I was very, very early on in my career and I was still thinking about childhood stuff when I did wish for snow every year. So, for me to, ‘I won’t even wish for snow,’ that really meant a lot. That’s a huge deal, I’m not going to wish for snow? That’s bleak. I don’t want to have a non-snowy Christmas.”
Watch the original version of All I Want for Christmas is You: