On Nov. 3rd, Mariah Carey released the 25th anniversary edition of her Merry Christmas album. The original release of this music proved to be history in the making, as “All I Want for Christmas is You” became one of the most popular Christmas songs of the 21st century. Carey is a Christmas music titan, her voice flooding the airways of every radio station.
Carey has remained popular for a very long time, while maintaining a relatively positive public image. During the live New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show in 2017, she was clearly lip syncing to one of her songs, and eventually walked off stage in the middle of a song because she was off. This caused a lot of people to question her legitimacy as a musician. Much of her career since has been proving herself as a musician.
While people’s opinions of Carey as a vocalist may have been stirred during that performance, nobody can doubt her skill as a businesswoman. She has manufactured herself as more than just a person. Mariah Carey is now her own brand. Her relevance in pop culture has adapted as culture has adapted itself.
I will not argue that Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas is anything less than iconic; however, the re-release of this album can raise some questions. In a time where all music is released digitally and is online forever, why publish an album again 25 years after its original release?
A possible explanation for the re-release of the album is a money grab by the artist. This culminates in multiple different opportunities for an artist to increase their wealth.
Carey knows the influence this Christmas album has had. Die-hard fans will buy the physical album as soon as it drops, and people who missed out on the original release of the album will want it to add to their collection. This is a tactic used by a lot of artists, but now that all music is released on Apple Music, Spotify or any other streaming service, the income for artists has changed.
Re-releasing the same music will increase an artist’s overall plays on streaming services and on YouTube. It will also save money on production, as none of the original songs are being re-recorded. Carey is a performer, but is also an entrepreneur. She knows how to make money and keep her name relevant, and that is exactly what she is doing with this album.
Carey is a businesswoman first and foremost. She has established herself as a brand, distancing the person Mariah Carey really is from the performer. This happens a lot in the entertainment industry. Sometimes it happens when artists have done something to damage their public image, but they still want people to consume their art. Carey experienced that to an extent, but her execution of the business perspective it spectacular. Not every artist that was big in the 90’s has a Tiktok account. She has made herself relevant for over 30 years, and will continue to be relevant for future generations if she continues adapting with popular culture.