King Of Pop: Sony Music Group Acquires Over $1.2B Stake in Michael Jackson’s Music Catalog

BY Dora Abena Dzaka February 13, 2024 4:24 PM EDT
Photo Credit: Facebook @ Micheal Jackson PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 31: Michael Jackson performs during halftime of a 52-17 Dallas Cowboys win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII on January 31, 1993 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

A potentially record-breaking deal has been reached by Sony Music Group to purchase half of Michael Jackson’s music catalog.

The New York Times reports that in addition to Michael’s hits, the music company’s stakes will comprise well-known songs written or performed by other artistes, including legendary icons like Sly Stone and hits made popular by Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis.

As per a different report by Billboard, the deal might entail the highest valuation ever applied to a musician’s assets; some reports even put the value at $1.5 billion.

Sony Music Group would pay a minimum of $600 million for its share of the musician’s rights, but royalties from the MJ musical and other theatrical productions featuring his music are not covered by the agreement, according to another news source.

The New York Times also reported that Sony Music Group’s purported deal with the Jackson estate gave the company a stake in one of the most lucrative catalogs in existence and that Primary Wave, a music company that owns a minority stake in Jackson’s music, was not included in the deal.

In addition to other accomplishments, Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller is among the best-selling albums ever, and according to a news source, it was the first to receive a 30-time platinum certification. According to reports, Sony Music Group began talks with the estate in February of last year. The estate was reportedly seeking between $800 and $900 million.

According to Billboard, Jackson’s estate brings in almost $75 million a year, with his publishing and recording properties alone earning over $47 million.

According to Billboard, this estimate doesn’t take into consideration Jackson’s rising popularity on streaming services.

Additionally, it ignores the impending biopic Jackson, which is said to have the potential to increase interest and income for the estate. Sony Music Group has previously partnered with or purchased from Jackson or his estate before this latest agreement.

According to Billboard, Sony paid $100 million in 1991 to purchase half of ATV Music, which Jackson had purchased in 1985. The two companies later merged. Seven years after the singer’s abrupt death in 2009, Sony purchased half of Sony/ATV that had gone to his estate, according to Variety.

Variety reported that Sony Music Group bought “the Jackson estate’s share of the consortium that owned EMI Music Publishing” in 2018, moving the company closer to becoming one of the biggest music publishing companies in the world.