Michael Jackson Estate Signs Contract for $250 Million Landmark Deal With Sony Music
Yesterday, Today & FOREVER the KING of Pop & again I say Who’s "BAD"???
Michael Jackson was, is and will most probably always be the best selling artist ever. From the first to earn $100 million in a year, to the highest paid entertainer of all time ($125 million 1989 Forbes List), less than a year after his death, his estate and Sony are signing the most lucrative recording
contract in HIStory.
His estate has agreed to a seven year contract with Sony Records worth an estimated $250 million ($200 million minimum).
Through the contract the record label will have access to Michael’s
back catalog granting them permission to release unreleased music from
the King of Pop. The contract calls for the release of a total of ten projects with both new and special editions of old music with bonus and LIVE material. Their partnership has already earned more than $260 million from his “This Is It” movie.
“This agreement with Sony Music demonstrates the
lasting power of Michael’s music by exceeding all previous industry
benchmarks,” said John Branca, the attorney who is an administrator of the
Branca went on to say, "If you look at Elvis and the Beatles, and how their brands are
thriving, they only hint at what the future holds for Michael. We and Sony feel that the future for Michael Jackson is unlimited."
Jackson, who died at age 50 last June 25th, was the
top-selling U.S. artist of 2009, with more than 8.3 million albums
purchased according to Nielsen SoundScan, 31 million worldwide. In the week following his
death, the singer had the three best-selling albums in the U.S. New
sales of “Thriller” pushed it to the top of the best-selling album of all time list, with
more than 29 million copies, according to the Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA).
“Michael has always been a treasured member of the
Sony Music family. We’re dedicated to protecting this Icon’s legacy and
we’re thrilled that we can continue to bring his music to the world for
the foreseeable future,” said Rob Stringer, chairman of Sony’s Columbia Epic
Label Group. Stringer went on to describe the deal as a landmark for the recording
industry saying, "The audio rights span across different projects.
There may be theater. There may be films and movies. There may be
computer games — or multimedia platforms that I don’t know about today
that will happen in 2015."
The first project featuring
unreleased music is expected for release in November 2010.
By LINDA DEUTSCH and RYAN NAKASHIMA
LOS ANGELES — The man who spearheaded the record-breaking deal in
which Michael Jackson’s estate will get up to $250 million in the next
seven years said Tuesday that Sony Music Entertainment bought a
treasure trove of new Jackson music, some of it recorded "quite
recently," some in collaboration with other artists.
who negotiated the deal along with co-executor John McClain and team of
attorneys, was clearly elated about the deal. He said in an interview
with The Associated Press that this is only the first of more deals
that will bring Jackson’s music to his fans and introduce it to a world
of potential new fans.
"The remarkable thing is to make the
biggest deal in history in a market with declining record sales. It’s a
pretty big thing," Branca said. "It’s a testament to Michael’s
incredible talent and his music. It’s really an honor to be part of
He added that "there’s more to come" but declined to
Branca is the lawyer who met the superstar singer
when both were young men and is seen as the architect of Jackson’s
financial empire. They worked together for 30 years.
He and John
McClain, a lifelong Jackson friend and music producer, are
co-administrators of the Jackson estate. The estate has benefited from
their deal to release the movie, "This is It," compiled from footage of
rehearsals for a series of concerts that was in preparation when
Jackson died last June at age 50.
Branca said he is convinced that Jackson would be delighted with the results of their negotiations.
McClain said it best," Branca said. "He said that Michael probably
wouldn’t have wanted ‘This is It’ released because he was such a
perfectionist and it was rehearsal footage. But if he had seen that we
could get $60 million for his mother and children and it became the
biggest concert movie of all time, he would have said, ‘Thank you very
He said he has not heard all of the 60 plus songs
discovered by McClain but he said what he has heard is "classic Michael
Jackson." Among the songs are two recordings that were never released
that he made for charity with other stars. There are also songs he
recorded for his famous albums that were never included in the final
"Michael had a tendency to over-record," Branca said.
"He would record 20, 30, 40 songs for one album. These are the vintage
The recent material was recorded within the last three
years. The old and the new are likely to be combined on some of the
albums to come, he said.
recorded material, he said Jackson left more songs that he composed but
that don’t have his voice on them. They would not have the same value,
When he died, Jackson left recorded music including
studio sessions from some of his most-popular albums and recently
recorded songs made with the likes of Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am.
noted that Jackson did not release a huge number of albums in his
lifetime and his last one was nine years ago. He said the legacy of
unreleased material is far more than what was left by Elvis Presley. He
said Jackson’s fan base is also larger, stretching around the globe.
is one of the most recognized figures in the world, along with Muhammad
Ali," said Branca. He noted that two-thirds of record and movie ticket
sales for "This is It" were outside the United States.
deal officially announced Tuesday, Sony has guaranteed Jackson’s estate
$200 million for 10 projects over the next seven years. If certain
conditions are met, the payment could rise to $250 million.
Jackson’s death, McClain has combed through boxes of tapes and
recordings Jackson left behind. McClain and Branca each stand to make 5
cents on every new dollar of revenue brought into the estate.
Jackson’s own two-disc set that accompanied
the concert rehearsal footage in "This Is It" has sold 5 million
copies, and it had only one new song. That was the title song, which
Jackson wrote around the time the "Thriller" album was
becoming a smash hit.
With the album selling for $10 to $14, the
revenue generated from sales is already well beyond the tens of
millions of dollars needed to cover the per-project guarantees Sony is
from well-established artists have other advantages. An older fan base
is more accustomed to buying whole albums than are younger fans
familiar with free song-swapping online. A long sales history also
makes it easier to evaluate what catalogs are worth.
unusual for a deal like that not to make money for a distributor," said
Lawrence Kenswil, an entertainment attorney at Loeb & Loeb in Los
Angeles and former executive with Universal Music Group. "It’s a safer
bet than betting on the future of unknown artists."
the unreleased material comprises, the Sony deal suggested that
repurposing Jackson material across several formats — from DVDs to
video games — will be of particular importance.
AP Entertainment Writers Jake Coyle in New York and Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music Renew 30-Year Relationship With Landmark Recording Deal
NEW YORK, March 16 /PRNewswire/ — Special Administrators for the Estate of Michael Jackson, John Branca and John McClain, and Sony Music will continue the label’s 30-year relationship with Michael Jackson and his music with a landmark recording deal, it was announced today.
this new agreement, Sony Music’s Columbia Epic Label Group and Legacy
Recordings will continue their term of rights to his catalog and also
create new projects for Michael Jackson
featuring the never-before-released Jackson recordings. The first
project featuring unreleased music is expected for release in November 2010.
Chairman of the Columbia Epic Label Group comments, "Michael has always
been a treasured member of the Sony Music family. We’re dedicated to
protecting this icon’s legacy and we’re thrilled that we can continue
to bring his music to the world for the foreseeable future."
comments, "During his life, Michael’s contracts set the standard for
the industry, reflecting his unique vision and talents that inspired
and excited people in every corner of the world. By all objective
criteria, this agreement with Sony Music demonstrates the lasting power
of Michael’s music by exceeding all previous industry benchmarks. Each
new generation produces countless new fans who appreciate Michael’s
artistry, requiring a partner that has Sony’s wherewithal, business
acumen and foresight to properly and respectfully showcase his genius
well into the future."
a solo artist with Epic Records spanning three decades, Michael has
sold hundreds of millions of records worldwide and released thirteen #1
singles. Jackson became one of a handful of artists to be inducted
twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won 13 Grammy Awards and
received the American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award. Sony’s
Legacy Recordings has also created a number of successful projects such
as the "Thriller" 25th anniversary album. The best selling album of all
time worldwide by wide margin, "Thriller" showed the lasting power of
Michael’s music by returning to #1 on the weekly sales charts in 2008.
comments, "Nowhere did Michael set the bar higher than he did with
‘Thriller,’ which nearly three decades after its release by Epic
remains by far the best-selling album in history worldwide with music
that transcends generations. We believe we have a partner in Sony that
knows and appreciates Michael’s artistry as well as the passion of his
fans. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Sony to
preserve and enhance his remarkable musical legacy."
This past fall, Sony Music released the #1 two-disc album companion to the motion picture Michael Jackson‘s This is It
" which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Released by Sony
Pictures, the film made history as the highest grossing concert film of
all time and the recently released DVD took the #1 spot in DVD sales,
breaking the record for first-week’s sales of a music film.
Michael Jackson Gets Thriller of Deal To Stay With Sony
By RANDALL ROTHENBERG Published: March 21, 1991
In what may be the most lucrative arrangement ever for a recording
artist, the Sony Corporation announced yesterday that Michael Jackson,
the pop-music icon of the 1980’s, had entered into an
agreement to create feature films, theatrical shorts, television
programming and a new record label for the Japanese conglomerate’s
American entertainment subsidiaries.
Mr. Jackson, whose albums "Thriller" and "Bad" were the two
biggest-selling records of the past decade, also agreed to extend by
six albums his existing contract with Epic Records, a Sony subsidiary.
Neither Sony executives nor representatives of Mr. Jackson would say
how much the singer will receive under the agreement, which had been in
negotiations for six months. However, Sony officials said the company
could realize $1 billion from retail sales of the various Jackson
The deal could be a prototype of the multi-media arrangements star
performers can now demand and receive from the giant
information-and-entertainment conglomerates that have been created
through mergers and acquisitions during the past several years.
Entertainment industry executives and analysts said, in fact, that to
keep the 32-year-old Mr. Jackson, who had reportedly made rumblings
about leaving for another label, Sony had no choice but to allow him to
produce his own records and films.
"He doesn’t need the money; this is the guy who owns the Beatles’
music catalogue," said Emanuel Gerard, a communications analyst with
Gerard Klauer Mattison in New York. "What we’re dealing with largely is
his ego. And from Sony’s standpoint, no matter what, they could not
afford to have Michael Jackson signed away from them."
A senior executive of a rival entertainment company, who spoke only on
condition that he not be identified, said: "My reading is that they
were close to losing Michael Jackson. So you start by saying, ‘What do
you have to do to keep him?’ He doesn’t need the money. So you say we
have this fantastic company that has all these avenues for you. Give us
your albums and you can do movies, TV shows."
Neither Sony executives nor representatives of Mr. Jackson would
comment on the negotiations, and a spokesman for Mr. Jackson said the
singer would not talk. But Michael P. Schulhof, the president of Sony
Software, the Sony division that includes its entertainment
subsidiaries, said the deal was viable simply because of Mr. Jackson’s
"This is the first example where we have been able to combine interests
in both film and records," said Mr. Schulhof, 48, who is directing
Sony’s efforts in multi-media packaging. "Because Michael Jackson is a
multifaceted entertainer, we felt this was the first time we could
attempt it. If this transaction works as we anticipate, it might very
well be the forerunner of a new kind of entertainment deal."
Mr. Schulhof said the contract with Mr. Jackson was the first
involving a performer with Sony Software, rather than with Columbia
Pictures Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment or one of the
company’s other entertainment subsidiaries.
Industry executives who have followed the negotiations said the
contract called for Mr. Jackson, who is already the highest-paid
performer in the record business, to receive an advance higher than the
$18 million he was reported to have received for the final record of
his current contract. That would mean that Mr. Jackson would be paid
more than $108 million for the six new albums alone, on top of whatever
he might receive for the movies, television shows and records he might
produce, write or star in.
Under the terms of his deal with Sony Software, Mr. Jackson will star
in his first full-length feature film, which will be produced by one
such subsidiary, Columbia Pictures Entertainment.
Many features of the new contract appear to be speculative. For
example, while Sony executives publicly said they expect the
forthcoming movie to be the first of many with Mr. Jackson, one
executive who would speak only on condition that his name not be used,
said the current agreement only called for one film. Executives also
said that the script for his forthcoming movie was not yet completed
and that a director had not yet been signed.
Mr. Jackson will also establish a new company, the Jackson
Entertainment Complex, in a 50-50 joint venture with Sony Software. The
new company is producing Mr. Jackson’s new album, which Epic will
release in June or July, said Sony Music Entertainment,
and will produce a series of short films for theatrical and music-video
release based on songs from the album.
Mr. Jackson is currently negotiating with Sir Richard Attenborough,
who made "Gandhi," and Chris Columbus, the director of "Home Alone," to
direct two of the short films, Sony said. Other
potential directors include David Lynch, the creator of "Twin Peaks,"
and Tim Burton, the director of "Batman." Creating New Record Label
The singer is also creating a new record label, called Nation Records,
under the auspices of the Jackson Entertainment Complex. With it, he
will be developing new, young and budding talent, and he will be the
magnet to attract superstars to leave their current recording company
to come to Sony.
Some analysts suggested that Sony might be taking a large risk in
assuming that Mr. Jackson’s popularity will extend from records to
But Sony’s competitors in the entertainment industry were not so quick
to criticize the deal. "I don’t think you’d ever bet against Michael
Jackson," said Joe Galante, the president of RCA Records.
The 1991deal was derailed by an abundance of extenuating circumstances; past differences with an ex Sony boss, nonstop persecution, numerous lawsuits, trials and tribulations. However, according to the most recent new contract with Mr. Jackson’s estate , many of the things that Michael wanted to do have and will still come true… even starring
in his first full-length feature film, albeit 18 years later and after his passing…
no telling how many more records he wrote , produced and/or did
background vocals with secretly for other Sony artists during those
times when he was seemingly inactive or in isolation. A few things
that he was suspected to have been involved in prior to the ’91 contract have already come to the
light; a video game and and he sang background for the Doobie Brothers
(Minute by Minute and What A Fool Believes).
It won’t surprise me to see many more such secrets revealed in the
future. Michael’s music has always been a winner for new media as well. In a word, destiny; all the things that God ordained for Michael to fulfill shall come to pass, even though he’s gone.