Friday, June 26, 2009

The King of Pop, Inc.

Time author Adam Smith recently reported on the debt of the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. This short, yet reveling, story can be found on Yahoo by clicking here. It is sad when a person of Michael Jackson's vast talent passes on with such staggering debt--reported to be between 300 million and close to 600 million dollars. While much of the reporting on Michael Jackson's debt at the time of his passing is speculation, we do know that he lost his Neverland Ranch to foreclosure as a result of defaulting on substantial loans and that the debt was huge.

Yet, much of the reporting only tells half of the financial story. Michael Jackson enjoyed two valuable commodities during his life that survived his death--(1) intellectual property in the form of music and song catalogs and (2) his name and likeness (i.e., publicity rights). The ability to monetize these assets is legally and financially more significant than the hefty debt his lifestyle created. His estate's earning power will play out in the next few months and years. The income-generating property of Michael Jackson's estate could rival or even surpass that of the other Music King, the King of Rock Elvis Presley.