Mariah Carey‘s holiday classic, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” is the gift that keeps on giving for its writers and label. In 2021, the master recording of Carey’s version of her song, co-written with Walter Afanasieff, generated 1.747 million song consumption units in the U.S., according to Luminate. Of that, 48,000 were from track downloads, 200 million came from on-demand audio streams, 52.5 million came from video on-demand streams and 24 million from programmed streams.
Combined, those plays and downloads generated $1.36 million for Carey and her label, Sony Music, Billboard estimates.
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Meanwhile, the song’s publishing, including mechanicals for the track from the physical sales of five Carey albums it appears on brought in another $378,000 last year.
However, the U.S. only accounted for 51% of download sales and 30.7% of on-demand streaming, so when you look at the song globally and take into account a total of 94,000 song downloads and 823 million streams, Billboard estimates that in 2021 the Carey master recording version of the song brought in almost $4.5 million, while its publishing royalties generated another $1.66 million. Combined, that comes to $6.16 million in global revenue and publishing royalties.
Of the master recording revenue, Billboard estimates Carey’s royalties at $1.55 million, which would leave Sony with $2.95 million.
As for publishing, she is one of two songwriters credited on the song —Afanasieff being the other — so if they each wrote 50%, that means that Carey’s share of the publishing would be $830,000. If she owns her publishing, after a 10% administration fee her take home pay would be $747,000. If she has a 75/25 co-publishing deal, her share would be just over $622,000; and if she doesn’t own the publishing on that song, her publishing royalties would be about $415,000.
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This estimate excludes cover versions of the song and the revenue from whatever financial arrangements were struck for Christmas TV specials and soundtracks from those television shows.
According to Songview, the joint ASCAP and BMI song database system, the publishers for Carey’s holiday staple are Beyondidoliztion and Universal Music Corp, both administered by Universal Music Corp., which probably means Universal Music Publishing Group; Sony/ATV Tunes Inc. and Tavla Vista Music, both administered by Sony Music Publishing; and Higpnosis SFH I Ltd, administered by Kobalt.
Since the business of Christmas music is growing so fast – it occupies five of the top 10 places on the Billboard Hot 100 this week – we are re-presenting some of our stories from Christmas past. This piece, about Jimmy Iovine’s “Pro tips for producing a hit Christmas album,” originally ran in 2019 As Christmas music compilations go, only two have stood the test of time: The first, 1963’s A Christmas […]
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