There’s a horrible, but true, saying: death is a good career move. Such is definitely the case with Michael Jackson.
The trade magazine looked at various money streams since Jackson’s death, including his extended Sony Music deal and revenue from “This is It,” which Billboard calls the most successful concert film of all time.
Billboard breaks it down as such: Jackson’s estate has earned $429 million through the sale of 33 million albums worldwide, as well as 26.5 million digital downloads. Add in ringtone sales, Jackson 5 album sales and various performance royalties and it adds up to nearly half a billion.
Revenues from “This is It’s” theatrical, DVD and forthcoming TV rights add up to $392 million for the estate (Billboard estimates that Jackson’s share is as high as 90%).
His music publishing holdings, both for his own Mijac, and his 50% share of Sony/ATV combines for roughly $130 million.
Unbelievably, even though he died before taking the stage in London for his “This is It” tour, his estate still made an estimated $6.5 million from unreturned tickets, $5 million from concert merchandise and another $20 million in various licensing deals.
Lastly, a new recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment allows the label to put out 10 albums through 2017. We have a feeling the re-issue slate is going to make the torrent of posthumous 2Pac albums look tame.
Attorney John Branca, who oversees Jackson’s estate with John McClain, tells Billboard that Elvis Presley is the role model for Jackson. That’s an excellent comparison. Jackson is the only celebrity to die since Presley’s 1977 death who can come close to Presley’s hold on mass appeal. It will be interested to watch as the King of Pop and the King jockey for top spot on the highest-earning dead celebrity list for years, if not decades, to come.