Michael Jackson: through the years
Even in death Michael Jackson continues to dominate the sales charts.
By Brandon I. Brooks
Sentinel Entertainment Editor
According to Nielsen SoundScan, MJ has nine of the 17 best-selling R&B hits in digital history, including, “Thriller,” “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” all from his landmark album “Thriller”. “Man In The Mirror,” the gospel-tinged smash from “Bad”. And “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” the disco-flavored lead single from “Off The Wall.”
One year after the icon known as the “King of Pop” passed away, it most definitely seems as if he is more popular than ever.
Billboard Magazine reports that Michael Jackson’s estate has generated at least $1 billion in revenues since the singer died one year ago.
His estate, managed by two longtime associates, entertainment lawyer John Branca and music executive John McClain, has nearly settled Jackson’s troubled finances.
This past year the Michael Jackson brand experienced a mega-makeover by signing a new record deal with Sony Music. Jackson’s estate also released a new MJ-themed video game. The MJ brand was destined for The Las Vegas strip as the estate signed off on two Michael Jackson-themed Cirque Du Soleil shows. The brand keeps finding new markets, not to mention a plethora of merchandise that continues to sell daily.
Billboard Magazine estimates that MJ’s concert film, “Michael Jackson: This Is It,” was the most successful of all time. The film earned around $72 million in the U.S. and $188 million overseas. When rounding MJ’s total TV and film earnings, Jackson earned around $392 million over the past year.
Before Jackson died on June 25th at the age of 50, he was in the midst of many financial struggles. Not that Jackson ever worried for money but as the saying goes, “More Money, More Problems.” Just before Jackson died he was more than $400 million in debt.
Since his death, Michael Jackson has sold about 9 million albums in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan. He even helped rejuvenate the Jacksons and the Jackson 5 legacy, having sold an estimate of 800,000 units.
Outside the states, MJ’s album sales for the past years stand at around 24 million units. Billboard estimates that Jackson’s album catalog generated about $383 million in sales.
Digitally, over the past year, Jackson’s songs have generated 12.9 million song downloads in the United States alone. Based on those figures, Billboard estimates that the total number of worldwide downloads is about 26.5 million units, with a value of $34 million.
With all that the Michael Jackson empire has to offer at the moment, it all means nothing in comparison to the worth of MJ’s publishing company, Mijac which is administered by Warner/Chappell.
The Michael Jackson estate has a 50% stake in the Sony/ATV catalogue, which has the publishing rights to songs by everyone from the Beatles to Taylor Swift. That catalogue is believed to generate up to $80 million a year, half of which goes to Jackson, according to USA Today.
In addition, Jackson owns most of Mijac Publishing, which controls his own recordings. Though the L.A. Times reports the company has a value of $75 million, it’s not known what yearly profits those rights have thrown off during this moment of intensified interest. However, Billboard’s publishing expert, Glenn Peoples says, those figures could add “tens of millions of dollars” to our tally.