Why Michael Jackson Will Earn More Than Any Musician In History This Year
When Apple bought Dr. Dre’s Beats for $3 billion nearly two years ago,the deal propelled the superproducer to a record $620 million payday in 2014–a total that seemed unbeatable. But the mark didn’t last long.
Yesterday, Michael Jacksonsnagged $750 million in a single deal, the sale of his half of theSony/ATV publishing catalogue to Sony. He’ll have time to add to that total this year, but the agreement already guarantees him the biggest annual haul of any musician in history.
That may come as a surprise to many outsiders, but those who knew Jackson were well aware of his business savvy. Buying the original ATV for $47.5 million, a price viewed by many as exorbitant at the time, was just one example.
"He had good instincts . . . more, more, more; better, better, better,” said Sandy Gallin, who managed Jackson for much of the 1990s, in an interview for my book, Michael Jackson, Inc. “He would, in his mind, negotiate the same way. No matter what anybody would offer, he wanted more.”
To put that $750 million sum into perspective, it’s more than the combined earnings of the world’s eight highest-paid musicians of 2015: Katy Perry, One Direction, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Justin Timberlake, Diddy and Fleetwood Mac. It’s more than double Oprah’s biggest payday of $315 million in 2010.
Jackson’s 2016 haul will likely soar past $800 million. He’ll continue to earn from assets that remain under his estate’s control, including his own Mijac Music publishing catalogue. He’s also poised to keep profiting from the Michael Jackson One show by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, as well as new music down the line.
In any case, there’s little doubt Jackson will continue to out-earn his peers, dead or alive.
“He had a kid’s heart,” Berry Gordy once told me, “but a mind of a genius.”