Sony Music Group is reported to have purchased half of the “King of Pop”‘s catalog of copyrights and recordings, which is estimated to be worth around $600 million at the end of last year. This acquisition, as reported by the Billboard website, places the valuation of the catalog of the most successful artist of all time, fifteen years post his demise, between 1.2 billion and 1.5 billion dollars, a valuation that is unprecedented in the music industry.
In February of the previous year, the Variety site disclosed the initial negotiations surrounding this agreement. According to the data, the estate of the “pop icon” was generating an approximate annual revenue of $75 million at the time of his passing, with $47.2 million per annum from his recordings.
However, Jackson’s fame and popularity do not show signs of dwindling even after 15 years of his demise. Instead, the sales and streaming of Jackson’s music have shown steady growth, from 1.07 million album-equivalent units in 2020 to 1.47 million in 2023, a 37% rise over the three years, as per data from the Luminate website. Jackson enjoys even greater popularity outside the United States. In 2023, the consumption of his music escalated by 38.3% to reach 6.5 billion on-demand streams, up from 4.7 billion streams in 2021.
Not to mention, the upcoming release of a biopic named Michael, scheduled probably for September 2024, is likely to bring Jackson back to the limelight and boost the consumption of his songs.
According to Les Échos, musical rights of proven stars have increasingly become a subject of intense competition involving millions of dollars. By the end of 2021, Sony Music had acquired all of Bruce Springsteen’s music rights for $500 million and Bob Dylan’s for around $200 million. Goldman Sachs predicts a growth rate of nearly 9% per annum for the music market until 2030, largely owing to streaming, which is projected to double in value and transform into a global market worth $41 billion by 2030. This forecast is highly attractive to large investment funds like Blackstone or Hipgnosis, leading to a surge in record company prices.