First after death: how Michael Jackson earned $ 2.4 billion 10 years after his death

After his death, Michael Jackson, according to Forbes, earned $ 2.4 billion.


Despite the fact that over the past year his income has sharply decreased, the king of pop remains the first in the ranking of the highest paid dead stars — for the ninth time in 10 years.

Not many living celebrities can earn a nine-digit amount in one year.

However, Michael Jackson managed to do this eight times in the ten years after his death. In 2018, he earned $ 400 million before taxes.

In total, the king of pop after his death in 2009 earned $ 2.4 billion.

Therefore, the fact that this year the income of the legendary singer dropped to $ 60 million, surprised many.

Nevertheless, Michael Jackson still remains the first in the ranking of the highest paid deceased celebrities.

One could associate such a sharp decline in the star’s income with widely publicized accusations of child molestation made in the new documentary “Leaving Neverland”. However, this is not the true reason.


The $ 400 million that the king of pop earned in 2018 included a one-time income from Jackson’s sale of nearly $ 300 million in EMI Music Publishing, revenues from a new contract with Sony for posthumous albums, and profit from Michael Jackson’s Halloween animated film, created by the American broadcaster CBS. From the very beginning, it was clear that revenue for 2019 would be much lower. Nevertheless, even after the scandal surrounding the film “Leaving Neverland” at the beginning of 2019, Jackson’s songs collected 2.1 billion plays in the United States. This is 17% more than last year (1.8 billion plays).


“Michael Jackson may have had so few critics, but he had a lot of fans. The number of listening to his songs will continue to grow because music streaming services are developing, and also because his songs are incredibly popular, ”said David Bakula, vice president of analytics for Nielsen Media Research.


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Nevertheless, the time came when Michael Jackson’s annual income even after his death reached hundreds of millions of dollars. This is due not so much to the public outcry due to accusations against the king of pop music, but to the expiration of contracts and the completion of all asset sales transactions, thanks to which the singer could earn sky-high sums even after death. We are talking, in particular, about the contract for the release of the movie “Michael Jackson’s That’s It” (Michael Jackson’s This Is It) and the eponymous posthumous collection of hits, about royalties from the famous circus Cirque du Soleil, which tours the world with a tribute program under the title of Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour, as well as the sale of a 50% share of the singer in Sony / ATV Music Publishing for $ 750 million and the aforementioned sale of his share in EMI Music Publishing.


Even ten years after his death, Jackson will continue to earn more on royalties from the Sony record label and the Cirque du Soleil circus, which performs in Las Vegas with another show called Michael Jackson One. In addition, do not forget about the Mijac Music song catalog, which is still owned by the heirs of the artist. Maybe soon there will be a buyer for the spacious estate of Neverland king of pop. Now the estate is called Sycamore Valley Ranch, and its cost is $ 31 million.


The highest paid deceased stars — 2019. Forbes rating


There are completely new ways to make money. Despite the fact that the premiere of the thematic musical about the life of Michael Jackson was canceled earlier this year in Chicago, it will still be shown on Broadway in August 2020. Such productions could help Jackson find new listeners and attract his old fans. Thanks to this, the number of listening to the songs of the pop king on services such as Spotify and Apple Music will increase significantly.


“With the help of music streaming services, we can introduce potential new fans to the legacy of Michael Jackson. As soon as they discover his songs, they will begin to buy T-shirts with his image, posters and records. It’s a great marketing ploy, ”said Jeff Jampole, who is responsible for the legacy of deceased celebrities including Michael Jackson, Jim Morrison and Janice Joplin.

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