Classic artists have turned a pretty penny in recent years by selling the rights to their music catalogs, but the Michael Jackson estate might set a new record if a new Variety report is accurate. According to the trade, those in charge of the late artist’s affairs are working to sell half of their interests in Jackson’s discography for around $800 million to $900 million.
Variety says Sony and a possible financial partner are negotiating to acquire 50% of the Jackson estate’s interests in a number of the artist’s sources of income, including his musical catalog, publishing, the MJ: The Musical Broadway show, and the upcoming biopic Michael.
Primary Wave Music reportedly already owns a stake in Jackson’s publishing, but it makes sense for Sony to push for its own piece of the pie. The company has been a major buyer of music catalogs in recent years, acquiring Bruce Springsteen’s catalog and publishing for $500 million and Bob Dylan’s catalog for around $200 million.
Sony was also Jackson’s record label for the duration of his solo career, and in 1995 the company established a joint venture with the musician to form Sony/ATV Music Publishing (which included Jackson’s share of The Beatles’ publishing). Following Jackson’s passing in his death in 2009, Sony moved to acquire sole ownership of Sony/ATV — which they finalized in late 2019.
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