Another sad day on Neverland Ranch.
It was recently announced that the Michael Jackson estate and Sony made a deal, with the estate agreeing to sell MJ’s prized half of the Sony/ATV publishing for $750 million. Despite this agreement, the estate still owns the 10 percent interest it holds in EMI Music Publishing, which includes Mijac Music – the publishing company that owns songs written by Jackson and others (but only time will tell how long before they sell that off too). According to multiple sources much of the money will go to paying off debts accrued by Jackson during his later years leaving the estate completely “debt-free.” And as for Sony, by absorbing Jackson’s half of the catalog, they gain control of the rights to approximately 4 million songs so they can better compete in the world of streaming.
Almost every media outlet is touting this deal as a positive thing, with many of them spinning the deal to seem as if its in favor of Jackson, as the lump sum will be the biggest pay day for a celebrity – ever. And this would be great, if Jackson hadn’t repeatedly stated that he didn’t want to ever sell his half and if Jackson hadn’t expressed a genuine fear of people trying to sabotage/kill him for his stake in Sony. To say the money would pay off the debt created solely by Jackson is not only misleading but another way to lessen the inadequacy of the estate. Just two years ago the IRS came after the estate for undervaluing Jackson’s image and music catalog. While the Jackson estate’s executors valued MJ’s net worth at around $7 million, the IRS put it as something more like $1.125 BILLION meaning the estate owes an extra $500 million in taxes, alone. So who exactly is this $750 million deal actually benefiting? Jackson and his children? Or the Jackson estate executors like John Branca who's a part of the estate and a senior adviser at Sony?
(One of the many instances Jackson said to not sell his half of the catalog.)
One can only help to think of “Money”, a song written by Jackson and released on History: Book 2 (1995) where he sings
"So you call it trust
But I say it's just
In the devil's game
Of greed and lust
They don't care
They'd do me for the money
They don't care
They use me for the money."
Maybe MJ saw it coming all along.