Michael Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller is still the best-selling record of all time and his songs Billie Jean and Beat It have each been played more than one billion times on Spotify alone
Music giants Sony have reportedly paid at least £475million for the rights to half of Michael Jackson’s music catalogue.
The deal, reported in US, would be the biggest ever for the work of a single musician. Jackson, who died in 2009 at the age of 50, sold more than 400 million records worldwide. That figure is disputed and may be much higher.
His 1982 album, Thriller, is still the best-selling record of all time, according to Guinness World Records. The King of Pop is also hugely popular on streaming services, with almost 40 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
His songs Billie Jean and Beat It have each been played more than one billion times on Spotify alone. An upcoming film biopic starring Jackson’s nephew in the title role will also undoubtedly increase interest.
The back catalogue deal is also reported to include tracks by other artists acquired by Jackson’s Mijac publishing group, said to include hits by Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. The sale would have been arranged with the Estate of Michael Jackson, who manage the late star’s affairs.
Artists selling their back catalogues is big business. Bruce Springsteen reportedly made £396m, while Bob Dylan is understood to have received up to 356m for his. Queen is reportedly planning a similar deal.