His lifetime total: $1.1 billion, or just shy of $2 billion when accounting for inflation. Add adjusted posthumous figures, and the number soars to nearly $3 billion.
“He was extremely smart,” says rapper-actor-entrepreneur Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges. “From my perspective, because I’m business-oriented and savvy, I noticed and even read up on everything he did.”
Jackson helped create a fundamental shift in the monetization of fame, and that’s the notion at the core of my book, Michael Jackson, Inc, the first business-focused biography of the King of Pop, which will be published on June 3rd by Simon & Schuster’s Atria imprint.
At the end of the book is a table of annual earnings estimates for Jackson’s entire adult solo career, formulated by talking to over 100 entertainment industry insiders over the course of two years. But today, FORBES readers get a sneak peek at that research
“He had good instincts . . . more, more, more; better, better, better,” says manager Sandy Gallin, who managed Jackson for much of the 1990s. “He would, in his mind, negotiate the same way. No matter what anybody would offer, he wanted more.”
Only after his sudden death in 2009 did Jackson once again start earning nine-figure sums annually. The executors of his estate scored a whopping $250 million new record deal from Sony, released concert film This Is It (which grossed over $260 million), and launched two Cirque du Soleil shows.
Jackson’s gaudy postmortem totals were also boosted significantly by earnings from the assets he accumulated in life—namely, the Sony/ATV publishing catalogue that contains the copyrights to most of the Beatles’ biggest hits, as well as other songs by the likes of Lady Gaga, Eminem and Taylor Swift.
Today, Jackson’s heirs still own half of that company, worth about $2 billion, through his estate. The King of Pop purchased the catalogue’s core in 1985 for $47.5 million, and it adds tens of millions to his bottom line every year.
“He had a kid’s heart, but a mind of a genius,” Berry Gordy told me in an interview for Michael Jackson, Inc. “He was so loving and soft-spoken, and a thinker. . . . He wanted to do everything, and he was capable. You can only do so much in a lifetime.”
Source: forbes.com by Zack O'Malley Greenburg