Sony Made Record-Breaking Deal For Michael Jackson’s Music Catalog

Kate Brown
Sony just bought Michael Jackson's lucrative music catalog--including music from The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and even Taylor Swift and Eminem--for a whopping $750 million.

michael jackson

Michael Jackson’s estate, along with Sony Music Entertainment, has just announced that they agreed to a $750 million deal to sell Jackson’s music catalog.

Back in 1995, Sony and Jackson formed Sony/ATV after Jackson paid $41.5 million to acquire the ATV’s extensive music catalog. Jackson set the deal in stone after he made headlines by outbidding Paul McCartney for the rights to the Beatles’ music catalog.

Publishing rights give the owner complete control over how music and their lyrics are used on the radio, as well as in television and film. For example, according to CNN, AMC’s Mad Men paid an estimated $250,000 to play the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” in an episode that aired in 2012.

Jackson is credited by many as being one of the first artists to see the value in owning publishing rights to popular songs.

After his death in 2009, Jackson’s estate—and his massive debt—then went to his mother and his three children, Prince, Paris, and Blanket. Now, they have decided to sell his 50 percent stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing for a whopping $733 million dollars.


According to Forbes, “the agreement already guarantees him the biggest annual haul of any musician in history.”

“To put that $750 million sum into perspective,” Forbes explains, “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 entertainment businesses have long been a core part of Sony and are a key driver of our future growth," Sony Corporation chief Kaz Hirai said in a statement.

"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."

This deal, according to Variety, “will not affect its continuing interests in other music assets, including all of Jackson’s master recordings as well as Mijac Music, the publishing company that owns all of the songs written by Jackson… as well as songs by some of his favorite songwriters and artists that were acquired during his life.”

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