Mariah Carey Net Worth: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

mariah carey net worth


One of the best-selling and widely-recognized pop stars of all-time, Mariah Carey is also one of the wealthiest. The New York native is worth a staggering $535 million and is regularly ranked as one of the top ten richest pop stars in the world. Carey’s incredible five-octave range and signature ability to perform in the whistle register have made her a global star.

Mariah Careys Net Worth is $535 million

Carey burst on to the world’s stage in 1990 with her eponymous album Mariah Carey, becoming the first and only artist to ever have his or her first five singles reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. This is just one of the many records she and her music have set. She also holds the record (now shared) for the most weeks (16) of a single on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for her collaboration with Boyz II Men on “One Sweet Day”. Carey has been listed as the fifth greatest artist of all time by Billboard and is considered the best selling artist of the 1990’s. Her 18 number one hits and incredible sales numbers – as well as numerous records – made her, at one point, the best paid musical artist in history.

Carey’s long career has not been without ups and downs. However, despite a few flops, she continues to make music and rake in major cash. A widely-labeled diva (she once stopped a live television performance to ask for a cup of tea), Mariah has excelled into acting, producing, and television, broadening her fan-base and expanding her income over her nearly 30-year career. 

Here’s what you need to know about Mariah Careys net worth and how she makes her money:

1. She Found Fame and Fortune at a Young Age

Born in Huntington, New York in 1970, to a father of African-American and Afro-Venezuelan descent and a mother of Irish descent, Carey faced issues with her racial identity in the community and was separated from one of her siblings when her parents split at the age of three. The aspiring singer eventually moved to New York at age 17 and was introduced to Brenda Starr, an up-and-coming pop star. Starr, in turn, eventually introduced her to Tommy Mottola, the head of Columbia Records. He signed her immediately and Columbia Records set about positioning her as their main female pop star.

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A post shared by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on May 15, 2018 at 10:14am PDT

The label spent $1 million promoting her first album, Mariah Carey. Their efforts were not wasted. Though sales started slowly, the album eventually reached the top of the Billboard 200, staying on top of the charts for 11 weeks and garnering Carey two Grammy Awards as the Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Performance. The album produced four number one singles, making Carey the first and only to accomplish this feat in a debut since the Jackson 5. Even more impressive, Carey actually wrote “Vision of Love” (her Grammy-winning single) at the age of 17. The record would go on to be certified nine times Platinum.

2. She Was Once the Highest Paid Artist In History

Carey became the musical powerhouse of the 1990’s, following her first album up with Emotions, which went eight-times Platinum. She topped both of those with her third album, the world-wide smash Music Box, an album cementing her all-time status with sales of over 28 million. The Diamond-certified album topped sales charts in at least five countries outside of the United States and is one of the best selling albums of all time. Her chart-topping was relentless, after releasing the best-selling christmas album of all time in 1994, Carey dropped Daydream in 1995. This also went Diamond, selling 25 million records. It is considered among the best selling albums of all time.

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A post shared by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on May 15, 2018 at 10:15am PDT

After selling nearly 100 million records for Columbia Records, the pop star was signed to a $100 million record deal with Virgin Records. At the time, this made her the highest paid musical artist in history. The deal became one of the most notorious record deals in history, as Carey completed just one of the five agreed upon albums (Glitter, which was her worst selling and worst reviewed to that point). Eventually, EMI (Virgin’s parent company) paid her $28 million just to void the deal.

Carey has been nominated for 34 Grammy’s over her 30 year career and has won five. Her albums have made her an absolute economic powerhouse. Her albums have been certified Gold 16 times, Platinum 14 times, Multi-Platinum 10 times, and Diamond (over 10 million in sales) twice.  

3. She ‘s One of the Best Selling Female Artists In the World and Has Made $60 Million From One Song

Carey is one of the best-selling female artists of all time, with more than 175 million albums and singles sold worldwide. In 2000, she was presented the Millennium Award for the best-selling female artist of the millennium. Nielson SoundScan considers her the best-selling female artist since it began tracking in 1991. She has spent longer at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts than any other artist, an astonishing 79 weeks having The Beatles record of 59 weeks in October 1999.

mariah carey's net worth

GettyMariah Carey performs at the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018 on December 31, 2017 in New York City. Getty

She also holds the record (now shared) for the most weeks (16) of a single on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for her collaboration with Boyz II Men on “One Sweet Day.” This record was recently tied by the Spanish-language song Despacito, by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber. Just in case this sounds like a fluke, she is also tied for the second longest record at the top for her single “We Belong Together” which stayed there for 14 weeks in 2005.

Carey was the only artist to have scored a Number One hit in every year of the 1990s, and has had more Number One hits than any other solo artist in U.S. chart history.  She comes in second when groups are considered, to a small act known as The Beatles. With her 1995 album Daydream, Carey became the first female artist in history to have three albums that each sold more than 8 million copies. She also has the best-selling Christmas / Holiday album of all time, having gone quintuple Platinum for Merry Christmas. Her hit single from the album “All I Want For Christmas” alone has made her $60 million in royalties.

In total, Carey has released 14 studio albums, one live album, three compilation albums, three greatest hits album, one extended play album, and one remix album. Four of her albums have been certified as the top 100 best selling of all time. Even more impressively, Carey co-wrote and co-produced most of her music. In fact, she has written or co-written 17 of her 18 number one hits, more than any other female composer, and has produced 13 top songs, also more than any other woman.

Carey also has had a residency in Las Vegas on several occasions. Her first stint at Ceasars Palace netted her around $30 million. After a shorter interim run, Carey inked a two-year deal at The Venetian reported to be in the low eight figures.

3. She Made $18 Million on American Idol

mariah carey earnings

GettyMariah Carey performs onstage during 2016 VH1’s Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night at Kings Theatre on December 2, 2016 in New York City. Getty

Mariah Carey has long been involved in other endeavors beyond singing. She, as mentioned, is a prolific song writer and producer. Beyond music, she has acted in movies and on television. Not all efforts have been successful. Glitter, the movie and corresponding soundtrack that Carey starred in, performed so badly that Virgin Records actually bought her out of her $100 million record deal for around $50 million.

That poor performance didn’t stop her from making money on television. Carey was notably paid $18 million to be a judge on American Idol Season 12. She has also had more successful acting roles, appearing as a social worker in the movie Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Saaphire, winning Breakthrough Actress award at the Palm Springs Film Festival for the role. Carey has appeared in several other movies including “The Bachelor,” “The Butler,” and “The Lego Batman Movie.” In December 2016, the singer also launched “Mariah’s World,” a docu-series about her life. The mini-series lasted a single season.

4. She Has Extremely Expensive Taste

Carey has famously expensive tastes–she is a pop diva after all. Her engagement to Australian billionaire James Packer netted her a massive engagement ring. The 35 carat ring allegedly cost $10 million. She was also gifted a $320,000, 33.95 carat diamond necklace called “The Olympia”. She is often seen rocking a $40,700 butterfly diamond ring as well. Though the marriage failed, this did not stop Carey from enjoying the use of a $340,000-a-week yacht he surprised her with (not including the estimated $40,000 weekly cost for fuel and staff). The billionaire apparently stayed on his own yacht while she traveled (his yacht was, at one point, the 7th largest in the world).

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Hot tub moments #pondeboat ⚓️?

A post shared by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on Jul 22, 2016 at 10:46pm PDT

She is, in true diva fashion, known to travel in style. For her “Sweet Sweet Fantasy” tour, which took her to 30 cities throughout the world, she stayed in the Eiffel Suites in the Plaza Athénée in Paris, costing just $15,000 a night. When she wants to stay home she also has her share of choices. She once owned a $250,000 a month mansion in Calabasas, and still owns a $9 million penthouse triplex on Central Park West that she purchased in 1999. Recently, she purchased a 10,337 square foot, eight bedroom, four and a half bathroom Mediterranean-style home in Beverly Hills. She also owns a $200,000 Maybach and has posted several photos onboard private planes leased out by Zetta Jet.

5. Her Wealth Allows Her to Give Back, and She Does

Mariah Carey has long been dedicated to philanthropic efforts that are close to her upbringing and passions. She also donated $1 million to the non-profit summer program Fresh Air Fund to increase access to Camp Mariah, a summer experience built to provide opportunities for inner-city youth in the arts.

mariah carey net worth

GettyMariah Carey performs onstage during the AHF World AIDS DAY Concert and 30th Anniversary Celebration featuring Mariah Carey and DJ Khaled at the Shrine Auditorium on November 30, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Getty

In late 1993, she donated proceeds from her hit single “Hero” to those affected by the New York-affiliated Long Island Rail Road massacre. Carey also donates her starpower, performing at fundraisers for organizations like Human Rights Watch, Save the Music Foundation, Live 8, Shelter for the Storm (fundraising for Hurricane Katrina victims), and World Aids Awareness Day.