Sony makes record $750m purchase from Michael Jackson Estate

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John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Michael Jackson Estate will be celebrating today after a $750m deal was reached with Sony, which will see the company buy out Jackson’s 50% stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, as well as numerous other acquisitions and distributions. 

The sale will allow Sony to reclaim full publishing rights over a number of classic artists including The Beatles and Bob Dylan, as well as contemporary chart-toppers Eminem and Taylor Swift.

michael jackson $750m

This also means that Michael Jackson will now make more money than any musician in history this year, beating Dr. Dre’s previously held record of $620 million, which he received after a $3 billion buyout for his Beats by Dre audio equipment brand in 2014.  Jackson originally purchased the Sony / ATV catalogue for somewhere between $41.5- $47.5 million; an extremely large amount of money at the time of purchase (1995). Michael Jackson was one of the first artists to realise the lucrative potential of controlling the rights and back catalogues of artists.

According to CNN Money:

“Publishing rights give the owner control over how music and lyrics are used in radio, TV and film. AMC’s Mad Men, for example, reportedly paid $250,000 to use the Beatles song “Tomorrow Never Knows” in a 2012 episode.”

Forbes went a step further to contextualise how much $750m is in today’s music market:

“To put that $750 million sum into perspective, it’s more than the combined earnings of the world’s eight highest-paid musicians of 2015: Katy Perry, One Direction, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Justin Timberlake, Diddy and Fleetwood Mac. It’s more than double Oprah’s biggest payday of $315 million in 2010.”

The move is set to boost sales within the music industry, which has seen turbulent times over these past few years. “This transaction further allows us to continue our efforts of maximizing the value of Michael’s Estate for the benefit of his children,” the co-executors of Jackson’s estate, attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain, wrote in a statement. “It also further validates Michael’s foresight and genius in investing in music publishing.” Sony Corp. president and CEO Kazuo Hirai responded by stating that “This agreement further demonstrates Sony’s commitment to the entertainment businesses and our firm belief that these businesses will continue to contribute to our success for years to come.

Colin J McCracken

Colin J McCracken is a content designer, editor and writer from Ireland. Giving form and function to the My Good Planet vision, it has been his role to design and develop the online platform, content and presence of the project.

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