17 March 2010
Record company Sony have signed a deal to release old and new songs by the late pop star Michael Jackson. The deal is worth about $250 million and is the biggest ever made for any artist, living or dead.
Click to hear the report:
The deal with Michael Jackson's long-time record company Sony is worth up to a quarter of a billion dollars over seven years. It's the biggest ever and includes ten projects. Among them at least one album of entirely new songs Jackson recorded before he died.
Some old hits will be re-issued as well, perhaps re-mixed for a younger audience. And a DVD of his music videos is likely too.
It's a bonanza for fans but also a shrewd bet on his future bankability. Pop stars often earn money after they have died, but nothing on this scale. More than 30 million Michael Jackson albums have been sold since his death, making him one of the highest-earning artists of last year.
It means Michael Jackson's estate can look forward to huge earnings, benefitting his children, his mother and several charities.
It will also help to pay off some of the $400 million in debt the star left behind.
The contract dwarfs those for other stars. In recent years rap mogul Jay-Z signed a deal worth $150 million and Madonna for $120 million.
Rajesh Mirchandani, BBC, Los Angeles
Click to hear the vocabulary:
- long-time record company
organisation which had published his music for many years
made available again
with different musical production
- a bonanza
a large amount of something good
- a shrewd bet
a clever investment
ability to make money
legal term for the property and money, including debts, of someone who has died
is so much bigger than that it makes others look very small
powerful and important person in a particular business