Michael Jackson just scored the biggest contract in music history and he’s not even alive to see it – one that could be worth up to $250 million with incentives.
His estate will earn $200 million guaranteed for 10 projects in seven years. The landmark contract extends through 2017 and could pay his estate much more.
One of the albums will be of never-before-released Jackson recordings that will come out in November. Enough unreleased material may exist for 2-3 albums.
Projects may also include a video game, a DVD compilation of videos and a re-release of Off the Wall, Jackson’s fifth studio album, which debuted back in ’79.
Before Jackson’s tragic death in June at age 50, he wanted to re-issue the album, people familiar with the deal said. Now he’s getting his wish, posthumously.
One project already counted in the contract was a two-disc album that accompanied This Is It, the film based on footage of Jackson’s 2009 concert rehearsals.
Michael Jackson announcing the 2009 This Is It tour.
Including the more than 5 million copies of that special release, Jackson sold some 31 million albums since his death, about two-thirds of them outside the U.S.
“During his life, Michael’s contracts set the standard for the industry,” said John Branca, the co-administrator of the Jackson estate, in a statement Tuesday.
“By all objective criteria, this agreement with Sony Music demonstrates the lasting power of Michael’s music by exceeding all previous industry benchmarks.”
The landmark contract is worth more than all other benchmarks, such as the deals Live Nation signed with Madonna at $120 million and Jay-Z for $150 million.
Jackson’s deal is more remarkable because it does not include royalties from merchandise, and comes at a time of widespread decline for the industry.
The money will go a long way toward paying off Jackson’s considerable debts, and providing a future for his three children (and Omer Bhatti, for that matter).
Continue reading about the record contract here …