Sunday, April 14, 2024

Michael Jackson Song Catalog Will Moonwalk to Sony/ATV Publishing

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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┬átriggered 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.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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