Sony Music Group Makes Historic Deal Purchasing Stakes In Michael Jackson’s Billion-Dollar Catalog

Michael Jackson performs in concert circa 1986
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Sony Music Group has made a historic deal in music history by closing an agreement to purchase half of the late Michael Jackson‘s publishing and recorded masters catalog. The catalog is valued at around $1.2 billion, with some sources citing it as high as $1.5 billion. Sony will pay around $600 million for its stake in the rights. This means that Jackson’s catalog is set at a higher value than what Queen is currently seeking for their catalog.

Reportedly, the deal includes Jackson’s music as well as some music written and/or performed by stars such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, and others. Last year, Billboard estimated that Jackson’s estate earns around $75 million each year, including royalties from music, the Broadway play, and other theatrical productions featuring his music. It also appears that streams and sales of Jackson’s music have grown in recent years and will likely continue to grow after the biopic is released.

1983: Portrait of American pop star Michael Jackson wearing a red leather jacket at the opening of the stage musical, 'Dream Girls,' Los Angeles, California

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A biopic about Jackson’s life is currently set to premiere in 2025, with his nephew, Jaafar Jackson playing him in the film. Reports show that in 2023 alone, “consumption of his music grew 38.3% to 6.5 billion on-demand streams, up from 4.7 billion streams in 2021.”

This isn’t the first deal between Sony and the Jackson estate. Sony has paid over $2 billion already in some deals beyond distributing royalties for his music. Sony paid $100 million back in 1991 to merge with ATV Music, which had the catalog that Jackson purchased in 1985, including the Beatles catalog.

399369 133: Singer Michael Jackson accepts his Peformer of the Century Award during the 29th Annual American Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium January 9, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA

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So, why does any of this even matter? It proves that some artists can still garner a huge price for their catalog and beyond, and this may be the biggest deal in history so far. Sony has now purchased the top two most expensive catalogs as they already purchased Bruce Springsteen‘s for $550 million in 2021.

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Pop Music Legends

August 2017

Dedicated to the sights, sounds and stories of the golden age of pop.

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