Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Michael Jackson Incorporated

Though many of his adoring fans were shocked and saddened by his untimely passing, but how will this “ultimate career move” affect our still struggling global economy?

By: Ringo Bones

One of the few benefits of being older is being fortunate enough to appreciate Michael Jackson’s music and showmanship without the burden of that unfortunate child molestation issue haunting your conscience. But there is no denying the fact that Michael Jackson is the number one money making machine in the global music business. Even as far back as 1984, Time magazine dubbed Michael Jackson as the savior of the music industry. Which is kind of strange, given that the 1980s were the Golden Years of the global music industry in terms of profit earnings. Though a few others had registered on Fortune 500’s RADAR – like Guns N Roses or Bon Jovi – but taken as a whole, they’re on average only one-tenth the average money-making potential of Michael Jackson in terms of record / CD sales, concert tour earnings, merchandising, etc.

As a businessman, Michael Jackson’s shrewdest move was the purchase of The Beatles back catalogue of ATV Music publishing back in 1985 which allowed him to live a lavish lifestyle most of us can only dream of. Although this was overshadowed by his purchases of curio that are more a liability than an asset. Add to that his reckless behavior and lifestyle choice that cost him millions to “get out of jail”. It is estimated that Michael Jackson owes about half a billion dollars from various creditors, despite of selling three quarters of a billion dollars worth of records and CDs.

His announcement to embark on a tour – dubbed as the “This Is It” tour – and was planned to kick-off in the O2 Arena in London was supposed to have reduced Jackson’s outstanding debts significantly. The tour’s promoter, Randy Phillips CEO of AEG Live was confident of Michael Jackson being able to meet the commitments of this “grueling” tour after witnessing Jackson passing his physical exam with flying colors. Sadly, the King of Pop passed away unexpectedly last June 25, 2009.

Even though concert promoter AEG Live managed to purchase insurance from Lloyds for Michael Jackson’s This Is It Tour, doubts have emerged whether the insurance money is enough to cover the cost of refunds to ticket holders. Not to mention the canceled contracts to FOH sound engineers, stage lighting, pyrotechnic personnel, and even the legions of catering crews. Had the tour went underway, it would have earned at least 115 million US dollars in the slated 50 dates in London alone. While a 3-year world tour would have at least earned 500 million US dollars. Enough to put Michael Jackson’s financial problems on hold and could have been enough to stimulate our ailing global economy. Not to mention the employment opportunities a massive concert tour like this would have provided. The world indeed mourns Michael Jackson’s passing in more ways than one. Well, at least my curiously shaped Michael Jackson vinyl – i.e. picture discs – collection will probably be as valuable as my Billie Holiday 78 RPM shellac of Strange Fruit.


Hera said...

As far back as 1984, Time magazine has dubbed Michael Jackson as not only the undisputed King of Pop, but also as the savior of the music industry. Quite ironic at the time when "lesser" million-selling musicians like Bon Jovi (my mom "is" an unabashed fan back then) can afford their own private touring jet just through their record sales alone.

Je M'Apelle Ja'Nelle said...

Even though I've only became "Michael Jackson-Literate" after the King of Pop's Bad album received regular FM radio airplay back in 1987-1988, I think Michael Jackson - together with Elvis Presley - will probably be the first 2 names that will be remembered when folks from the 30th Century talks about the topic of 20th Century music business. Like the great Classical Masters of the past - i.e. Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart - Michael Jackson will be one of those very fortunate few that have struck the perfect balance of musical artistry and commercial success. Mr. Jackson's music is probably what's been keeping the pirate side of on-line digital music download business alive.