Sony agrees multi-million dollar deal to take full control of Michael Jackson publishing deal

New deal means Jackson estate lose rights to songs by artists including Eminem and The Beatles

Sony is to pay $750m (£526m) to take full control of Michael Jackson‘s stake in a lucrative music catalogue.

The major label already owned half of the Sony/ATV Music Publishing catalogue and has now agreed to buy the remaining half of the late pop star’s share of the joint music publishing venture.

Jackson’s fifty per cent share of Sony ATV Music Publishing was first agreed in 1995. BBC News reports that the new deal gives Sony complete control of a catalogue that includes songs by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Eminem and Taylor Swift. It does not, however, allow them the rights to Jackson’s master recordings.

Jackson’s estate will maintain Mijac Music, which owns all the songs written by Jackson.


Sony’s mult-million dollar purchase should help alleviate the reported $250m debt Jackson left upon his death.

“The entertainment businesses have long been a core part of Sony and are a key driver of our future growth,” Kazuo Hirai, Sony’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. “These businesses will continue to contribute to our success for years to come.”

John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Jackson estate, said the deal “further validates Michael’s foresight and genius in investing in music publishing”.

Jackson purchased the ATV portion of the catalogue in 1985 for $41.5m (£29m), and he later merged it with Sony. Jackson’s estate benefits his mother and three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket.

Meanwhile, Joseph Fiennes recentlys defended his casting as Michael Jackson in Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon, a forthcoming TV comedy from Sky Arts.

Some commentators have criticised the decision to cast Fiennes, who is white, as the African American pop icon, but the Shakespeare In Love actor insisted he is an appropriate choice to portray Jackson. Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon will premiere on Sky Arts later this year.