Record-breaking Michael Jackson, Sony buys half of the catalog

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Record-breaking Michael Jackson, Sony buys half of the catalog

Record-breaking Michael Jackson: Sony has reached an agreement with his heirs to buy half of the singer's music catalogue, in what is expected to be the highest-value transaction in history for the work of a single musician.
Jackson's entire catalog was valued at between 1.2 and 1.5 billion dollars: the transaction would thus have a value of at least 600 million, a Guinness figure although lower than the 800-900 million hypothesized by Variety a year ago , when the negotiation had come to light. The agreement, which was reported by Billboard, would leave the heirs with considerable control over the material once they had sold 50% of the shares, a point that had kept the negotiations pending until the end.
The singer had come first ahead of Elvis Presley in the Forbes 2023 ranking of wealthy singers who have passed away: among these, in January of the previous year, David Bowie's music had changed hands for 250 million.
The package for Jackson would include, in addition to the lyrics of his songs and the music he recorded, also tracks by other artists purchased by his MiJac publishing group including songs by Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis and Aretha Franklin.
Interest has been heightened by the Broadway show MJ: The Musical, Cirque du Soleil themed shows and Anton Fuqua's upcoming Michael biopic in which nephew Jafaar Jackson stars and sings as the uncle.
Jacko died in 2009, aged 50, after having sold over 400 million records. The 1982 album Thriller is still one of the top two best-sellers of all time according to Guinness World Records. The king of pop remains hugely popular on streaming services with almost 40 million listeners a month on Spotify. Sony is the singer's historic label and was already linked to his heirs by a 250 million dollar agreement stipulated in 2010.
The unofficial record for music catalogs has so far belonged to Bruce Springsteen with around half a billion dollars, followed by Bob Dylan with 450 million which includes, in addition to the music, the lyrics resulting from the creativity of the Nobel Prize winner. Now Queen is also reportedly in negotiations with a requested valuation of $1.2 billion, at or slightly below Jackson's catalogue.
Selling one's catalog in the past was considered a mortal sin for a musician, but with Dylan having kicked off in 2020, other artists old and young had jumped on the bandwagon: among them Justin Bieber who in exchange got 200 million dollars from Hipgnosis Songs Capital company, the same one that purchased the catalogs of Shakira, Justin Timberlake and Neil Young, the latter at 50% and with an important clause, nothing of what he composed can be used in advertising.

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