Mariah Carey is the undisputed “queen of Christmas”. Every December, the singer's 1994 hit All I Want for Christmas is You returns to public consciousness as a de facto festive anthem, still climbing up global charts more than a quarter-century after it was released.
No one understands the value of this phenomena better than Carey herself, who usually starts her publicity juggernaut a day after Halloween. Carey, who co-wrote the earworm with Walter Afanasieff, posted a video on Tuesday which showed her in a Halloween costume, complete with pointy witch hat, and pedalling an exercise bike.
The black-and-white video then becomes colour, and Carey, in a Santa outfit, screams “It's time”.
How many times has 'All I Want for Christmas is You' been streamed?
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 at No 1 in 2020, and then in 2021.
“I know it's corny, and I don't care,” she told The New York Times. “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.
In December last year, Carey announced the song had been streamed more than a billion times on Spotify.
Last year, she shared a new animated lyric video of the song, adding to the myriad iterations now in existence, including a duet with Justin Bieber in 2011.
She looks likely to dominate the charts again in 2022.
How much does Mariah Carey make from 'All I Want for Christmas is You'?
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 each 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.
“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 this year.
“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.”
— This story was originally published on December 23, 2021