Sony deal makes Michael Jackson 2016's highest earning musician

Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Kanye West won't come close to earning what MJ's estate just bagged...

Sony deal makes Michael Jackson 2016's highest earning musician

MIKE FIALA / AP/Press Association Images

Sony Corporation, which already owns 50% of the late Michael Jackson’s music catalogue through their joint ownership of Sony/ATV Publishing, is to pay $750m to take full control of the company that also owns copyright on the music of artists such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift and Sting.

This is more than the record $620m paid to Dr Dre when Beats was snapped up by Apple in 2014, and more than the combined income of Katy Perry, One Direction, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Justin Timberlake, Diddy and Fleetwood Mac in 2015.

Paul McCartney recalls MJ buying his songs

Jackson originally bought ATV in 1985 for $41.5m after Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s partner, Yoko Ono, declined to pay the price sought. ATV entered its joint venture with Sony in 1995.

John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of Jackson's estate described this deal as "one of the smartest investments in music history."

The estate of Michael Jackson, who died six years ago, and which operates to the benefit of his three teenage children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, is reported still to have debts of about $250m due to the loss-making Neverland Ranch and other ventures.

The King of Pop's estate will continue to have some interests in the music business. These include all the singer’s master recordings, the publishing company that owns all the songs he wrote, and a minority shareholding in EMI Music.

Michael Jackson has 2015's highest grossing dead musician, earning $115m (€105m).