Here's How Much Mariah Carey Has Earned for 1994 Classic 'All I Want for Christmas Is You'

Mariah Carey may have written "All I Want for Christmas Is You" in just 15 minutes almost 25 years ago, but the holiday bop has raked in some serious cash for the diva.

The 1994 song, which as of 2018, is the highest-charting Billboard Hot 100 holiday song in 60 years, has earned the former American Idol judge more than $60 million in royalties since its release, The Economist calculated recently, earning upwards of $500,000 in royalties every year in the UK as well as licensing fees from services allowed to stream the song.

And while the song became a classic track for the holiday season almost instantly, there was a fair share of drama surrounding it, as co-writer Walter Afanasieff recently revealed in an interview with Radio Times.

"We had a falling out," he admitted of his relationship with Carey. "I would have hoped that in 20 years, she would have knocked on my door — but she hasn't, so..."

The end of their relationship appeared to be tied to the end of the Glitter star's first marriage to music executive Tommy Mottola in 1997.

"I was under an exclusive contract with him," Afanasieff said. "So, she left the building — she wasn't even on the label anymore — but I couldn't go and work with her because he wouldn't let me. So she found that to be a little bit of a slap in the face."

He added that while he was allegedly vital in the composition of the Christmas tune, he isn't often credited with his work on the song.

"She doesn't like to acknowledge other people," he alleged. "It seems to be a problem with singers. If you see a singer talking about something that they wrote, they will probably say, 'I wrote the song when I was 12 years old, or here's another song I wrote.'"

"It doesn't matter how many interviews she's done or when she's on stage, she'll never, ever say, 'Here's the song that I wrote with Walter,'" he continued. "She's made it her modus operandi [not to mention my name]. We wrote the song together; my name is 50 percent, her name is 50 percent. We have equal shares."

Afanasieff claims he doesn't hold a grudge against Carey, but said the collapse of their relationship weighs on him.

"I love Mariah Carey," he said. "She's the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Unfortunately, it doesn't go both ways."


He added of his relationship with Carey, as well as other singers, "If you start working on a song with another singer, the jealousy comes out. They're very, very jealous people. So, I was working to put food on my table. I can't only work with Mariah, I have to work with other people, and I think that was a bit of a problem."

Photo credit: Getty / Samir Hussein