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Last updated at 09:23 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Jackson's record record deal

Summary

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.

Reporter:
Rajesh Mirchandani

Michael Jackson in 2005

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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

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Vocabulary

long-time record company

organisation which had published his music for many years

re-issued

made available again

re-mixed

with different musical production

a bonanza

a large amount of something good

a shrewd bet

a clever investment

bankability

ability to make money

estate

legal term for the property and money, including debts, of someone who has died

dwarfs

is so much bigger than that it makes others look very small

mogul

powerful and important person in a particular business

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