** “MJ Song Catalog Will Moonwalk to Sony/ATV Publishing”
“Deal agreed over Michael Jackson catalogue”
August 20, 2012 6:06 pm
By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson in New York
Michael Jackson hits from Beat It to Billie Jean will for the first time be represented by the late singer’s publishing joint venture with Sony, after Sony/ATV Music Publishing agreed a deal to administer the Mijac Music catalogue.
The rights have been administered since Mijac was founded in 1980 by Warner-Chappell, the publishing arm of Warner Music. Publishing companies typically generate less revenue from administration deals than from copyrights they own.
The deal represents the latest move by Jackson’s executors to clean up what was a tangle of assets encumbered by large debts at the time of his death in 2009. Then, industry executives estimated the Mijac catalogue’s value at $50m-$100m, but there was a $73m loan from Barclays secured against it.
Within a year, Billboard estimated that the value of Mijac had risen to $150m, with a surge in sales of Jackson’s music after his death doubling annual revenues to $50m.
Jackson’s estate made clear in a message distributed to fan sites that it still owned Mijac and had no plans to sell. “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,” said John Branca, co-executor with Mr McClain.
Sony/ATV would administer the catalogue “for a limited term” and on ”unprecedented favourable terms”, he said. The estate had refinanced the loans on Mijac, which would be paid off, it added: “Mijac and Michael’s masters [the master rights] remain secure for the benefit of Michael’s children for years to come.”
Billboard estimated in 2010 that the singer’s estate had generated more than $1bn in revenues in the year after his death from the sale of about 9m albums, box office, DVD and television income from the concert film, This Is It, and other sources such as merchandising.
The Mijac deal comes before September’s planned 25th anniversary re-release of Bad, his 1987 album. Promotional activities for the anniversary include a deal with Pepsi, which will put silhouettes of the star on a billion cans in 20 countries.
“Michael Jackson Estate Deals Blow to Warner Music, Brings Publishing to Sony”
08/20/12 6:15pm Roger Friedman
The Michael Jackson music catalog, known as MiJac, has been moved to Sony-ATV from Warner Chappell. In layman’s terms: this is a blow to Warner Music and a major win for Sony. Even though MiJac was heavily leveraged for years, I’m told the loan from HSBC is down to around $4 million. The Michael Jackson estate still owes just under $300 million to Bank of America on separate loans Michael took against his ownership in Sony-ATV Music Publishing.
What’s happened now is that Jackson’s long contract with Warner Chappell, the publishing division of Warner Music Group, expired last December. Sony-ATV, in which he has a 50% ownership interest, had the right to match or better any offer when MiJac’s deal with WMG was done. The deal was actually completed a couple of months ago, I’m told. But with all the brouhaha concerning Katherine Jackson and the Jackson siblings demand to oust Michael’s executors, an announcement was put off.
Now all of Michael Jackson’s music publishing will be in one place: Sony-ATV. MiJac holds all of his songs like “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” plus hundreds of other publishing copyrights including everything by Sly Stone. It’s a plum win for Sony and a devastating loss for Warner Music. Warner Chappell was the only part of that company still doing well. To lose MiJac, especially since Jackson’s death and the renewed interest in his music, is a heavy setback. It’s unclear whether that was explained to Len Blavatnik and his Access Industries group when they bought WMG from Edgar Bronfman Jr last year.
Meantime: it’s been underlined that now neither MiJac nor Sony-ATV or the Beatles catalog, is for sale. The Jackson estate has done an excellent job of paying down the various loans and renegotiating the interest rates in more favorable terms.
related article in 2011
“Michael Jackson Song Catalog Will Moonwalk to Sony/ATV Publishing”
02/16/11 12:08 pm Roger Friedman 19
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.