Home Celebrity Michael Jackson Song Catalog Will Moonwalk to Sony/ATV Publishing

Exclusive: Michael Jackson, even in death, remains in the middle of the current musical chairs deals in the declining record industry.

For all these years, Michael’s MiJac Publishing has been administered by Warner Chappell, part of what is now Warner Music Group. MiJac includes not only Michael’s hits that he wrote, like “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” but a vast number of other hits including those of Ray Charles, Curtis Mayfield, and Sly and the Family Stone.

Warner Chappell doesn’t own MiJac but it administers the rights to it and collects hefty fees. With WMG for sale, and talk of Warner Chappell being sold off, MiJac would seem like an integral part of their story.

But there’s a hitch that I can reveal to you: MiJac is leaving Warner Chappell and going to become part of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the company that Michael Jackson’s estate co-owns with Sony and contains the Beatles catalog.

According to sources, this arrangement was written into the MiJac contract with Warner Chappell years ago. It would be triggered by the release of the next Jackson album–in this case, the recent “Michael”–and the repayment of loans.

The move by MiJac to Sony/ATV is a big deal for many reasons. With both WMG and EMI Music for sale, Sony

Sony/ATV could be kicking the tires of each company’s publishing divisions for purchase. But Warner Chappell might be less interesting to Sony ATV considering they’re already getting Mi Jac. And without MiJac, Warner Chappell–which just had a down quarter–might not look so good to other potential buyers.

What may happen now: the newer, and very hot, BMG Music Rights will likely make a play for EMI Music Publishing. EMI Music–the record company, which has the Beatles albums in its catalog–the physical albums and box sets–could then be merged with another record company like Sony Music or, more horrifyingly, Warner Music. Stay tuned.

19 replies to this post
  1. —— Forwarded Message
    From: John Branca
    Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2011 15:18:31 -0600
    To: Jeff *****
    Subject: Michael Jackson/Mijac

    Jeff:

    I understand that you are being asked a lot of questions about Mijac.

    Yes, there is a matching right that Michael granted to Sony/ATV but they only get to administer the catalog for a limited term AND only if they agree to unprecedented favorable terms. We will not relinquish ultimate control and ownership to anyone. We have favorably refinanced the loans on Mijac which will be paid off and the catalog WILL absolutely be passed to Michael’s children as long as we have anything to say about it.

    Sony/ATV is a great company and the Estate owns half of it but no one, not even Sony/ATV, will ever own Mijac while John McClain and I remain in charge.

    The current Sony team is the one Michael chose to work with on the Thriller 25 release and they are good partners. As stated in the recent court filings, they worked with us to refinance the burdensome debt that had been placed on Michael’s interest in Sony/ATV to very favorable terms, an important achievement which insures that Mijac and Michael’s masters remain secure for the benefit of Michael’s children for years to come.

    I would appreciate your sharing this with the fans that are asking questions.

    Thanks – John

    John Branca
    Co-Executor
    The Estate Of Michael Jackson
    Los Angeles, CA

  2. RCA and Colonel Parker did the same thing to ELVIS in 1976. Parker sold the rights to ELVIS’ recordings to RCA for $5 million dollars when they knew they were worth much more. Three months after ELVIS’ death in 1977 RCA made $200 million dollars off of ELVIS’ music alone. Great for the RCA label but bad for ELVIS. “THE KING” must of made over $1 billion in that first year easy. ELVIS owned three music publishing companys, ELVIS PRESLEY MUSIC, GLADYS MUSIC and ELVIS MUSIC.

  3. Which loans are these sources speaking of? The loan using MiJac as collateral was paid off by MJ Nov 2008 and The KOP did not taken out another against it. Saw this coming when Sony and the Estate Attorneys did the contract renewal business trying to convince us MJ wasn’t going to take back the mechanical rights in Sep 09, and people say the Fans are crazy. Got an idea let’s see the “contract” everything personal on Jackson is out there so showing this contract should be easy.

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