Value: $31 million
In March, Sony Music Entertainment reached a deal with Jackson's estate to release 10 albums of the singer's music through 2017. The albums' content will vary-a collection of previously unreleased tracks is expected in November and a reissue of Epic's 1979 release of "Off the Wall" is anticipated next year. All told, the estate is guaranteed between $200 million and $250 million for the deal. Some of that amount was likely paid in an advance. No albums have yet been released, however. If just one of the contract's eight years is recognized, that would add $31 million to the money the estate received in the last 12 months. At the time of the deal, John Branca, who serves as special administrator for the estate alongside John McClain, said that Elvis is the model for Jackson's legacy. "To this day, there's interest in Elvis," he said. "And I think there will be enduring interest in Michael. It's our job to continue to expose Michael to new generations."
Reporting by Ed Christman, Ann Donahue, Gail Mitchell, Glenn Peoples and Ray Waddell.