Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Mariah Carey: “All I Want for Christmas” Comes But Once a Year, But It Accounts for Most of Her Yearly Sales


Who had the bestest Christmas of all? Why, Mariah Carey. Indeed, Christmas has become her cash register thanks to the 1991 hit she wrote with Walter Afanasieff called “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Produced like a lost track from the Phil Spector Christmas album with the Ronettes and the Crystals, the song has turned into an annual goldmine.

Last week, according to Buzz Angle, “All I Want for Christmas” had 17,600 paid downloads. But including streaming, sales totaled over 426,000 copies. Carey fans simply streamed and streamed the song into the gazillions, but when it was all distilled into a real number, the results were still pretty good. Billboard put the song at number 1 on its singles charts.

For Mariah, “All I Want” is a godsend. Like most legacy artists she doesn’t really sell records anymore. Buzz Angle says her total “song sales” for the last year were 350,000. “All I Want” and other Christmas songs account for most of it. Only 20,000 of that aforementioned 426K came from other songs– “Miss You Much,” “Fantasy,” and “We Belong Together.” If “All I Want” didn’t exist, Carey would be a blip in pop music sales.

And then compare “All I Want” to Mariah’s “Caution” album, her most recent release, from November 2018. In 2019 “Caution” has sold jut 46,000 copies. Only 17K of those were paid downloads or CDs.

But let’s be positive. Bing Crosby lived for eons on “White Christmas.” The Singing Dogs have just their barking “Jingle Bells” to their credit. Holiday time is big business for certain singers and songwriters. And so Mariah and Walter were really really smart when they concocted their little gift for the masses.

But the spell lasts just six days. Most of those sales came between December 20th and 26th, when the eggnog was flowing and maybe fans were sitting on their phones inadvertently hitting the play button. In the last two days, “All I Want” has sold just 583 copies, or 11,000 with streaming. New Year’s Eve is next, Christmas is a memory. But wait til next year!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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