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This Is How Much Mariah Carey Makes Each Christmas

"All I Want For Christmas Is You" is growing more popular—and making more money.

There's no modern Christmas song more popular than pop icon Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You." And Carey—not to mention her bank account—know that very well. Even though it was released in 1994, the song continues to top the charts every December, bringing listeners holiday joy while Carey continues to rake it in from the massive hit. But how much does Mariah Carey make each Christmas season from royalties?

As it turns out, that number is growing. In 2021, NBC News analyzed data for the song and found that it's only becoming more popular. For instance, in 2005, the song had above-average listenership only at the end of November and through December. In recent years, the song's popularity has extended past that: In 2020, there were days of above-average listens in October, all of November, all of December, and into Jan. 2021.

Read on to find out about the song's enduring popularity, and how much Carey is making.

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The song was released 28 years ago.

"All I Want for Christmas Is You" was a single off of Carey's 1994 holiday album Merry Christmas. The song was written very quickly—in as little as 15 minutes. Asked about this in a 2019 interview with Yahoo!, Carey said, "I don't know that it was exactly 15 minutes, but it was pretty quick."

Carey's co-writer, Walter Afanasieff, told the New York Post that because the song was written so fast, "It's definitely not 'Swan Lake.' But that's why it's so popular—because it's so simple and palatable!"

It's hugely popular every year.

Mariah Carey performs at the 81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting in 2013
James Devaney/WireImage via Getty Images

While "All I Want for Christmas Is You" was popular when it first came out, it has reached new heights in recent years. When it was first released, the song peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. But thanks to the rise of streaming and the song's increasing popularity, in 2019, it finally hit No. 1 on the chart.

The track went on to reach No. 1 again in 2020 and 2021—and it shows no signs of slowing down.

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That popularity means financial gain.

There's no way to know exactly how much Carey makes from "All I Want for Christmas Is You" every year, but we can make estimates based on the figures we do have.

According to a 2017 report by The Economist, the song made over $60 million in royalties since it was released. Of course, that was five years ago, streaming has only gotten more popular, and the song has now reached No. 1 three times—so that dollar amount would be significantly higher in 2022.

When it comes to streaming royalties in particular, Broadband Deals created a Pay Per Play chart that shows how much certain songs have made on Spotify. According to the site, Carey's song made over $2 million on Spotify off of over 500 million streams. The song has now been streamed over 1 billion times on the platform, which would add up to more than $4 million from Spotify alone.

Of course, no matter how much the song earns from royalties, Carey herself isn't pocketing all of it. But considering that the song is streaming on multiple platforms and is also purchased, performed on her tours, and part of her merchandise, it's bringing in millions of dollars annually, nearly three decades after its initial release.

Carey celebrates the song along with her fans.

Mariah Carey performing at the Beacon Theater in 2016
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Mariah Carey via Getty Images

She may have been denied the right to trademark "Queen of Christmas," but Carey still lives up to the title and celebrates the resurgence of her Christmas song each year.

Announcing the return of the holiday season this year, she posted a video of herself on Nov. 1 riding an exercise bike in a witch costume that suddenly changed to her wearing a Santa costume sitting on a reindeer. She sings, "It's time!" as "All I Want for Christmas Is You" starts playing.

When the song reached No. 1 for the third year in a row in 2021, Carey said in a voice note on Twitter, "This type of news, it's never like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm so bored of this news.' To have another Billboard Hot 100 with a song that means so much to me, I can't even. I can't. I literally don't know what to say."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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