Michael Jackson's Estate Extends Publishing Deal With Sony/ATV Music

Terry Lott/Sony Music Archive/Getty Images
Michael Jackson accepts a gold disc for "Thriller" in London in 1983.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing has announced an extension of its worldwide administration pact with Mijac Music, the publishing company that owns all of the songs written by Michael Jackson, the late "King of Pop." Founded by Jackson in 1980, the Mijac catalog also includes iconic songs written by funk icon Sly Stone and legendary soul hitmakers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff.

"[The] Mijac catalog is one of the most significant and valuable in music," commented Sony/ATV chairman and CEO Martin Bandier. "Michael's songwriting talents are respected and admired by everyone, but I also want to acknowledge his gifts as a smart businessman who put together an incredible catalog of classic songs."

If Jackson wrote it, it's in the Mijac catalog, a lucrative trove that includes hits like "Bad," "Beat It," "Billie Jean," "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Wanna Be Startin' Something'," "Black or White," "Heal the World," and dozens more. The catalog also include the blockbuster charity single "We Are the World," co-written with Lionel Richie, and his pair of hits with Paul McCartney, "The Girl Is Mine," which he wrote solo, and "Say Say Say," a collaboration with the former Beatle.

Not long after Mijac launched, Jackson began acquiring other works, beginning in 1983 with the catalog of Sylvester Stewart, better known as Sly Stone. That catalog includes Sly and the Family Stone hits including "Everyday People," "Dance to the Music" and "Family Affair," among others. Mijac later acquired tracks by Gamble and Huff, including "If You Don't Know Me by Now" and "Love Train," along with numerous songs made famous by legendary artists, including "Great Balls of Fire" (Jerry Lee Lewis), "When a Man Loves a Woman" (Percy Sledge) and "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" (Jackie Wilson).

Terms of the deal extension were not disclosed.

John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Jackson estate, remarked: "The incredible songs in the Mijac Music catalog showcase Michael’s creative genius as a songwriter, and further, his acumen in understanding the creative and commercial value of these acclaimed third party songs."

Bandier added praise to the estate, saying it "continues to further his vision and we are privileged to be the administrators of such an important collection of songs."

Sony's announcement that it will continue to administer the Mijac catalog arrives as Quincy Jones, the producer of many of those hits, battles it out in court with another sector of the MJ estate. Jones is currently suing MJJ Productions, saying he's owed millions of posthumous profits related to songs he produced for three of Jackson's solo albums, Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad. Closing arguments for the trial are expected to begin Monday, July 24.


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