Sony’s Michael Jackson Bet Gets Complicated
Michael Jackson had been one of Sony Music Entertainment’s brightest stars before his 2009 death. And the seven-year, $250 million deal it struck with Jackson’s estate in 2018 to continue distributing his recordings was one of the biggest the industry had seen in some time.
But now, following the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, Sony’s Jackson bet is looking like a risky play, the WSJ reports.
The two-part film (which was the third-largest premiere of any HBO doc in a decade) details the claims of two men alleging Jackson sexually abused them as boys. And in the era of #MeToo and #MuteRKelly, sales, streaming, and commercial use of Jackson’s music could fall...
Which means lost business for Sony. Several radio stations in Canada and New Zealand have stopped playing Jackson, and (believe it or not) radio is still a big moneymaker for music companies—Deloitte estimates global radio revenue will climb to $40 billion this year, with more than 85% of adults listening to radio once a week.
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