Sony Group is acquiring a 50% stake in late pop star Michael Jackson’s music catalog for at least $600 million.
The sale will be the largest deal ever for the assets of a single music artist, according to Billboard.
The outlet reported that the King of Pop’s publications and recorded masters were valued at around $1.2 billion.
Last year, Billboard estimated that Jackson’s estate earns about $75 million annually from master recordings, the publishing of Jackson’s portion of his songs, his Mijac publishing catalog and income from merchandise and royalties.
Their 1982 album Thriller, in particular, is one of the two best-selling albums of all time and achieved the milestone of being the first album to be certified 30 times platinum.
Sony Group is acquiring a 50% stake in late pop star Michael Jackson’s music catalog for at least $600 million; in the photo 1988
The transaction will be the largest ever for the assets of a single music artist, according to Billboard.
The deal between Sony and Jackson, closed at the end of last year, has a valuation higher than the $1.2 billion Queen is currently seeking.
Jackson’s estate had previously sold their 50% stake in the Sony/ATV Music Publishing joint venture, which included Beatles songs.
The deal was closed for $750 million in 2016.
Sony has been active in acquisitions recently. Last year, it was reported that he was acquiring a significant minority stake in Latin label Rimas Entertainment, launching the career of Bad Bunny, with an expected valuation of around $300 million.
In May 2023, Sony acquired Barry Weiss, Ron Perry and Matt Pincus’ RECORDS catalog in a deal that targeted a valuation of $100 million.
After that, a 50/50 deal was established with Weiss, allowing him to retain control of the label’s recent catalogue.
The recent acquisition by Sony Group excludes royalties from the MJ Broadway musical and other theatrical productions featuring the musician’s music.
Michael Jackson’s estate is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with Las Vegas tribute act MJ Live after the show accused the late pop star’s lawyers of sending cease and desist letters.
The outlet reported that the King of Pop’s editions and recorded masters were valued at around $1.2 billion; in the photo 1992
Their 1982 album Thriller, in particular, is one of the two best-selling albums of all time.
The lawsuit, filed by MJ Live in January in federal court in Nevada, claims that Jackson’s estate had unfairly issued legal threats regarding the show’s use of the late pop star’s likeness, according to TMZ.
The King of Pop tribute act, which first hit the Las Vegas Strip more than a decade ago, is asserting its legal right to continue performing.
According to the lawsuit, Jackson’s estate has recently begun sending cease-and-desist letters to venues hosting the show, demanding the cancellation of upcoming tour dates.
A source told the outlet that the estate has only taken legal action against places outside of Nevada, such as California and New York, because it considers the tribute show “low class.”
Thriller achieved the milestone of being the first album to be certified 30 times platinum; Pictured with Jane Fonda in 1982.
MJ Live’s lawsuit refers to the cease-and-desist letters as “intentional and tortious interference” that was “intended to harm the plaintiff,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
But the group goes a step further and claims that it is Jackson’s estate that is tampering with its intellectual property.
After using the name MJ Live for more than a decade, MJ Live’s legal team argues that they have earned their own trademark rights to that name.
They claim the estate’s recent use of ‘MJ The Musical’ on Broadway is stepping on those rights.
“Over the past eleven and a half years…plaintiff has spent millions of dollars advertising and promoting his show MJ Live,” the lawsuit states, according to THR.
The arrangement could also include songs from additional artists within Mijac’s publishing catalogue; Quincy Jones, Jackson, Steven Spielberg working on the ET storybook soundtrack album, 1982
Jackson’s estate had previously sold their 50% stake in the Sony/ATV Music Publishing joint venture; Martin Bashir and Jackson in 2003
“Plaintiff estimates that more than 2,500,000 audience members, clapping and singing in their seats, standing up and dancing in the aisles, have experienced the joy, excitement and excitement of MJ Live.”
In its lawsuit, MJ Live’s legal team argues that the group has not stepped on any trademarks owned by the estate and has not violated any image rights in making its MJ impersonations.
The show features a Michael Jackson impersonator who guides fans through the late pop star’s greatest hits.
The lawsuit cites Nevada’s “likeness laws” that allow the use of a celebrity’s likeness by “impersonators in live performances,” according to the outlet.
“This lawsuit, including the claim that this copycat program somehow owns a ‘trademark’ on ‘MJ,’ a trademark owned by Michael Jackson’s estate and long associated with Michael and his estate, is more than frivolous,” Jackson’s estate attorney, Jonathan Steinsapir, said in a statement.
After using the name MJ Live for more than a decade, MJ Live’s legal team argues that they have earned their own trademark rights to that name; Jackson in 2005
Michael Jackson’s estate is embroiled in a lawsuit with tribute act MJ Live after the show accused the late pop star’s lawyers of sending cease-and-desist letters; Jackson in 2005
“The Estate, as always, will vigorously defend all of Michael Jackson’s intellectual property rights.”
Jackson died on June 25, 2009, due to acute propofol and benzodiazepine poisoning, leaving behind an estate valued at hundreds of millions of dollars but also significant debts to face.
The beloved King of Pop died at his home in Los Angeles and his personal physician at the time, Dr. Conrad Murray, was jailed for involuntary manslaughter.
Dr. Murray administered Jackson various medications to help him sleep on the night of his death, at his rented home in Holmy Hills, Los Angeles.
The cardiac surgeon was released from prison in 2013 after serving half of his four-year sentence.
Murray (pictured) was sentenced to four years in prison for manslaughter
The upcoming Michael Jackson biopic, Michael, starring the King of Pop’s nephew Jaafar Jackson, 27, as the music superstar, has a release date of April 18, 2025.
An upcoming biographical film about the singer, titled Michael, is planned. for publication by Lionsgate on April 18, 2025.
The film began production late last month and Nia Long and Colman Domingo were on set Friday playing Jackson’s parents, Katherine and Joe.
“I’m excited to be part of a film that explores both the complicated soul of the legendary Michael Jackson and his impact on music and culture as a global icon,” Domingo said in a press release.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua from a script written by John Logan, the biographical musical drama stars Michael’s real-life nephew, Jaafar Jackson, as the King of Pop.
The singer and songwriter, who has been singing and dancing since he was 12, is the son of former Jackson 5 member and solo artist Jermaine Jackson, 69.