Sony Music Group reportedly buys half of Michael Jackson's catalogue for $600 million

Pop superstar Michael Jackson performs at the 1993 Super Bowl in Pasadena, California.
Pop superstar Michael Jackson performs at the 1993 Super Bowl in Pasadena, California. Copyright Rusty Kennedy/AP Photo
By Anca Ulea
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

The estimated deal values Michael Jackson's entire catalogue at $1.2 billion (€1.1 billion), which would make it the most valuable transaction in history.


Sony Music Group has reportedly agreed to acquire half of Michael Jackson’s music catalogue for $600 million (€557 million). If confirmed, it would be the most valuable deal ever for a single musician’s work. 

After months of negotiations, Sony is said to have at last reached terms for purchasing a 50% stake in Jackson’s recorded music and songwriting catalogue.

This includes the rights to the artist’s megahits like “Beat It” and “Bad,” as well as publishing assets owned by Jackson’s estate that include songs by Sly Stone, Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis.

The deal is said to value Jackson’s entire catalogue at $1.2 billion (€1.1 billion), although the sticker price is still unconfirmed and could, in fact, be much higher.

Jackson, who died in 2009 at age 50, is still one of the most lucrative artists in history, with a legacy that has survived countless scandals and even the artist’s own death.

The year after he died, Jackson’s estate brought in $275 million (€255 million) – more than Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Madonna and Jay-Z combined.

His 1982 album “Thriller” is one of the two top-selling albums of all time and remains a money-making machine.

But the King of Pop was also a savvy investor with deep knowledge of the music industry, which contributed to his investing in other artists’ catalogues as well.

Jackson first purchased ATV Music Publishing in 1985, which owned the rights to all the songs that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote during their time with the Beatles.

Sony joined forces with Jackson by buying half of the company in 1995, and in 2016 it paid $750 million to buy out the other half Jackson's estate still owned.

Sony Music Publishing is now the top music publisher in the world, and it owns a huge range of music rights including classic catalogues from the Rolling Stones and Queen and contemporary artists like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.

In recent years, music catalogues have become a massive business within the music industry. Artists who have recently sold their back catalogues include Bruce Springsteen (reportedly for $500 million, or €464 million), Justin Bieber ($200 million, or €184 million) and Bob Dylan (for $450 million, or €417 million).

Share this articleComments

You might also like