Nine months after Michael Jackson’s death, his estate has signed one of the biggest recording contracts in history, giving Sony, Mr. Jackson’s longtime label, the rights to sell his back catalog and draw on a large vault of unheard recordings.
The deal, for about 10 recordings through 2017, will guarantee the Jackson estate up to $250 million in advances and other payments and offer an especially high royalty rate for sales both inside and outside the United States, according to people with knowledge of the contract who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak about it publicly.
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It also allows Sony and the estate to collaborate on a wide range of lucrative licensing arrangements, like the use of Jackson music for films, television and stage shows and lines of memorabilia that will be limited only by the imagination of the estate and the demand of a hungry worldwide market.
“We think that recordings will always be an important part of the estate,” John Branca, an entertainment lawyer who is one of the estate’s executors, said in an interview on Monday. “New generations of kids are discovering Michael.”