August 29, 1958 was the day Michael Jackson the King of Pop was born. He would have been 58 years old today. Let’s take a moment on this day to reflect on some of the great business principles that MJ left us.
- Leave a legacy – The King of Pop is currently the highest earning deceased artist. Move over Elvis and John Lennon, because Michael Jackson left a legacy that will be profitable forever. The Guinness Book Of World Records added a new category for Highest-Earning Deceased Artist and he gained the top honor. In the first year after his passing in 2009, Jackson’s estate reportedly brought in $1 billion in revenue. Michael Jackson owns the distinction of having the biggest recording contract of all time. Nine months after his passing, the estate of Michael Jackson signed a deal with Sony Records that give the company access to a vast vault of unreleased recordings for 250 million dollars.
- Be the Best of the Best- Competition was no problem for Michael Jackson, he constantly reinvented himself and let his creativity keep him an expert in his industry. If you need proof of this, Michael Jackson is the most awarded artist of all time. The King of Pop has 23 Guinness World Records, 40 Billboard Music Awards, 13 Grammy Awards, and 26 American Music Awards, and tons of other awards to his credit. Michael Jackson has won more awards than any other musical artist. The King of Pop has also received congressional honors for his humanitarian outreach efforts.
- Invest In Property – We all know that buying property is the way to grow wealth. The Gloved One knew this as well; buying the Neverland Ranch for $20 million in 1987 was an excellent real estate move. The property is now said to be worth almost $90 million. Don’t sink $35 million into improvements or wants into property like Jackson did and you will be fine.
- Your Circle should be Smarter than You- One of Jackson’s best business habits was to keep sharp and insightful advisers around him. John Branca, who negotiated many lucrative deals for Jackson was instrumental in his wealth. He has done a remarkable job with the singer’s estate thus far. It was Branca who scored the industry-leading royalty rate for Thriller that Michael Jackson enjoyed at the time (nearly $2 per album sold), allowing him to reap untold profits from what turned out to be the best-selling album of all time.
- Make Strategic Business Moves – In 1985, he paid $47.5 million to buy a publishing catalog that included 250 Beatles songs. Ten years later Sony paid Jackson $90 million for half the rights, forming a joint venture called Sony/ATV. This move in 1985 has provided huge dividends. The Jackson estate and Sony share ownership of the catalog, which now boasts half a million songs including titles by Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Eminem and other artists. Industry insiders and experts have this catalog valued near $1.5 billion, based on estimated proceeds of $50 million to $100 million per year. Let’s do the math, which means an estimated mark up of a 3,000% increase in value from the catalog’s initial purchase price.
These were just some of the few business moves that Jackson made. On this day don’t just reflect on his musical greatness but his business acumen as well!
Until next time, See You at the top because the Bottom Is Crowded