Why Mariah Carey Is Facing A $20 Million Lawsuit Over Her Classic Christmas Hit

Mariah Carey in "All I Want For Christmas" music video (2019)
(Image credit: Columbia Records)

Mariah Carey has released more than a few notable hits over the course of her illustrious music career. There’s “Hero,” “Always Be My Baby,” and “Belong Together,” which earned her two Grammy Awards. But one of her biggest hits is without a doubt the holiday anthem “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” The catchy tune has become a music staple and is easily one of the most recognizable yuletide tracks ever recorded. It would seem the song has sparked a bit of controversy, though, as Carey now finds herself facing a $20 million lawsuit connected to it. 

Said lawsuit was filed by songwriter Andy Stone, who performs as Vince Vance for the country-pop band Vince Vance & the Valiants. Per legal documents obtained by The New York Post, Stone is suing the singer for $20 million in damages due to several alleged factors, including copyright infringement and misappropriation. Stone apparently wrote a song bearing the same title for his own band, and it was released in 1989. Though it’s worth mentioning that both tracks sport different lyrics and melodies. 

The suit, which also names Mariah Carey’s co-writer Walter Afanasieff, alleges that the pair “knowingly, willfully and intentionally engaged in a campaign to infringe [Stone’s] copyright in the work.” It goes on to say that this all happened at the expense of “the commercial gain, personal profit and unjust enrichment of the defendants and the irreparable injury and financial loss” of the plaintiff. The songwriter also claims that neither Carey nor her collaborator ever consulted him for use of the title. And while Carey’s song may be the more recognizable of the two, Stone asserts that his tune was getting strong airplay in 1993 – the year before the pop star’s track dropped. 

When Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” was released in 1994, it quickly became a smash hit. It earned numerous platinum certifications in different regions of the world and received acclaim from music critics. The song even hit #1 on the charts in 2021, more than 25 years after its initial release. The song is so infectious that even Carey is known to rock out to it at home. As of this writing, her reps have not commented on the lawsuit, which also states that Andy Stone’s lawyers contacted her in April 2021 to discuss the matter.

The tune has been incredibly lucrative for the musical icon as well. A report found that by 2017, the singer had earned around $60 million and by 2021, had likely amassed  close to $70 million in total for it. As you’d expect, the former wife of Nick Cannon also gets the royalties from platforms like Spotify, on which the song smashed multiple records

This isn’t the first instance in which Mariah Carey has dealt with a legal situation. In 2019, she sued her former assistant for millions, claiming that she recorded “embarrassing” videos of her without her knowledge. The case was eventually settled, but only time will tell how this latest situation plays out for the Free Guy-featured artist.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.