The "New" Michael Jackson Fortune
Yes, it's totally gruesome to think about how Michael Jackson's estate and others will benefit from the King of Pop's death, but it's inevitable. And in the days following Jackson's death more and more news is coming out about just how many ventures may benefit. Yes, AEG has to grapple with refunding some $85 million of concert tickets, and insurer Lloyd's of London will have to deal with the claims. But perhaps most striking is the sad, ironic fact that the King of Pop's death is sure to bolster his assets to compensate for his debts in life.
As expected Jackson's songs bounced to the top of the charts on Thursday and have remained there. But now there may be much more content to sell. On the eve of his death, Jackson's last rehearsal for his upcoming AEG concert series was recorded on camera, and will reportedly be released as his last album and as a DVD. This could help AEG earn back some of its investment in the upcoming London concerts as well as help Jackson's estate, which is laden with some $400 million to $500 million in debt. AEG hasn't gotten back to me on this news, but it's safe to assume that they'll would like to try to turn anything recorded from the rehearsals into a product to sell.
Jackson also reportedly recorded dozens of songs to be released after his death, which would surely sell tens of millions of copies. A source close to Jackson's music label -- Sony BMG -- wouldn't confirm any details, but acknowledged that the company wants to make videos and music available as quickly as possible.
The fact that Google and other news sources delivered error messages after the barrage of Michael Jackson queries is a pretty good indication of interest. Media outlets have been barraged with demand for content about the musician. One-hour specials on the musician and Farrah Fawcett helped bolster TV networks' ratings; on Friday night NBC beat out ABC and CBS with an average of 5.3 million total viewers by going with three hours of specials rather than mix in regular programming like the other networks.
Time Magazine is publishing a special commemorative issue on Michael Jackson, expected to his newsstands today. Priced at $5.99, it'll be in addition to the magazine's regular weekly issue. The last time the magazine published a special issue was right after September 11th, which sold more than 3.25 million copies. The edition after Princess Diana's death sold more than 1.1 million copies. Needless to say, the magazine industry is struggling with declining ad revenue, and this could provide a much-needed boost.
Despite the pullback in consumer spending, Americans seem eager to pull out their credit cards when it comes to MJ merchandise. Amazon , eBay and iTunes are all cashing on on merchandise sales related to Jackson. Last time I checked there were over 50,000 results to a search for Michael Jackson merchandise on eBay.
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