Michael Jackson's estate and Sony Music Entertainment have signed the biggest record deal in the history of music, said to be worth up to $250 million or more. The deal calls for at least 10 projects and albums from Michael Jackson, including compilations and enough left-over and never used material for at least three all new material albums over the next seven years.
Never in the history of recorded music has such a huge record deal been struck. Even after the death of major artists such as Jimi Hendrix where numerous posthumous releases were made, the dollar figure never approached the astronomical figures such as this huge recording deal. This record deal is said to be the largest for any entertainer, living or dead ever struck.
Entertainment is one of the largest exports of the U.S. And Michael Jackson's recordings remain one of the biggest export products for the United States. Roughly 2/3 of all his recording sales are outside the U.S. The amount of foreign royalties was a central issue in the legal negotiations of this deal with the Jackson estate and Sony.
Fans of the pop superstar can look forward to a new release as early as November featuring new unreleased material. Under the new contract terms, Sony will have the rights to distribute the Michael Jackson catalog until at least 2017, when an extension deal will have to be negotiated.
Reportedly, The Beatles' catalog is not part of this huge record deal. Michael Jackson wisely purchased this catalog as an investment deal a few years ago. A separate deal will have to be struck over the distribution rights to that multi-million dollar catalog.