The Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Corporation announced a record deal that may break all records. The details aren’t being announced, but reports say Sony Music has guaranteed the Estate as much as $250 million for the rights to release unheard recordings by Jackson, along with his existing catalog.
Sony will release 10 albums over the next seven years that will mix both Jackson’s greatest hits and unreleased songs. Since the pop star’s death in June at age 50, Sony has sold an estimated 31 million of Jackson’s albums.
Sony music is betting that the resurgent interest in Jackson will last a long time, much like his one time (but already deceased) father-in-law, Elvis Presley.
“It’s not just a record deal,” Rob Stringer, chairman of Sony’s Columbia/Epic Label Group told the New York Times. The new contract allows for Sony and the Jackson Estate to collaborate on licensing arrangements. The use of Michael Jackson’s music for films, TV, stage shows and other lines could prove to be extremely lucrative.
The deal with Sony was negotiated by John Branca and John McClain, who manage the Estate under the terms of Michael Jackson’s will. Jackson’s mother, Katherine, who has custody of his three children, had initially fought them in court, but dropped her lawsuit in November and said she was satisfied with their financial management. And that was even before they struck the biggest record deal in music history.
RBR-TVBR observation: It seems strange that the big record labels cry poverty to Congress when pleading for music royalty payments from radio stations, but yet somehow Sony is able to guarantee a quarter billion bucks to a single artist – and a dead one at that.