How much money do stars make from Christmas songs each year? From Noddy Holder to Shakin’ Stevens

How much money do stars make from Christmas songs each year? From Noddy Holder to Shakin’ Stevens

Christmas is the time of giving… to pop stars who have had hits over the years and can count on a reliable windfall every December.

Artists can make thousands from their hits of yesteryear from songwriting royalties, Hugh Grant’s Will Freeman in About a Boy even found the proceeds enough to live on.

And even for artists whose careers have run dry since their festive hits (Jona Lewie, The Waitresses etc) Christmas can be the gift that keeps on giving.

Revenue can come from Christmas compilations, streaming services, physical sales, advertisements, use in film and TV, and cover versions.

George Howard, associate professor of music business and management at Berklee College of Music, told Marketplace that although Christmas records are released all the time (see the class of 2023 here) the oldies are the big earners.

“It’s no longer about new Christmas songs being released; it’s about them being recycled.

“It’s just a firehose of money. The more people who cover these songs, the writers make out like bandits.”

Here is a list of some well known names - although if you are looking for Mariah Carey, we felt the bonafide queen of Christmas deserved her own article.

Slade frontman Noddy Holder (PA Archive)
Slade frontman Noddy Holder (PA Archive)

How much does Noddy Holder make from Merry Christmas Everyone?

The 1973 glam rock Christmas number one, according to Performing Right Society in 2013, nets songwriter Noddy Holder more than £500,000 a year. However, later estimates from Channel 5 in 2016 have suggested that the song is now worth £1 million.

Holder, 77, has referred to the song as his “pension plan”.

How much do Roy Wood and Wizzard make from I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday?

Remarkably, the two most famous British Christmas songs (if we discount Fairytale of New York as Irish) were released on the same day in 1973.

Wizzard came off second best that time but the song has charted every year in the UK since 2007 and has already reached the top 30 in 2023 to earn songwriter Roy Wood a reported £200,00 a year.

How much does Shakin’ Stevens make from Merry Christmas Everyone?

Snow might not be falling but for the Welsh singer born Michael Barratt the sky rains money every year (sorry…) with Merry Christmas Everyone netting him £130,000 annually.

What is the highest-earning Christmas song?

Data varies as to which song has earned the most money since release, but we have put together a top ten based on the most recent information available.

The Pogues are tipped for a number one in 2023 after the passing of Shane Macgowan.

  1. Slade - Merry Xmas Everyone £1,000,000 a year

  2. Wham! - Last Christmas £470,000 a year

  3. The Pogues and Kirsty McColl - Fairytale of New York £400,000 a year

  4. Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas is You £376,000 a year

  5. Bing Crosby - White Christmas £328,000

  6. Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmastime £260,000

  7. Wizzard - I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday £200,000 a year

  8. Jona Lewie - Stop the Cavalry - £120,000 a year

  9. Cliff Richard - Mistletoe and Wine £100,000 a year

  10. East 17 - Stay Another Day £97,000