$200m Jackson deal is the most lucrative in music history
Posthumous contract eclipses $150m received by Jay-Z
Wednesday 17 March 2010
Michael Jackson fans will be given several new chances to expand their record collection while his heirs spend the next seven years moonwalking their way to the bank, after the singer's estate announced the richest recording deal in the history of the music industry.
The record-breaking contract will see Sony pay a guaranteed $200m (£132m) for the right to release 10 new Michael Jackson albums, video games and DVDs between now and 2017. If certain sales figures are met, the family of the late performer could eventually earn as much as $250m (£165m).
Those figures dwarf the previous highest sum advanced to a musician: the $150m (£99m) that Live Nation paid to sign Jay-Z to a 10-year deal in 2008. And they seem all the more remarkable given the parlous state of the music industry, which has seen album sales decline by 52 per cent over the past decade.
But like a modern artist whose paintings soar in value after his death, Jackson has become a hot ticket in the nine months since he suffered a cardiac arrest in Los Angeles as he prepared for a comeback tour at the age of 50.
More than 31 million of his albums have sold during that period. And the documentary film This Is It, which was largely filmed during the final weeks of his life, made $260m (£171m) at the box office, becoming the most lucrative concert film ever released.
Adding to Sony's enthusiasm for the deal is the discovery of a collection of material that was recorded by Jackson, but never released, over a period of more than three decades. It reportedly includes remixed versions of many of his most famous records, plus several completely new tracks.
An album of fresh new material is scheduled to hit the shelves in November, just in time for the Christmas shopping season, featuring a selection of tracks originally intended for Jackson's best-selling album Thriller, plus a duet with the singer Paul Anka.
After that, Sony is likely to release anniversary editions of Bad and Thriller, plus an updated version of his 1979 album Off the Wall, a DVD compilation of his music videos, and a Jackson-themed video game.
The company is also poring over live recordings made during the singer's lifetime, and reportedly has sufficient material for at least two concert albums. It also has the rights to produce live Jackson shows, and a Cirque du Soleil tribute is rumoured to be in development.
"This agreement with Sony Music demonstrates the lasting power of Michael's music by exceeding all previous industry benchmarks," said John Branca, a lawyer and co-administrator of the Jackson estate, who negotiated the deal. Sony will not have the right to sell lucrative Michael Jackson memorabilia, which for the time being remains with his estate.
When Jackson died, he was preparing to return to the stage, after an absence of almost a decade, in a bid to clear debts estimated at almost $400m (£263m). Income from the deal will be shared between Jackson's mother and his three children.
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Lucy Hawking: Stephen Hawking's daughter writes impassioned open letter to Katie Hopkins about rights of disabled people
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 4 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
The C-Word - review: Sheridan Smith shines in a warm, honest adaptation of Lisa Lynch's book about living with cancer
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 4 - review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils