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Author Topic: The Estate of Michael Jackson All News & Info  (Read 24308 times)

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Ben971

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May 2, 2011 · 2:07 PM
Michael Jackson Fan Fest details, plus late singer’s plans before death

By Robin Leach


The first-ever, estate-authorized Michael Jackson Fan Fest takes place here on the Strip starting Dec. 3 when the new Immortal Tour from Cirque du Soleil opens at Mandalay Bay. Vegas DeLuxe has now learned that for 4 hours before each of the 33 performances, fans will experience the legacy of The King of Pop in a very new way.

Already planned is an up-close look at Michael Jackson memorabilia, items from Neverland Ranch that have never been seen publicly, photo opportunities in re-created sets from Jackson videos and a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. There will be a main stage featuring contests and Q&A sessions with members of the creative team from Immortal and Michael’s other associates.

“In addition, the Fan Fest will give visitors the opportunity to play and compete against others in contests centered around the recently released Ubisoft video game Michael Jackson: The Experience. An interactive, engaging and immersive design will create a larger-than-life environment for all Fan Fest goers and promises to be a one-of-a-kind event,” one of the organizers said.

The Michael Jackson Fan Fest will be open to those who want to participate in it and to ticket holders of the touring show. Fan Fest will be set up in the Bay East and West Halls of Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

This week, we’ll post our interviews with the partners of Team Michael Jackson involved with the new Cirque du Soleil shows headed here -- the touring show and the new permanent residency show opening in 2013 as part of an MJ Zone at the resort. First up is a rare and revealing interview with the co-executor of the estate, attorney and former manager John Branca.

Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil; Chuck Bowling, president and COO of Mandalay Bay; Jackie Jackson, brother of Michael Jackson; John Branca, co-executor of The Michael Jackson Estate; and Jamie King, writer and director of Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, at Mandalay Bay on April 27, 2011.

Robin Leach: When you took on this enormous responsibility, I think it’s safe to say that at that moment, neither his family nor his fans understood what your role was. You’ve not only polished the reputation, you’ve protected the reputation, and you’ve built an enormous industry going forward. When you sat down those first moments after his tragic death and said I am the co-executor of the estate, what was in your mind to achieve for the man you once managed?

John Branca: That’s a big question. First of all, when that job was handed to me, I was thankful because a lot of Michael’s fans were really supportive. They had felt that since I’d been there with him since January 1980 that John McClain and I were the right co-executors for the job. So that gave me some confidence, but we had to prove ourselves, and there were a lot of challenges. The fact that I’d worked with Michael on and off for 30 years and that I had come to know him so well in terms of his business approach gave me a big advantage.

I kind of felt like I knew what to do right from the start. I think if somebody brand new had come in, it would have taken them a year or two just to figure everything out. But John McClain went to high school with Michael, I worked with him on and off for 30 years. It almost seemed natural.

It didn’t seem like, “OK, we have to figure this out.” It was just once the judge handed the baton to us, we just started running. The one thing that I think made it easy was our decision to authorize and release the movie This Is It because when I saw that footage, I realized, in my opinion, that people would see Michael in a different way. They would see Michael the perfectionist, they would see the reason why he was a great artist. At the same time, you would see his humanity. Michael did not talk down to his musicians and his dancers. He was a very gentle but demanding human being.

We felt if we put this movie out, people would see Michael in a whole different way, and fortunately that was the case. And it went on to become by far the most successful concert documentary movie of all time. As busy as he was, I’m certain he got time to see the video shot of himself from those final rehearsals. I’m sure he did review it to study it to see which parts he might want to do better. I don’t know for a fact, but I’m pretty sure he reviewed some of it, although not all of it
.
RL: Do you get any criticism, or if there was any, how did you answer it about making so much money out of his name? First of all, I’m presuming some of that moneymaking was forced on you because of his large debts that had to be straightened out.

JB: We viewed our obligation as really to Michael, in terms of his legacy and his work, and then to his mother and his children. And what we wanted to do over time was to be able to put the Estate into a condition where eventually when it was handed over to his own three children down the line, it would be in much better shape than when we inherited it. So it’s our job to generate income. If we sat around and did nothing, it would be a disservice.

RL: Do you eventually relinquish this work, and then it goes to the three children?

JB: Down the road. Well down the road. Under Michael’s trust, which is confidential, there is a date at which when the children reach a certain age, the assets get distributed, and as is typical in high income, high-network families, you don’t turn it over too soon. You wait until the kids are older.

RL: So they have to be well over 21. If Michael was witness to everything that’s going on now, with what you’ve done, what you’ve managed to achieve, do you think he would approve and it would all have his blessing?

JB: I think so. I think that because of the many conversations I’d had with him over the years. It wasn’t so much that he spoke about his own immortality, but he spoke about his legacy. I met with Michael the week before he passed away, and we had an agenda to go over about future affairs. A couple of months before, he had said through his manager Frank DiLeo that he wanted me to start thinking things, ideas, so when I came into that meeting, I had an agenda with a lot of ideas. I left knowing which ones Michael wanted, and so what we have done is what he wanted anyway.

The other thing is that John McClain had said to me, if we went to Michael and said let’s put out a film of your rehearsal footage, he would have said, “Are you of your mind?” Michael was a perfectionist, so purely rehearsal footage would have been a no. But if we’d said to him, ‘Michael they’re gonna pay you X amount of money, and it’s going to be the most successful concert film ever, and the album will go to No. 1, and it’s going to outsell Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber combined, what do you think then? He would have instantly said, “Where do I sign?”

RL: This meeting that you had a week before he passed. Was it in any way a premonition, or in getting ready to fly to London for an extended stay with This Is It, was it just being protective and the normal case of keeping one’s life in order?

JB: I had not been working with Michael since 2006. I had resigned. But in 2009, he signed up for the This Is It concert tour. I said to myself humbly, “I’m not sure that there’s anybody else that can help Michael achieve what he wants to achieve. Not artistically, because he was the master with that, but business-wise. I called the AEG people and his manager to simply let Michael know if he wanted any help and had the interest, I’m here for him.

I got the calls back, and they said Michael wants you to implement a plan. So over the course of a couple of months, we gave it a lot of thought, and I was ready to meet him on the Wednesday -- never thinking for a moment he would be dead that weekend. It was far more about helping him have a plan from the concerts. The timing was totally coincidental … it was not a premonition. Those outlines, however, became our blueprint for protecting and ensuring his legacy. It’s what he wanted to do anyway.

Cirque du Soleil and Michael Jackson

RL: Would he have wanted this amazing partnership with Cirque du Soleil?

JB: I took Michael to his first Cirque show. We went together back in the early ’80s. It was a tent show in a Santa Monica parking lot next to the pier. He loved it! We had to go backstage after because he wanted to say hello to all of the entertainers. He was a huge Cirque fan. He saw every one of the Cirque shows. He went to Montreal to see Cirque headquarters and watch all the performers at work. In his way, he is now working with Cirque, which is something he always wanted to do.

RL: Your prediction for Cirque’s arena tour and for the second show and the Neverland re-created museum of memorabilia here -- a prediction on it all?

JB: My philosophy is you do the best you can in creating what you’re creating. And if you do a good-enough job and it’s Michael Jackson and Michael’s music with Cirque and Jamie King, well, the results speak for themselves.

RL: Final question: You worked with him for a long period of time. What was his genius, what was it about him that had that mega appeal to connect with everybody around the world? Did he even understand it himself?

JB: Michael’s genius was multifaceted. He started out as this incredible young singer and dancer that then got molded through the Berry Gordy Motown music factory into becoming the consummate entertainer. He then started to write his own music. Who knew he was a songwriter? Then after Off the Wall, he started to produce his own music. He produced “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” with Quincy Jones and co-produced “Bad.

His talent kept unfolding and growing -- part of it because he was so driven to perfection and he studied the other greats. The other part was an innate likability about him. You read stories of great artists with egos, and nobody wants to be around them. That was not Michael. Michael was a great artist and a great genius, and everybody loved him.

RL: I had the privilege of having a Chinese dinner with him one night at the Wynn hotel here. He was the most regular, likeable guy in the world.

JB: Exactly, and then when he was ready to go onstage, he went to another level of superstar.

John told me that Michael has 32 million friends on Facebook and that his older brother Jackie Jackson is very involved with the Estate. “Jackie has been working with us at the estate on many projects, including developing a very high-end leather jacket line inspired by Michael’s videos that will be available retail at the MJ Zone in Mandalay Bay,” he said.

Tomorrow, we’ll post the conversation with Jackie, along with how Mandalay Bay President Chuck Bowling plans to set up his hotel for the experience. Later in the week, our interviews continue with Immortal director Jamie King and Cirque President Daniel Lamarre.

John summed up: “We are thrilled to establish Michael’s home away from home here at Mandalay Bay. Very few fans would ever get to visit Michael’s Neverland Ranch because of its remote location. But millions of Michael’s fans will now come to Mandalay Bay to hear Michael’s music and experience Michael in many other ways.

“When we think about Fan Fest, Michael was always a fan of Beatles Fest, Elvis Week, Star Wars conventions, and he used to say, ‘Someday I want to have my own fan convention.’ Michael’s fans have told us they also want the same thing, so we are thrilled to accomplish another one of Michael’s objectives. We look forward to working with our partners to make happen all the things Michael himself wanted.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.


http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/blogs/luxe-life/2011/may/02/michael-jackson-fan-fest-details-plus-late-singers/

Ben971

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Sony/ATV Said to Have Submitted Takeover Offer for Warner Music
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2011, 08:27:31 PM »
Sony/ATV Said to Have Submitted Takeover Offer for Warner Music
By Cristina Alesci and Andy Fixmer - May 3, 2011 

Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, owned by Sony Corp. (6758) and Michael Jackson’s estate, submitted a bid for Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) ahead of yesterday’s deadline, two people with knowledge of the auction said.

Sony/ATV is working with billionaire Ronald Perelman and Guggenheim Partners LLC, said the people, who weren’t authorized to talk publicly. Warner Music yesterday called a board meeting with the aim of picking a buyer in 48 hours.

Sony/ATV’s entry increases the number of known bidders to three after billionaire investor Ron Burkle decided to walk away last week. Len Blavatnik, a former Warner Music director, and brothers Tom and Alec Gores also submitted bids ahead of the deadline, people familiar with the offers said yesterday.

Will Tanous, a spokesman for New York-based Warner Music, and Liz Young, a spokeswoman for Sony Music in New York, had no comment. Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes in New York, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Jeffrey Kelley, a spokesman for Guggenheim in Chicago, couldn’t be reached immediately.

Warner Music, which began seeking offers in January, fell 8 cents to $7.33 at 1:44 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock had climbed 31 percent this year before today.

The record company, home to artists including Cee Lo Green and the Black Keys, has long-term debt of $1.94 billion, according to company filings.

Eight of Warner Music’s 13 directors are executives of Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Bain Capital LLC, two Boston-based private-equity firms that together hold 51 percent of the company’s shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Providence Equity Partners owns 8.3 percent and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edgar Bronfman Jr. owns about 7 percent.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-03/sony-atv-is-said-to-have-submitted-takeover-offer-for-warner-music-group.html



Offline moonstreet

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Copyright Consultant Talks about Michaels Estate
« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2011, 10:40:22 AM »
http://www.blacknews.com/news/deeann_mathews101.shtml?sms_ss=twitter&at_xt=4dc57e7281cb6e50,0

Copyright Consultant Reveals Little-Known Fact About the Future of Michael Jackson's Estate

-- Music businesswoman Deeann D. Mathews shares how copyright law details worth billions for Jackson's heirs can be used by all musicians to better control the use of their music. --

San Francisco, CA (BlackNews.com) - Giving insight into why the struggle over Michael Jackson's estate may have been so fierce, Deeann D. Mathews, copyright consultant and author of The Freedom Guide for Music Creators, reveals a secret to the value of the estate of the late "King of Pop" -- recapture rights.

Most musicians believe that once they assign their copyright to a publishing company, they give up control for all time. But U.S. Copyright law includes a provision in which a songwriter or their heirs can "recapture," or regain full administrative control of their songs. Mathews says, "35 years after your work has been published, or 40 years after you've assigned your work to a publisher if publication has not happened, a five-year period begins in which you or your heirs can demand full control of your copyrights back. There is nothing a publisher can do but give you what you want, if you do it right."

The only catch: You must formalize your demand in writing two years before you want your song back. In other words, the latest you could file your demand is the 38th year after your work has been published, or the 43rd year after your work went to a publisher but was not published.

In the case of Michael Jackson, many of his early solo hits are now in the recapture period, including "Got to Be There" (1972) and "Ben." (1972). Jackson 5 hits in the recapture period include "Sugar Daddy" (1972), and the huge hit "Dancing Machine" (1973, re-released as a single in 1974). Next year, the Jackson 5's "All I Do is Think of You" and the solo "Take Me Back" will enter the recapture period (both released in 1975, 34 years ago). In five years, Jackson's hit "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" (1979) will enter the recapture period, and in eight years, everything on Jackson's mega-hit album Thriller (1982) will also enter the recapture period.

"The control of millions of not billions of dollars in assets would go from the music industry back to Jackson's heirs if they were to pursue these rights," says Mathews. "The takeaway for every musician should be this: you also can exercise similar control. If you're not happy with what your publisher is doing, or if you are happy but you think you can do better, get those letters of demand ready for that 35th year."


About Deeann D. Mathews
Deeann D. Mathews, award-winning composer, copyright consultant and author of The Freedom Guide for Music Creators, has helped a number of songwriters register and protect their copyrights, researched copyright status for songs in major projects, and educated music students on the basics of the music industry. For more information, visit Mathews' "Music Business a Go-Go" site at http://www.squidoo.com/freedomguide


CONTACT:
D.D. Mathews
415-368-6976

Ben971

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Re: Copyright Consultant Talks about Michaels Estate
« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2011, 11:01:45 AM »
Wow, thanks  :moony:. That's indeed extremely interesting. I trust Branca & McClain on this one.

LastTear

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Re: Copyright Consultant Talks about Michaels Estate
« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2011, 11:12:31 AM »
 :goodpost:  :moony: Very interesting article.  :thumbup:

Offline moonstreet

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Re: Copyright Consultant Talks about Michaels Estate
« Reply #35 on: May 08, 2011, 11:20:27 AM »
thank you, see there ALOT more behind the Jacksons wanting to  take control  of the estate, its not just about being able to use Michaels image for tacky merchandise etc, the Jacksons WANT control of Michaels music too. This means that by the children are of legal age, they will start to benefit from Thriller and then a few years later BAD, which means huge huge money coming to them in the future, with the Jacksons cut out! Michael knew EXACTLY what he was doing when he made that will, which is why the Jacksons are fighting so much, not only have no access to the current money, they have no access to the FUTURE money either!

LastTear

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Re: Copyright Consultant Talks about Michaels Estate
« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2011, 02:35:20 PM »
As they chose not to contest the will I don't understand why the family work against the estate so much, unless the only reason the didn't contest it was because of the children, perhaps it wouldn't be so cut and dried for them to stay with Katherine??

Offline moonstreet

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Re: Copyright Consultant Talks about Michaels Estate
« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2011, 02:41:58 PM »
possibly, lose the children and they lose connection to Michael. This way they get the children involved in their shady schemes & it gives a legitimacy and officialness

Offline moonstreet

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Michael Jackson Estate: What's Next?
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2011, 01:32:19 PM »
http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1674017/michael-jackson-estate-post-conrad-murray.jhtml

Nov 9 2011 6:53 AM EST 52
Michael Jackson Estate: What's Next?
Post-Conrad Murray trial projects include Fan Fest in Las Vegas, Bad reissue and Cirque du Soleil's 'Immortal' soundtrack.
By Gil Kaufman


Michael Jackson has remained just as big a star in death as he was in life — if not bigger. Like Elvis, Bob Marley, Frank Sinatra and Tupac Shakur before him, interest in all things Jackson spiked following the singer's death and continues to be strong two years after his shocking passing on June 25, 2009.

Jackson's name has been in the news on a daily basis over the past month thanks to the involuntary manslaughter trial of his former physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who was found guilty, the jury announced Monday. It's not the kind of publicity the Jackson estate is looking for, but with the trial now over, the focus will likely turn to the next projects from the singer's vaults.

To date, the estate has been busy lining up one project after another, beginning with 2009's This Is It, the documentary on Jackson's planned comeback tour that grossed close to $200 million worldwide on its way to becoming the #2 music documentary of all time.

That was followed by the release of Michael, a posthumous album with unreleased Jackson tracks that sold more than 500,000 copies, alongside more than 1 million units of the This Is It soundtrack. There were also 3 million units shifted of the Ubisoft video game "Michael Jackson: The Experience," which helped rack up the more than $1 billion the estate has brought in since Jackson's death through a combination of music sales, film/TV revenue, music publishing, licensing and a $31 million recording contract with Sony.

Cirque du Soleil's traveling MJ extravaganza, "Immortal," made its American debut this month, boasting a soundtrack that features a number of mash-ups and reimaginings of the singer's music, plus some previously unheard bits. The show's soundtrack is slated to hit stores November 21.

When the show hits Las Vegas in December, it will coincide with the annual Michael Jackson Fan Fest (December 3-14), the ritual gathering of the flock that this year will include a raft of never-before-seen memorabilia from the King of Pop. Among the items at the first-ever estate-authorized fest at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino are the actual gates of Neverland Ranch, Jackson's personal book collection, the 1999 Rolls Royce Seraph limousine with 24-karat gold embellishments designed by the singer, the 10-foot-tall HIStory statue, the spaceship set from the "Scream" video, the throne from the Egyptian-themed "Remember the Time" clip and the tank from the "Earth Song" live performance.

Also reportedly due soon is a repackaging of Jackson's 1987 Bad album, which, like previous reissues, is expected to feature previously unearthed bonus material. The original album featured landmark songs such as the title track, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Man in the Mirror," "Smooth Criminal" and "Dirty Diana."

Given the amount of unreleased material that was reportedly left in the vaults at Jackson's death, there is a strong possibility that another album of unheard tunes could be in the offing soon as well.



Offline moonstreet

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Universal, Sony, to buy parts of EMI Group
« Reply #39 on: November 12, 2011, 05:47:32 PM »
http://www.freep.com/article/20111112/BUSINESS07/111120329/Universal-Sony-buy-parts-EMI-Group?odyssey=nav%7Chead

Universal, Sony, to buy parts of EMI Group
1:34 AM, Nov. 12, 2011

EMI Group, the iconic British music company that is home to the Beatles, Coldplay and Katy Perry, is being split and sold for $4.1 billion.

The deal will open EMI's buyers, Universal Music and Sony/ATV, to regulatory scrutiny as they increase their dominance of the music industry.

Universal Music Group said Friday that it will pay $1.9 billion for the recording division. A consortium led by Sony/ATV reached a separate deal to pay $2.2 billion for EMI's publishing division, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Both deals are expected to be carefully reviewed in Europe, the U.S., Japan and Australia.


Offline moonstreet

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Re: Universal, Sony, to buy parts of EMI Group
« Reply #40 on: November 12, 2011, 05:49:50 PM »
http://www.forbes.com/sites/zackomalleygreenburg/2011/11/11/sony-led-group-officially-buys-emi-publishing-from-citi/

INVESTING | 11/11/2011 @ 7:43PM |704 views
Sony-Led Group Officially Buys EMI Publishing From Citi


Updating an earlier post, Citigroup has officially agreed to sell EMI’s publishing arm to a group of investors led by Sony for $2.2 billion.

According to the statement just issued by Sony, the group includes billionaire David Geffen, Mubadala Development Company, PJSC Jynwel Capital Limited, the Blackstone Group’s GSO Capital Partners LP and the estate of Michael Jackson, which co-owns the Sony/ATV music catalog.

It’s expected that Sony/ATV, led by former EMI CEO Marty Bandier, will oversee the catalog.

“EMI Music Publishing has some of the best songs and artists in the world,” said Bandier in the statement. “I am excited to be reunited with the incredible songs, writers and people of a company I helped build. Our track record at Sony/ATV over the past four years demonstrates our ability to build a strong platform that sustains significant growth. The opportunity represented by this transaction is both transformative for Sony/ATV and a truly special moment for me, personally.”

Offline MJVoyeur

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Re: Universal, Sony, to buy parts of EMI Group
« Reply #41 on: November 13, 2011, 02:42:43 AM »
Does this mean that Michael's estate has a share in buying EMI?

Offline moonstreet

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Judge shifts expenses from Michael Jackson executors
« Reply #42 on: December 30, 2011, 05:38:14 PM »
http://music-mix.ew.com/2011/12/20/michael-jackson-estate/

Judge shifts expenses from Michael Jackson executors
by Associated Press DEC 20 2011 06:39 AM ET


The executors of Michael Jackson’s estate will no longer have to pay some legal expenses and other costs out of their own pockets after a judge approved changes Monday to the estate that has earned hundreds of millions of dollars since the pop star’s death.

The changes approved by Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff mean attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain will no longer pay the costs from their share of the estate.

The men had been paying fees for entertainment legal counsel provided by members of Branca’s firm, and McClain had been incurring expenses for the use of a recording studio founded by Marvin Gaye.

Those expenses significantly diminished their 10 percent share of Jackson’s post-death earnings.

Branca and McClain have been collecting closer to 7 percent of the estate earnings since it became a “massive entertainment business enterprise,” court filings state.

Estate attorneys sought the change, saying the executors spend more time than they anticipated on Jackson’s affairs. The men have overseen numerous Jackson-themed projects, including the licensing of music, video games and a touring Cirque du Soleil show that will eventually become a Las Vegas fixture.

The men agreed in February 2010 to accept 10 percent of the gross entertainment-related earnings of the estate, minus money generated by Jackson’s 50 percent interest in the Sony-ATV music catalog and earnings from This Is It, a film compiled from the singer’s final rehearsals.

The exclusions are huge revenue generators for the estate — the Sony-ATV catalog includes publishing rights to music by The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and other stars. The executors also have been excluded an interest in Jackson’s music, which has sold briskly since his death on June 25, 2009, at age 50.

Since then, the estate has earned more than $310 million.

The percentage covers Branca’s work on the estate and McClain’s producing services.

Under the deal approved Monday, Branca’s firm Ziffren Brittenham LLP will now receive 3 percent of entertainment-related income generated by Jackson’s estate in 2011 and future years.

Estate attorney Howard Weitzman said the firm was performing work that would cost more than $2 million a year if it was being handled by another firm, and court filings state that a traditional entertainment estate would include additional managers and attorneys who would receive up to 30 percent of the estate’s overall revenue.

There was no estimate for how much McClain’s billings might be. He bought and restored Gaye’s former Los Angeles studio in 1997, christening it Marvin’s Room, and Jackson and other top singers have recorded music there.

The estate benefits Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and the singer’s three children, Prince, Paris, and Blanket, who received an initial $30 million payment earlier this year.

Attorneys for Katherine Jackson and the children had no objection to the changes approved by Beckloff. Meg Lodise, who represents the children’s interest, said, “It is quite clear that what they’re proposing is going to be fair to the estate.”

Weitzman told Beckloff that the estate has recently resolved creditors’ claims worth at least $11 million and is working to resolve any other valid outstanding debts. Jackson died with an estimated $400 million in debts, but renewed interest in his music and career have fattened the estate’s accounts, which listed $90 million in cash on hand according to a September court filing.

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MJ Estate News
« Reply #43 on: January 05, 2012, 11:27:40 PM »
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/michael-jacksons-estate-wants-to-keep-thrilling-01052012.html

Michael Jackson's Estate Wants to Keep Thrilling
More than two years after his death, Jackson is still on top. His estate wants to keep him there

By Ronald Grover and Andy Fixmer
January 05, 2012, 3:30 PM EST


More than two years after his death, Michael Jackson is still moonwalking to the bank. Already one of the best-selling artists of all time, the singer was the top-selling act of 2009, thanks to a post-mortem surge in interest in his albums. That raised his career total to more than 750 million records worldwide. This Is It, the backstage look at Jackson’s unrealized final tour, was released four months after his death and became the highest-grossing concert film ever. In the 18 months after his passing, his estate reported that it collected $310 million from music, merchandise sales, and its share of publication rights on a music catalog that includes songs by the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Jackson himself.

Now the hard part begins. As unseemly as it may sound, the first year of a celebrity’s death can be a bonanza. “When a star first dies, fans are desperate for just one more performance,” says Mark Young, a University of Southern California professor who specializes in sports and entertainment. Maintaining that buzz could be a challenge for even the King of Pop as fans move on to the next Lady Gaga-du-jour. Jackson wouldn’t be the first king to fade. The Elvis Presley estate, long the gold standard of money-making by dead stars, now has all the earmarks of an aging brand. In 2010 the estate generated $57 million for CKX, which owns the rights to the Elvis name.

Not bad for someone who’s been dead for more than 30 years. Still, tourist visits fell in five of the last six years at Graceland, Presley’s Memphis home, which provides more than half the estate’s revenue. Occupancy at the Heartbreak Hotel next door slid from 80 percent in 2006 to 67 percent in 2010. That’s a reason the estate scrapped plans to develop a hotel and convention center adjoining Graceland, taking a $900,000 write-off. “We learned a lot from the Elvis estate, and we see opportunities,” says John Branca, Jackson’s former lawyer who is co-executor for the estate with music executive John McClain.

Branca has tackled some urgent financial issues. He refinanced $300 million in debt that was pledged against the singer’s 50 percent stake in Sony/ATV, the music catalog behind much of his wealth. The estate paid off Jackson’s $4 million mortgage on the family home in Encino, Calif., and paid $35 million to concert promoter AEG to satisfy debts from the singer’s aborted tour. In all, Jackson’s debt was cut to around $300 million from $500 million. In November the estate was part of a group that agreed to pay $2.2 billion for EMI’s music publishing business, bolstering the revenue stream for its beneficiaries—Jackson’s mother Katherine, his three children, and some unnamed charities.

Now, the estate is focusing on projects to keep the Jackson flame alive for long-time fans while introducing younger audiences to his work. Jackson left behind enough music for one more album, according to a person with knowledge of the singer’s business. (A 2010 album of new songs that the estate released sold a half-million copies.) Plans for a biopic film have been shelved, however, until the right script and director come along. The executors can wait: The estate has rights to Jackson’s music, so an unauthorized film is unrealistic.

The estate signed with Ubisoft for a video game Branca hopes will help introduce a new generation to moonwalking like the master. It also paid half the $60 million production cost for Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, a show by Cirque du Soleil that opened in October. Rather than backing a show anchored on Broadway or in Las Vegas, Branca opted for a touring show in hopes that fans will bring their kids—who later may become fans themselves. The estate gets half of ticket and merchandise sales plus royalties.

Once The Immortal’s U.S. tour is over, foreign versions will continue. A permanent Cirque show will open in Las Vegas in 2013, along with an interactive museum where fans can dance with the mummies from the Thriller music video. A Broadway show and a tribute concert tour could be next. “There’s a whole generation out there who doesn’t know about Michael and his music,” says Branca. “We’re going to change that.”

The bottom line: Thanks in part to a wave of fan interest, Michael Jackson’s estate was able to trim about $200 million from his debts after his death.

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Re: The Estate of Michael Jackson All News & Info
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http://www.grammy.org/news/entertainment-law-initiative-luncheon-set-for-feb-10-2012-0

John Branca Will Be Honored at Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon Set For Feb. 10, 2012
December 19, 2011 -- 4:20 pm


The GRAMMY Foundation announced today that Daniel Ek, co-founder and CEO of Spotify, will deliver the keynote address at the GRAMMY Foundation's 14th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon & Scholarship Presentation on Feb. 10, 2012, at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. John Branca, a partner in the law firm of Ziffren Brittenham LLP and former Board Chair of MusiCares, will be the recipient of the 2012 Service Award at the at this year's luncheon.

"For close to 15 years, our GRAMMY Foundation Entertainment Law Initiative has created a forum where law students and seasoned attorneys can come together for research, dialogue and debate in the field of entertainment law," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. "This year, we are pleased to have a digital visionary such as Daniel Ek join us for what will undoubtedly be an insightful and thought-provoking keynote address. It is also our pleasure to honor our good friend, former MusiCares Board Chair and steward of our current MusiCares 20th Anniversary Campaign, John Branca, with our Service Award. Both of these individuals are at the forefront of our industry."

Ek, a serial entrepreneur and technologist who started his first company in 1997 at the age of 14, co-founded Spotify in 2006 with Martin Lorentzon. As CEO of Spotify, Ek's role is to guide the vision and strategy of the company as it grows. Leading the management team from his hometown of Stockholm, Ek is also responsible for nurturing a passionate working environment for everyone at Spotify.

Prior to Spotify, Ek founded Advertigo, the online advertising company acquired by TradeDoubler, and previously held senior roles at Nordic auction company Tradera. He was also chief technology officer at Stardoll, the fashion and entertainment community for tweens with more than 100 million users worldwide.

"It's a really exciting time for the music industry," said Ek. "Today we have the ability to listen to all the world's music, instantly and wherever we are on the planet. That's a pretty amazing idea and one which inspired me to launch Spotify. I'm a big supporter of the GRAMMY Foundation's Entertainment Law Initiative and look forward to catching up with everyone in February."

The Service Award was established in 2006 to recognize contributions by prominent entertainment attorneys that include outstanding service to individuals (pro bono or otherwise); leadership and participation with organizations that help advance the music community; and work to affect positive change that benefits the community overall. Past honorees include David Braun, Jay L. Cooper, John T. Frankenheimer, Joel A. Katz, Paul G. Marshall, and Al Schlesinger.

"I'm honored by the recognition and pleased to join such a distinguished group of past Service Award recipients," added Branca. "Daniel is one of our industry's real visionaries, and I looking forward his talk, as well as hearing about the topics presented in the winning student papers — they often prove to be cutting-edge topics in our industry."

Branca specializes in the music and live appearance industries. He is a leading artist representative, having represented an unprecedented 29 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including Aerosmith, the Beach Boys, Bee Gees, the Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones, and Carlos Santana, among others, and such other artists and celebrities as Enrique Iglesias, Nickelback and Mike Tyson. He has been at the forefront in the acquisition and sale of music publishing catalogs, including the acquisition of the Beatles catalog, ATV Music, for Michael Jackson, as well as its merger with Sony Music to create the world's third-largest music publisher, Sony ATV Music. Branca has also been the architect of the sales of many major music catalogs, including Berry Gordy's Jobete Music Co., the Kurt Cobain catalog, the Leiber and Stoller catalog, and the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization.

He serves on the board of trustees for Occidental College, participates as an active fundraiser for the UCLA athletic department and serves as the Co-Chairman of MusiCares' 20th Anniversary Campaign. Branca also serves on the Board of Trustees for the GRAMMY Museum and the Pauley Pavilion Renovation Campaign Committee.


The ELI luncheon is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week, a celebration that will culminate with the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012. The telecast will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

ELI has three components: the Writing Competition, a GRAMMY Week ELI luncheon featuring a prominent keynote speaker and a Legal Seminar series. The ELI Writing Competition invites law students to write a 3,000-word paper on a compelling legal topic facing the music industry today. Past award-winning topics have featured issues germane and timely to the music industry including bootlegging, music sampling and litigation against peer-to-peer network users. The deadline to submit an online application is Jan. 2, 2012, at 11 a.m. PT. For complete contest rules, send an email to eli@grammy.com.

The contest culminates with the winning student authors discussing their essays in a question-and-answer presentation at the prestigious ELI luncheon. Past luncheon keynote speakers have included Edgar Bronfman Jr., chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group; Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); Clive Davis, chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment; Timothy J. Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG; will.i.am, GRAMMY Foundation Board member and frontman/producer of the Black Eyed Peas; and Strauss Zelnick, former president and CEO of BMG Entertainment, among others.

Once again, this year the Foundation added ELI Writing Competition workshops at prominent law schools around the country with the goal of helping students with their essays. ELI also continued its partnership this year with www.box.com to allow students to upload their submissions directly over the Internet. Box.com's mission is to make it easy for individuals and businesses to access, manage and share all their content online.

For information on purchasing tables or tickets to the event, please call Loren Fishbein at 310.392.3777 or email loren.fishbein@grammy.com.