It has been five years since Michael Jackson died yet his career is more alive than ever.
Just last month, a second posthumous album, Xscape, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart and the lucrative Jackson Estate is estimated to have earned anything between 600 and 700 million dollars since the King of Pop’s untimely death, at the age of 50.
It is a far cry from 2009 when Jackson was struggling to avoid bankruptcy just before he died.
Today, the late singer’s financial fortunes are flourishing as fans continue to celebrate his legacy.
For the pop icon’s family coming to grips with their loss, coupled with the legal action unleashed after his shock death was tough, but the business side has witnessed a remarkable turn-around, rapidly generating revenues to stave off the massive debts Jackson accumulated during the last years of his life.
In his heyday, Jackson was making over $100 million a year, becoming a mainstay on the charts. ‘Thriller’ is still the biggest selling album ever.
But scandal, notably child molestation charges, brought an end to the good times. Towards the end, the singer was going on massive spending binges, taking loans on his assets to cover the bills. By 2009, with debts totalling $500 million, the King of Pop was forced into a comeback tour which never materialised.
After his death, one of the estate’s first money-making ventures was the ‘This is It’ motion picture, cobbled together from footage of rehearsals from the doomed final tour. It made some $200 million worldwide.
Soon after, Sony and Jackson’s lawyers signed a record deal reportedly worth $200 million, agreeing the release of seven albums over 10 years.
Only last month, Jackson was back on stage – as a hologram – performing at the Billboard 2014 Music Awards in Las Vegas.
According to one biographer, the financial turnaround is unprecedented, meaning that even in death, Michael Jackson Incorporated is ‘‘alive and well’‘.