Singer Mariah Carey may have sung “All I Want For Christmas is You,” but she actually reaps around $2.5 million in annual royalties according to recent calculations from The Economist, while The New York Post put the figure even higher at around $3 million.
That’s in addition to the $60 million in royalties the singer had received when the song was first released nearly three decades ago in 1994. Appearing on her fourth studio album, Merry Christmas, the song became a global success and topped the charts in 26 countries.
Since being posted to the official Mariah Carey YouTube Channel in 2009, the video for the song has been seen 748 million times. Though it will still likely take another few years to reach the one billion views mark, it should be remembered that the bulk of the views are limited to the holiday season – while YouTube’s top music video, Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain” can still be listened to year-round.
The Gift That Keeps Receiving
“All I Want For Christmas is You” has also become one of the most covered modern Christmas pop songs. In 2011, Carey even re-recorded the song as a duet with Justin Bieber for his album Under the Mistletoe.
There are now literally dozens of covers.
Canadian singer-songwriter Michael Bublé released his own version in November 2011, as the lead single from his Christmas album, while artists such as Olivia Olson, PJ Morton, Dolly Parton with Jimmy Fallon, and Ceelo Green have been heard singing the holiday hit. It also appeared in the 2003 holiday film Love Actually.
A search on video-sharing service YouTube will also turn up dozens of other performances of the tune from artists including Fifth Harmony, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and My Chemical Romance.
A “Carpool Karaoke” version with The Late Late Show host James Corden and Mariah Carey has also been seen more than 53 million times since it was posted in 2016.
Top Streaming Song
Of course for many fans of the song, nothing beats the original, which explains why Ms. Carey continues to see those massive royalty checks roll in.
According to a VerizonSpecials 2022 report on the most searched holiday hits, the song retained the top spot for the second year in a row. It was the most popular song in the report’s list with 15 states and the District of Columbia searching for the song.
VerizonSpecials also noted that “All I Want for Christmas is You” has also become one of the top streaming songs on Spotify, where it has already passed the billion mark. As of the beginning of this month, it had been streamed more than 1.1 billion times.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Carey has long said that she had written the holiday hit on her Casio keyboard as a child, but this week her former co-producer and co-writer disputed those claims.
While appearing on the “Hot Takes & Deep Dives” podcast, Walter Afanasieff said that Carey, a chart-topping, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter had far less of a hand in writing the song. He also claimed Carey “doesn’t understand music,” and that the two came up with “All I Want For Christmas is You” together.
Afanasieff said the singer was still responsible for the melodies and lyrics, but that he took charge of the music and chords. Both Afanasieff and Carey are equally credited for the hit Christmas track.
Carey hasn’t responded to the revelations, but it isn’t the first time she has been called out for her holiday hit.
Earlier this year Andy Stone, who had co-written the Vince Vance & the Valiants’ country song of the same name, filed a $20 million lawsuit against both Carey and Afanasieff for copyright infringement, claiming that they never sought nor obtained use of the title.
That particular tune is now available on YouTube, but it has only been seen about 2.5 million times – still an impressive number, but not nearly the views of Carey’s, which continues to be the Christmas song to beat.