According to a recent report in Variety, the Michael Jackson estate catalog may break the record. It might happen for the highest amount earned from selling the rights to an artist’s music catalog. The people handling Michael Jackson’s estate are reportedly trying to sell half their interest in the late singer’s discography. The rumored price is around $800 million to $900 million.
Parties interested in the sale were kept secret, but a financial source told Variety that Primary Wave Music already has a stake in the rights to Jackson’s catalog. This is because Primary Wave Music recently bought all of The Doors’ material and income rights.
Sony would be smart to go after a cut of Jackson’s publishing, even though Primary Wave Music reportedly already has a hand in the business. The company has been a big buyer of music catalogs in the past few years. It bought Bruce Springsteen’s catalog and publishing for $500 million and Bob Dylan’s catalog for around $200 million.
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Throughout his solo career, Sony was Michael Jackson’s record label. In 1995, Sony formed a joint venture with Jackson to create Sony/ATV Music Publishing. It included Jackson’s share of The Beatles’ publishing. Jackson’s death in 2009 prompted Sony to take steps toward acquiring full control of Sony/ATV, a process completed in late 2019.
If this new deal goes through, three anonymous sources informed Variety that it would cost between $800 to $900 million. Then it will make it the acquisition of the most expensive rights in the history of contemporary music.
Sony has managed the estate of Michael Jackson since his death, with Branca and co-executor John McClain managing his catalog.
In 2016, the company agreed to buy the estate’s 50% stake in the Sony/ATV Music Publishing venture (founded in 1995) for $750 million (£622 million). By acquiring EMI in 2018, Sony also took over the Jackson estate’s 25.1% stake in EMI Music Publishing.