Mariah Carey: Diva, pop star, legend.

What can possibly be said about this multi-talented and multi-hyphenate that hasn’t been said?

She does everything with her own, personal dramatic flair — and she manages to make it all look good in the process.

But more than just look good, Mariah Carey does good, as well. According to Essence Magazine, she ties none other than Elvis Presley for the artist who spent the most weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. She also is the artist with the most No. 1 debuts in history, and she trails only The Beatles for the most Billboard-charting singles in history. Her music is adored by everyone from fans to presidents, including Barack Obama, and she’s branched out into acting, as well.

Not bad for a woman who started out as a background singer for Brenda K. Starr!

With a five-octave range and an incomparable pop style, Mariah Carey isn’t just known for her music. She’s parlayed her success across a variety of industries, which has helped her amass a $320 million net worth, per Celebrity Net Worth. 

Let’s take a look at the wide variety of the diva’s business ventures.

Editorial note: The net worth listed in this piece is a speculative estimate drawn from a variety of online sources.

Musical Career

Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz

Mariah Carey is, of course, best known for her musical career. While she started out as a background singer, it wouldn’t be until 1990 that she would break out on her own with her self-titled debut album featuring timeless hits like the Grammy winning track “Vision of Love” and “Someday”. She was discovered by the former head of Columbia Records, Tommy Mottola — whom she later married and divorced. 

In December 2021, the RIAA reported that her infamous — and ubiquitous — holiday song “All I Want for Christmas” made history when it became the first holiday song to take home the industry’s Diamond Award, which is given in recognition of 10 million or more streaming units and sales in the United States.

Even though the famous Christmas tune was released in 1994, it wouldn’t be until 25 years later in 2019 that it became her 19th song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Having No. 1 in 2019 with ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ was a moment where I just sat there by myself at 3 in the morning looking at the Christmas tree lights and just really taking it in on a human level, because you work your whole life for something,” Carey shared with Billboard in 2020 after this accomplishment. 

From just “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, Carey has netted $60 million between 1994 and 2016, which averages roughly $2.6 million per year — with most of that accumulated during the winter holiday season. And that’s before including her licensing deals for holiday themed merchandise. But in years where Mariah hosts live performances of her iconic track, that figure skyrockets. To further solidify her place as the ‘Queen of Christmas’ Mariah Carey put out another Christmas concert tour in 2023.

And as Billboard reported, that’s far from the only accomplishment the diva has achieved. She’s the first artist to have a Hot 100 # 1 in four separate decades: the 1990s, the 2000s, the 2010s, and the 2020s. She has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, is the second-best-selling female artist of all time (behind Madonna, per the Guinness Book of World Records), and has the most number-one singles of all time (also per the Guinness Book of World Records).

Roughly 20% of Mariah Carey’s income is attributed to royalties along with lucrative advances on upcoming albums. This is because along with having an incredible voice and range, she’s also a songwriter — which allows her to retain significant earnings from her album sales and streams. Likewise, touring also pads the bottom line, and is why earnings can fluctuate from year to year. 


Acting Career

Courtesy of Aamzon

According to her IMDb page, Mariah Carey has made quite the splash as an actress, as well. Her most critically acclaimed role was, arguably, in “Precious ” as the social worker Ms. Weiss, where she only netted $50,000 for the role. She’s also starred in “The Bachelor” with Chris O’Donnell, Lee Daniels’ “The Butler”, “Glitter” and enjoyed several cameos in movies such as “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”, “Death of a Dynasty”, and “Girls Trip”  along with loaning her voice to “The Lego Batman Movie,” amongst other roles. 

But as the ‘Queen of Christmas’, holiday themed content is always fair game. Most recently, she collaborated with The Hallmark Channel to release her own spin on the brand’s ever popular Christmas movie franchises titled “The Keys of Christmas.” Mariah Carey has also hosted and executive produced several Christmas specials on Apple+, CBS, and The Hallmark Channel. 

It’s reported that Apple+ spent $5 million for her 2020 Christmas special and expanded the budget for the 2021 special. However, exact figures for how much Mariah took home from that budget are unknown. 

Las Vegas Residency

Photo Credit: John Shearer

In 2015, Billboard reported that Mariah Carey launched her first Las Vegas residency at Caesar’s Palace. She returned to Caesar’s in 2018, and the residency continued until the global COVID-19 pandemic shut down concerts.

Record Label

Photo Credit: Fox

In 2017, Forbes reported that Mariah Carey launched her own record label, which she called Butterfly MC Records. The label has a joint partnership deal with Epic Records.

'American Idol'

Photo Credit: Fox

According to Spin Magazine, Mariah Carey made $18 million to be a judge for one season of “American Idol.” The deal, according to the outlet, made her the show’s second-best paid judge, behind Simon Cowell.

Brand Endorsements


Courtesy of Virtual Dining Concepts


As AfroTech previously reported, Mariah Carey recently partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts to release her own line of Christmas cookies called Mariah’s Cookies.

But that was far from the first time the R&B diva endorsed various brands. Amazingly, according to Billboard, Mariah Carey didn’t get involved in commercials and/or endorsements until 2006 — and she reportedly refused offers outright until then. 

However, since she recognized that it was a lucrative opportunity, the chanteuse has lent her credibility and name to a wide array of items starting with Intel’s Centrino computers in 2006. But since that time, she’s accepted everything from a 9 million GBP, approximately $11.8 million USD, deal with Walker’s Crisps, a British potato chip company, according to The Mirror, to deals with Pepsi and Motorola per E! News. And she’s even backed Angel Champagne, an ultra-pricey bottle of bubbly that runs as much as $290,000 a bottle. 

One popular brand deal fans appreciated was her menu with McDonald’s. Although specific figures aren’t available, the Golden Arches has famously paid celebrities millions to create unique meal combinations fans can order off the menu. Insiders speculate that Mariah Carey earned anywhere between $1 to $10 million in 2021 for the release of her limited-time Christmas menu. 


Charitable Work

Photo Credit: Stephen Lovekin

Like many boss diva queens, Mariah Carey frequently gets involved with charitable work. Her charitable work goes all the way back to the beginning of her career in 1994, when she became an ambassador for the Fresh Air Fund, according to the Sun Journal.

What’s more, according to Billboard, she’s also donated the royalties from some of her hit songs — like “One Sweet Day” and “Hero” — to charitable organizations, including her own Camp Mariah.

Licensing Deals

Photo Credit: Emmanuel Dunand

Launching a brand independently can be risky — which is why many celebrities opt for licensing deals. In short, they lend their names to an established company who in turn creates branded products under the celebrity’s name. 

One of Mariah Carey’s first licensing deals was with Elizabeth Arden who released a variety of branded perfumes and fragrances. Similarly, she’s also lent her name to Claire’s and its sister store The Icing to release an accessory line titled “Glamorized.”

In 2010, WWD reported that Mariah Carey released what was then called a “lifestyle line” for HSN (formerly the Home Shopping Network). The line included shoes, handbags, and jewelry.

According to Fragrantica, Carey released thirteen branded fragrances between 2007 and 2013 under Elizabeth Arden. In fact, Carey’s fragrances are still sold through various online retailers, like Walmart and Amazon. More recently, Mariah Carey has returned to focusing on spirits with her own Irish cream liqueur titled ‘Black Irish’ as a nod to her Black, Venezuelan, and Irish ancestry. 


Real Estate

Courtesy of Mariah Carey

Throughout her career, Mariah Carey has owned a variety of homes across two coasts — and even an impressive mansion in the Caribbean.

In 2016, Architectural Digest revealed that she sold her home in Beverly Hills, California, for $9 million. The sale came after her divorce from Nick Cannon. Currently, she doesn’t own a home on the West Coast, preferring instead to rent a palatial mansion in the Beverly Hills district for a reported $35,000 per month, according to the outlet.

But Mariah Carey does own quite the glamourous triplex in Manhattan’s ritzy Tribeca district. Originally purchased by the singer in 1999 for a princely sum of $9 million, Closer Weekly reports that the four-bedroom, four-bath home in the historic Franklin Tower boasts nearly 6,000 sq. ft., which is palatial by New York City standards.

In 2008, Mariah Carey purchased a home on Windmere Island in the Bahamas. After she and Nick Cannon divorced, Variety reported that Carey put the home on the market for $5.5 million. Believe it or not, as of this writing, it still has not sold.

But what has sold is the couple’s Bel Air mansion, which was put up for sale in 2015. Carey and Cannon purchased the property in 2009 for $6.975 million, and it sold for $9 million, according to Variety.

Streaming Success

pictured: Mariah Carey
Dia Dipasupil

Even for streaming, a medium that inarguably pays a pittance per stream, Mariah Carey still wins. Considering that Spotify only pays $0.0037 per stream — yes less than a penny per play — MC still snags roughly 26 million monthly listeners on the platform each month. Translated to cold hard cash, that’s over $1 million per year just from Spotify. Meanwhile, she easily earns an estimated $0.01 per stream on Apple Music, $0.004 on Amazon Music, $0.008 per stream on Youtube Music, $0.0064 per stream on Deezer, and $0.0013 on Pandora.