60 Minutes: Michael Jackson
Though he died nearly four years ago, Michael Jackson’s name is still in the news. His mother is suing for wrongful death. But Lara Logan explored how the king of pop is making even more money as a brand after his death than the superstar did during his life. There is even a new show, Michael Jackson One, opening this year.
60 Minutes: Michael Jackson Immortal Review
The Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour, produced by Cirque Du Soleil, has put on at least 300 performances, with acrobatic dancing and acrobatics to the music of Michael Jackson, which is popular around the world with millions of fans.
John Branca is the executor of Jackson’s estate, and he is charged with generating revenue from Jackson’s intellectual property. Branca was his lawyer and advisor in life, and now he is providing Jackson’s heirs with a sizeable inheritance.
His posthumous tour has grossed over $300 million. He has sold about 50 million albums since his death, and he has countless fans online as well.
60 Minutes: Michael Jackson Executor
What about Jackson’s tabloid reputation through the years? Branca dismissed it and focused on his artistic vision. Logan pressed Branca about Jackson’s admissions about letting boys sleep in his bed, but the lawyer deflected, calling Jackson “honorable.”
The lawyer also declined from commenting on his tenuous relationship with the Jackson family, who contested Branca’s role as executor. But Logan and Branca agreed that different versions of his wills were basically the same.
Jackson willed 20% of his estate to charity, 40% to his children, and the remaining 40% to his mother. If she had passed before him, her portion would have been split among his siblings.
60 Minutes: Michael Jackson Debt
Branca explained to Logan that Jackson wanted to provide for his mother and children. Jackson’s friend, John McClain, was named co-executor in the will. Zach O’Malley Greenburg, from Forbes, recalled that Jackson was about half a billion dollars in debt at the time of his death.
“He never stopped spending like it was the 1980s,” Greenburg said. He never toured in the US after 1993, following allegations of child abuse. Endorsement deals dried up as well. But Jackson kept up his lavish lifestyle, eroding his fortune.
Karen Langford took Logan to one of five warehouses containing Jackson’s personal effects, including the Neverland sign. Langford worked with Jackson from 1981 until his death, and is now his estate’s archivist. Everything from video games to Grammy Awards has been catalogued and preserved.
60 Minutes: Michael Jackson Music Catalog
Jackson even kept nearly all the cars he collected throughout his life. He would borrow money against his assets, which included the rights to music by artists such as The Beatles.
Branca recalled Jackson’s investments in various rock and roll hits throughout history. Once The Beatles catalog came on the market, Jackson invested $47.5 million and later merged it with Sony’s recording catalog.
Though the lawyer refused to speculate on the current value of that music collection, Lara Logan dug up an estimate that Michael’s half was worth $1 billion. That could have been lost in probate due to Jackson’s death.
60 Minutes: Michael Jackson This Is It
Branca’s move was to sell “future music rights” (does anyone know what that means?) to Sony for around $250 million. Next, the team went through rehearsal video from the comeback tour Jackson was prepping for just before his death, at age 50.
The footage was compiled into the movie This Is It, released just months after the singer passed away. Since then, the movie has made over $500 million. After that success, other companies came courting an association with Jackson.
Endorsement from Pepsi and the Cirque Du Soleil show revived Jackson’s brand and market value. Greenburg said that Jackson’s death revived his ‘80s image and reminded fans of the artist’s peak popularity.
60 Minutes: Michael Jackson One Review
The 1983 “Thriller” video made the album of the same name, with its seven hits, the best-selling album ever. As for that Cirque show, it is a 50/50 production with the estate and the production company. The tour could go on for years.
But a new show, Michael Jackson One, is opening in Las Vegas in 2013. The new show includes more classic choreography combined with Cirque’s trademark acrobatics.
60 Minutes: Michael Jackson Estate Claims
Branca teamed with lawyers to sift through the countless claims facing the estate on the event of Jackson’s death. He said that most of the suits were patently ridiculous. But they had to be taken seriously and addressed in court. Some were settled, and a few are pending.
Back in those warehouses, his effects are still being sorted and catalogued under the direction of Langford. She even showed 60 Minutes a sequined glove from one of Jackson’s tours. Logan found the glove to be surprisingly heavy.
60 Minutes: Michael Jackson Legacy
Once Jackson’s children are of age, they will have a say over what happens to his effects. As executors, Branca and McClain receive 10% of whatever the estate earns.
Now it is out of debt and has taken in more than $600 million, in just four years. The King of Pop may be gone, but his legacy is going to live on for time immemorial.