Michael Jackson’s Catalog Close To Being Sold + How He Helped Other Black Artists

Music Icon Michael Jackson’s catalog is reportedly close to selling for at least $800 million to the highest bidder. During his successful career, MJ also made a huge impact by helping many Black artists.

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Michael Jackson’s Catalog For Sale

According to a Variety report, the Michael Jackson Estate is selling half of its interests in the music icon’s catalog. The catalog is available in the $800-$900 million range. Sony and a couple of unconfirmed financial partners are looking to acquire 50% of Jackson’s publishing, recorded music revenues, his upcoming biopic, MJ: The Musical Broadway show, and other assets of Jackson.

The highest bidder will get the rights to the King of Pop’s catalog. If purchased, it will be the highest price for an artist’s catalog, surpassing legendary singer Bruce Springsteen’s catalog sale of $500 million. 

MJ: The Helping Hand

In August 1985, Jackson famously bought the Beatles’ catalog for $47 million, and with the purchase of that catalog, he helped other Black artists along the way.

In a particularly notable situation, the entertainment icon helped Rock & Roll pioneer Little Richard get his publishing back in his possession. In the Beatles catalog, the world-famous band owned all of Specialty Recordings’ publishing; the label Little Richard was signed. 

Little Richard was unhappy with his record label after complaining about not being paid any royalties for his music, even though he mainly wrote his songs.

When Jackson purchased the catalog, he gave Little Richard his publishing. Little Richard was grateful to Jackson for giving him his publishing until he died in 2009. 

Jackson’s purchase of the Beatles’ catalog made him one of the most powerful people in the music publishing industry during the 1980s, which did not involve many Black artists. 

Jackson made the largest music catalog purchase at the time and paved the way for other Black artists to emphasize music ownership, such as the late music legend Prince, and hip-hop mogul Master P.

An Ongoing Trend

With Jackson’s catalog close to being sold, other artists in recent years have sold their catalogs for large amounts of money. 

Last January, legendary rapper/producer Dr. Dre sold his catalog for $250 million last month in a deal with Universal Music and Shamrock Holdings. In 2022, Atlanta rapper Future also sold his catalog for an eight-figure deal.

Other artists that have made deals by selling their catalogs are rap great Lil Wayne selling catalogs of Young Money rappers and star singer John Legend, who sold his catalog in 2021.