Sony will now have full control of what many believe to be the crown jewels of music: an extensive music catalog that has many songs by the Beatles.
The estate of the late Michael Jackson agreed to sell its stake of 50% in Sony/ATV to Sony, its partner in the joint venture for a sum of $750 million.
The deal will help erase the debt carried by the estate of Jackson, while at the same time, strengthening the position of Sony as a publisher of music.
Sony/ATV’s catalog has works from such artists as Taylor Swift, Wyclef Jean and the Fab Four.
Jackson helped form Sony/ATV with Sony during 1995, a decade after he paid more than $41.5 million to buy the ATV catalog that includes many of the Beatles songs.
The King of Pop outbid Pau McCartney the former Beatle to acquire the catalog.
The publishing rights give the catalog’s owner the control over how the lyrics and music are able to be used on television, in film and on the radio.
For example, AMC’s Mad Men reportedly had to pay $250,000 to use Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles during an episode in 2012.
While alive, Jackson was amongst the first who recognized the value to controlling the rights to many of the popular works.
John McClain and John Branca, the co-executors of the Jackson estate, said the original purchase by the singer of the ATV catalog had been one the best and smartest investments in the history of music.
The transaction, said the lawyers, allows the estate to continue efforts of maximizing value of the estate of Michael Jackson for his children’s benefit.
It also, said McClain and Branca further validates the foresight of Jackson and the genius he had in investing in music publishing.
When he died, Jackson had a great deal of debt. The master recordings of Jackson’s will stay under the control of the estate and will not be included in the ATV deal with Sony.
Mijac Music, which is the owner of all songs Jackson wrote and a select list of other artists, will remain as well under the estate of the late pop star.