Michael Jackson Estate Sells Publishing Rights Of Beatles Songs To Sony

thebeatlesbannerIt always seemed like such a travesty that Michael Jackson acquired ATV in 1985. ATV was the company that evolved from Northern Songs, which held the publishing rights to most of the 200-plus song Beatles catalogue. It just never sat right that Jackson out-maneuvered and outbid Paul McCartney for the rights.

Today, any hopes that McCartney and the Lennon estate might re-acquire the rights have been dashed with the news that the Jackson estate has sold his 50 percent share in ATV to Sony for $750 million. It’s a helluva deal for the Jackson estate when you consider the original price in 1985 was $47.5 million.

As Forbes noted, $750 million is more than the combined earnings of the eight highest-paid music acts of 2015 combined: Katy Perry, One Direction, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Justin Timberlake, Diddy, and Fleetwood Mac. I suppose that speaks to the value of those incredible Beatles songs.

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But for the life of me I can’t understand how McCartney and Yoko couldn’t have pooled their resources and come up with a higher bid. We’ve been led to believe that Paul’s got that kind of cash floating around underneath the cushions on his couch. The Beatles still get fully paid for the sale of their own recordings, and maybe that’s good enough for both of them.

At least there’s some comfort in knowing that Sony knows the value of the Beatles catalogue, and they certainly don’t give away the rights for things like ads for Vinnie’s Carpet Emporium. The creators of the TV show Mad Men reportedly paid $250,000 for the rights to use the song ‘Tomorrow Never Knows” in one of their episodes.

So we can be reasonably sure that they won’t be cheapening the value of Beatles songs in any significant way. Still, when you’re talking about the greatest songwriting team of the 20th Century, this deal continues to not sit quite right with me.

Photo credit: By Omroepvereniging VARA (Beeld en Geluidwiki – Gallery: The Beatles) [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

One comment to “Michael Jackson Estate Sells Publishing Rights Of Beatles Songs To Sony”
  1. Pingback: Paul McCartney Hasn’t Given Up His Pursuit Of The Rights To Beatles Songs | Rocknuts

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