Mariah Carey’s Net Worth Is All We’d Want For Christmas

The festive season queen has made serious money from her best known hit.

American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey posing in a multicolored sequin jacket and smiling
Getty Images/James Devaney

One of the most successful singers in the world, there’s really no end to Mariah Carey’s talents. From effortlessly deployed whistle notes and cutting one-liners to one of the greatest Christmas singles of all time, Carey’s mastered the lot. And don’t even get us started on the flawlessness of singles like “Fantasy,” “We Belong Together,” and “Always Be My Baby.” With Christmas rolling around again, Carey’s annual pay-day for “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is growing ever-closer, but the question is, just how does the artist make her millions, and what is her net worth?

5 Ways Mariah Carey Makes Her Money

Record Deals

When Mariah Carey parted ways with her old label record Sony back in 1997 — shortly after divorcing the company’s president Tommy Mottola — she walked away with around $250m (or £217m) according to The Wall Street Journal. Afterwards, Carey signed a huge five-year deal with Virgin, but left after a year with a severance payment of $28m (£24.3m), following the poor performance of her soundtrack album Glitter. She later ended up moving to Universal, where she made an estimated $7.5m (£6.5m) per album.

*That* Christmas Song

Charged with heartwarming, materialism-shunning sentiment, and hints of classic ‘60s pop, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” might’ve missed out on a UK number one back in 1994 (thanks to East 17) but unsurprisingly the genius single has endured as a festive favourite ever since. Written one blazing hot August by Carey and her collaborator Walter Afanasieff, the singer decked her house with Christmas decorations to get in the winter spirit, and the song is now a seasonal staple.

According to The Economist, Mariah Carey’s festive banger “All I Want For Christmas Is You” has scooped the singer a not-too-shabby $60m in royalties alone (around £52m) between its 1994 release, and their 2016 estimate. Artists earn royalties from things like radio plays, streams, adverts, and their music appearing in films and TV shows. And because Carey takes a leading role in writing all of her music, her royalty cut is an estimated 20%. It’s a much higher than average slice out of a whopping number of listens each year. Not bad at all for a song which apparently took 15 minutes to write.

Acting & TV Appearances

As well as being a talented songwriter and singer, Carey’s also tried her hand at acting putting in impressive performances in 2009’s Precious, 2013’s The Butler and — yes, you read this correctly — 2017’s The Batman Lego Movie. Though she was likely paid for all of these roles, Carey explained in The Meaning Of Mariah Carey that branching out into film was never about money. She also revealed that she was given just one day’s notice ahead of appearing in the Oscar-winning film Precious.

"I loved working on the film,” she said in the documentary. “My management at the time discouraged me from doing it, because it was last minute and low budget, but I knew it was a rare and exquisitely human story. It was also a creative stretch, which was artistically enriching for me. I was so proud to be involved."

American Idol, on the other hand, was a different story, and Carey was paid a reported $18m (£15.6m) to appear as a judge on 2013’s Season 12. Though as she later admitted on Aussie radio show Kyle & Jackie O, "that was the worst experience of my life… it should have been about the contestants instead of about some nonexistent feud [between Carey and fellow judge Nicki Minaj] that turned into even more ridiculousness. I would never want to be involved with it again.”

Brand Partnerships

On top of her creative endeavours, Carey started partnering with and endorsing brands in 2006. As well as her own products — ranging from perfumes and cookies to her liquor brand Black Irish — she’s partnered with everyone from Pepsi to McDonald’s. These kinds of partnerships can be worth tens-of-millions each. When Carey made a surprise cameo in a Walkers Crisps advert, for instance, she was paid a reported £9m.


As well as being a candid and often hilarious read that shed more light on the life of the legendary artist and her 30 years in the music business, Mariah Carey’s incredibly honest memoir The Meaning Of Mariah Carey likely bagged her a substantial advance, and is now a best-seller two years after its release.

What Is Mariah Carey's Net Worth?

£295.5 MILLION

Unsurprisingly, Carey — one of the best-selling artists of all time — is also one of the richest singers in the world. According to Celebrity Net Worth, she’s worth $340 million (£295.5 million).