Saturday, June 28, 2014

Michael Jackson Exhibit at The rock'n'popmuseum in Gronau, Germany

For Michael Jackson fans in or around Germany : There will be a nice exhibition at the rock´n'popmuseum in Gronau Germany of Michael Jackson memorabilia, from the private collection of Chris Julian Dittmar. ~ Qbee

Michael Jackson Memorabilia - The Dittmar Collection

Starting June 24th 2014 at The Rock N Pop Museum in Gronau, Germany 
Special Exhibition from June 24, 2014 - Sept 21, 2014

Just one day before Michaels 5th Anniversary of his untimely passing on June 24, 2014, the doors of the exhibition opens for fans and museum visitors. They will see a extract from the "Dittmar Collection", the private collection of Chris Julian Dittmar, which is among the largest and most valuable Michael Jackson collections worldwide. Hundreds of exhibits, the collector from his possession together with the aim to bring the visitors to both the private individual as well as the world famous Mega Star closer, who held the world for decades in breathless.

Michael Jackson was already a living legend. His untimely death in June 2009 made him immortal. The King Of Pop is one of the most famous people in history. He broke all records in the music industry. With Thriller, the best-selling album of all time, he won eight Grammy awards in one night. 4.5 million viewers watched his History World Tour, which is the most successful concert tour of all time. For his planned comeback in July 2009 at London's O2 Arena nearly 1 million tickets for the This Is were sold within a few minutes for the This is it concert series and his memorial service saw more than 1.5 billion people around the world - these are just a few of his countless records.

Chris Julian Dittmar
Exhibits include garments of the singer, including an original Billie Jean jacket that he wore in Pensacola during rehearsals for his BAD World Tour 1988, also signed by the artist and a worn shoe. Another eye-catcher are several original awards, such as: a Platinum Award, Michael Jackson was presented for 7,000,000 sold records, CDs and cassettes of the album Dangerous. Among the exhibits include a  original invitation to the private funeral and burial of Michael Jackson, which was held in Glendale on September 3, 2009 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.  video clips and audio material round off the varied appearance of the special exhibition. An audio guide provides the visitors detailed information about the objects to lift the self-imposed veil of legend.

Museum guests will have until September 21, 2014 the opportunity to visit the exhibition on the King of Pop.

Udo Lindenberg-Platz 1
48599 Gronau
Phone +49 2562 8148-0

Opening times:

Wed to Sun: 10 - 18 clock
in the school holidays also open on Tuesdays (NRW). Exception: Tuesday, June 10 will be closed the museum.

About The  Museum

On 21 July 2004, the Europe-wide unique home of rock and pop history opened its doors near the Dutch border. The museum tells the cultural history of popular music in the 20th century, supported by the latest media technology. Quite aware, the museum as a new forum of pop culture and its artistic diversity.

The rock'n'popmuseum is not a place of devotional presented alone. The focus is the music. The exhibition combined experience with information, sensual experience with interaction: sound and media installations corridors make sound experience. Sounds outstanding musicians put the visitor in former concert venues. The development of sounds - from wax cylinder to digital sound art - is made audible and tangible. In addition, the museum offers an extensive background to some 100 years of rock and pop history.

Michael Jackson's Last Photo Shoot Documentary Leads to Copyright Dispute

After being promoted for a Brazil TV special for June 25th, the adds and website for the  Documentary from the 2007 "The Last Photo Shoot"  seemed to disappear into thin air. Now we have the reasons why through this exclusive story from The Michael Jackson estate put a halt to the documentary claiming copyright ownership of the private behind the scenes footage,stating it was not meant to be released to the public.  The producers of  documentary are now suing Michael Jackson's Estate claiming they own the rights to the material. Qbee.

Michael Jackson Documentary Featuring
'Private' Footage Triggers Lawsuit (Exclusive)

Craig Williams seeks to confirm his company has valid rights on unseen footage from a 2007 photo shoot.

The production company behind Michael Jackson: The Last Photo Shoot has filed a lawsuit against the executors of the late singer's estate.

At the center of this dispute is never-before-seen footage taken of Jackson in 2007, two years before he died.

Craig Williams, the film's director, has described the footage as having been taken at the Brooklyn Museum of Art for Ebony magazine as Jackson attempted to make a comeback and gave his first magazine interview in a decade. Michael Jackson: The Last Photo Shoot features interviews with the singer's friends, photographers and stylists as Jackson prepared. The documentary also shows, of course, images of Jackson.

But Howard Weitzman, attorney for the Michael Jackson estate, tells The Hollywood Reporter that the images are private.

"The makers of the documentary are attempting to exploit footage and photographs of Michael Jackson, which we believe are owned by his Estate," says Weitzman. "The documentary contains footage of Michael during private moments that he never agreed could be publicly and commercially exploited without his consent and/or involvement. Michael never authorized or approved the use of this material in the film.”

Noval Williams Films asserts that it has validly obtained rights.

According to its complaint filed in New York federal court, the Jackson camp was offered the opportunity to purchase rights in 2011, but passed. In May, 2013, Williams stepped up to allegedly acquire rights. More deals were then made by Williams' company with distributors.

But about two months ago, Weitzman wrote a letter to the production company stating that the singer had allowed the footage be taken for his own use and that the footage was done as a "work-for-hire," meaning that Jackson should be considered the author for copyright purposes.

The production company responded that it had legally acquired rights, prompting the Jackson estate lawyer to make another demand to see the film.

Now, the documentary maker has decided to go to court seeking declaratory relief that it isn't infringing copyrights and that the defendant doesn't have a valid claim arising from the contracts by which the images were first created.

Source:  Eriq.Gardner

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Michael Jackson Estate: Remembering The King Of Pop

Remembering The King Of Pop
June 25, 2014 

Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael's loved ones today as we remember the kind, gentle and giving spirit who generously shared his amazing artistic gifts with the world along with a limitless empathy for those in need. Time has shown that with each passing year the world's appreciation deepens not just for Michael's talent but also for his lifelong passion to spread peace, unity, love and hope across every culture and society. Michael's friendship, kindness, humor and joyful warmth will always be missed. The world is a far better place for having known him.

– John Branca & John McClain, Co-Executors of the Michael Jackson Estate


June 25th 2014, the 5th Anniversary of Michael Jackson's passing

My heart felt love and gratitude goes out to all the Michael Jackson fans around the world who continue to keep his memory and legacy alive by celebrating his music, honoring his life and all he stood for in this world ~ Qbee

Michael Jackson Fans cover Holly Terrace, his burial place with a Sea of 15,627 Roses

Love Survives so we can Rock Forever ~ Michael Jackson

Today June 25th 2014, the 5th Anniversary of Michael Jackson's passing. It doesn't seem that long ago to me.  Time does heal  our hearts but time cannot remove all the pain and the great love and respect that Michael's fans have for him all over the world. He is still very much a part of our lives and it's a very special day for us to be able to honor him and celebrate his life. We want the world to see what a great person he was far beyond his amazing Talent.  Not only was he the greatest entertainer to ever grace this planet , he was also one of the most loving, kind and generous men as well.  Any one who actually knew or spent time with Michael have stated the same sentiment about him.  If he had any misgivings or faults it would be, he cared too much, loved too much, gave too much and loved his fans to a fault. They meant everything to him and he meant everything to us as well and he still does to this day.  That will never change.

He is always with us...  Love Lives Forever <3

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Michael Jackson's 20 Greatest Videos: The Stories Behind the Vision

Another nice article  from Rolling Stone this time featuring Michael's  Short films and videos. with the background and stories from the directors he collaborated with. While the best is always subjective, I appreciate the behind the scene stories and history of Michael's work.   I'll be doing follow up articles with separate entries for some of my favorites.  ~ Qbee

Michael Jackson's 20 Greatest Videos: 
The Stories Behind the Vision

The most important visual artist in music history, 
remembered by the directors he collaborated with

No single artist has shaped, innovated or defined the medium of "music video" more than Michael Jackson. The popularity of MTV itself was rocketed into the stratosphere by a clip so good that it defied antiquated, racially biased ideas of rock music programming. The iconic directors behind decades of cinematic masterworks – The Godfather, Raging Bull, Do the Right Thing, Boyz N The Hood, The Social Network – can all claim his as a collaborator. And 13,597 people in Mexico City didn't break the world record for dancing to Prince now did they? Here are his 20 best, with stories of how they came to be. By Christopher R. Weingarten , Additional reporting by David Browne

20. "Jam" (1992)

Michael Jackson and NBA superstar Michael Jordan were the most dominant performers on Earth circa 1992 – how would they work together? "We didn't really chitchat," says director David Kellogg. "It was easier just to play the music and let them go – either dance or play basketball. It was so loud that they couldn't really talk, so they had to let the music tell them how to behave."

David Kellogg, director: We found this rat-infested, abandoned, bombed-out armory in a neglected neighborhood in Chicago. I think it was the Southside. Somewhere near where the Bulls play. The production went into the neighborhood under the guise of a mayonnaise commercial. Neither the police or the landlord really knew what we were planning. Michael Jackson arrived in a motor home. We built a tunnel for him so he couldn't really be seen entering the building. It was followed shortly by Michael Jordan, who drove himself.

They're arguably the best physical performers in each of their areas of performance. And that was sort of the charm of it, really. How can these two guys that are really great physical performers be so inept at the other's form? Michael Jackson was not a particularly good basketball player, Michael Jordan wasn't a particularly good dancer. Michael Jackson just went in kind of wanting to have fun. My takeaway was that I never saw basketball the same way since. Basketball players are just dancers running around in a choreographed and improvised routine with a prop, doing spectacular acrobatics before a large audience of pumped up fans.

At one point [Jackson] had the flu or something. He would be sitting hunched over in the corner with his head hanging in his hands, and waiting for us to get our act together with the lighting. He did not look well and I thought we would have to cancel. But when it came time to shoot he pulled it together in such a remarkable way. We'd crank the music and he would step up with such passion and energy and snap that, honestly, it would send chills up my spine. Where did this come from? Standing 0 feet away from this was inspirational. What feats are we capable of? We're griping about standing on our tried feet and lunch break, and this guy goes from zero to 100 with the flip of a switch.

As long as he was having fun, everybody else seemed to be having fun. He just wanted to have water balloon fights and Super Soakers and run around. That was who he was.

Read more:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Local 4 Detroit sits down with 4 of The Jackson 5

Five years ago the world lost an icon. Michael Jackson died after a lethal dose of Propofol in his California home. His life was filled with highs and some lows, but his brothers want him to be remembered as the legend that he is.

They sat down with Local 4’s Evrod Cassimy during a stop on their Unity tour and they talked everything from Motown, to cars and of course their brother Michael. He's known worldwide as the King of Pop, with hits like "Billie Jean," "Thriller," "Bad" and "Smooth Criminal." This year, June 25 marks five years since Michael Jackson's untimely death at the age of 50.

“Now you tryin' to get something!” joked Marlon Jackson. “We can't share that with you right now because that's a part of a special we're putting together. We're just going to say it hurt us. It hurts. Immensely. There are no words to explain the hurt."

Just before the anniversary of MJ's death, Cassimy sat down with his brothers Marlon, Jackie, Tito and Jermaine as they represented Detroit dressed in their best Tigers jerseys. Together they made up the group that shot them to super-stardom -- the Jackson 5.

"Still to this day there's not a moment that goes by every day that we don't think of him,” said Jermaine Jackson. “He's everywhere. His spirit is always with us. Even on stage we feel his spirit on stage with us. And will always be with us."

Detroit was known better as Motown to them back then. As you can imagine, returning to the stage without MJ brings back all kinds of memories.

"What is it like being on stage and not performing with Michael?" asked Cassimy.

"It's tough at times,” said Jermaine Jackson. “It's very tough. Uh, because when we first started this tour there were a lot of emotional moments. I would cry behind these glasses because he was always on my right and next to this one and that one. And on stage we kind of still feel him. We kind of move out the way because he's going to shoot out and do a spin and this and that, but it's healing for us at the same time because we're still mourning. We will probably mourn forever, but it's healing for us playing the music and playing the songs.”

"Now I'm on his right and he turns and looks at me and he says, 'Damn,'" laughed Marlon Jackson.

“I actually do!" joked Jermaine Jackson.

Talking about MJ quickly turns tears of sadness into tears of joy. Being back in Detroit, the brothers couldn't help but remember the good old days.

"Living on Chene street, smelling that Silvercup Bread Factory each day when we woke up on the way to the studio,” said Jermaine Jackson. "Smelling that bread! That bread smelled so good!"

"I had a great time here just tearing up Barry (Gordy’s) house,” said Marlon Jackson. “We enjoyed that. Michael and I did. That was our job to tear up stuff."

Performing now as The Jacksons, the foursome is tearing up the stage as part of their Unity Tour. They're singing all the Jackson Five hits as they did when they performed in Detroit for the first time with Michael Jackson decades ago.

"That was at Cobo Hall right?" asked Jermaine Jackson.

"Cobo Hall!" said Marlon. "Detroit used to be one of those ...There was a couple of cities that we always looked forward to playing. Detroit was one of those cities because the fans were always unbelievable."

Now the brothers are working to keep Michael Jackson's legacy alive five years since his passing. During their show they sing his most memorable songs and pause to remember his life as they fulfill his mission.

"I think Michael would want us to continue to do great music. Exactly, keep the legacy alive. Make sure we take care of our fans around the world and just make people happy through our music."

Michael Jackson would have been 56 this year. His newest album is called "Xscape" was released May 13. It features songs recorded from the early 80s to 2001, many of which didn't make the cut for his previous albums.

As for what's next for the brothers, they're working on a new album, which they say will be their most important one yet, due out sometime this year.

Source:  Evrod Cassimy, Local 4 anchor, reporter

Michael Jackson’s son Prince Pays tribute in an interview on 5th Anniversary of His fathers Death

“We want to keep my dad’s legend alive. He was the best father that anybody could have. He raised us the right way and there was nothing anyone can do to make us forget about him,” ~ Prince Jackson

The eldest son of the King of Pop gave a rare interview days before the five-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, telling the Daily News he hopes to build a career in show business — just as his dad wished.

“I would like to be a director one day. But to be a good director you have to know how an actor works and feels on set,” Prince, 17, said.

“I want to learn my craft and experience being in TV shows and possibly movies before I even consider going behind the camera.”

Last year, Prince worked as an on-air correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight” and made a guest appearance on “90210.”

“Being on that show was a very good learning experience for me and a lot of fun too,” he said.

The gigs are the first steps, Prince hopes, toward a long career.

“I don’t expect to just walk into jobs or roles because of who I am. I want to learn my craft and work at being an actor,” he said, adding that as a child his father encouraged him and his sister to act out scenes and write up movie ideas.

The youngsters would often film their projects, which have never been released publicly.

The teen — who splits $8 million a year with his siblings Paris, 16, and Blanket, 12, — said he relaxes at the gym, and is training in Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu and boxing.

The martial arts offer a shred of normalcy for Prince, but his father’s shadow is never far away.

Price  became emotional when reminded the 5th anniversary of his dad’s death is Wednesday.

“We want to keep my dad’s legend alive. He was the best father that anybody could have. He raised us the right way and there was nothing anyone can do to make us forget about him,” he said.
He paused for a moment, then added: “It’s tough. This will be the fifth anniversary of his death.”

Jackson loved London, and once told his children he couldn’t wait for them all to live there during the run of concerts at the O2 Arena that never happened.

“He was looking forward to showing us around,” Prince said.

But his newfound openness only went so far. Prince steered clear of discussing when asked about the recent struggles of his sister Paris, who has been in recovery boarding school since her suicide attempt last summer.

“We are doing all right, thanks for asking,” Prince said.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Michael Jackson 'Hologram' Show Sparks New Legal Crossfire

According to this exclusive, a new $10 million lawsuit has been filed by Pulse Evolution, who spent many months preparing the Billboard Awards show. Pulse is attacking Alki David as a “charlatan saying he has no involvement whatsoever in the development of the Michael Jackson animation. You may remember Alki David's antics with the DNA tests on B.Howard trying to claim  he was  Michael Jackson's illegitimate son. ~ Qbee

 The latest move is a $10 million lawsuit against Alki David, following his attempt to nix the King of Pop's return at the Billboard Music Awards.

It’s now been a month since a Michael Jackson recreation at the Billboard Music Awards earned heavy buzz. In the days leading up to the spectacle, Hologram USA, owned by firebrand entrepreneur Alki David, attempted to stop it by claiming it infringed patented hologram technology that he had exclusively licensed. The Billboard Awards performance was allowed to happen, but the dispute is hardly over.

On Thursday, a new $10 million lawsuit was filed by Pulse Evolution, whose animators and technicians spent many months preparing the Billboard Awards show. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Pulse is attacking David as a “charlatan who had no involvement whatsoever in the development of the Michael Jackson animation.”

The move follows David’s own lawsuit, which originally named Prometheus Global Media, parent of Billboard Music Awards producer Dick Clark Productions (PGM also is THR‘s owner), among the defendants. But now the case has been amended mostly to focus on Pulse and its chairman John Textor. The executors of the Michael Jackson estate are among the other defendants.

Both sides present their own tale of what has happened.

According to Pulse’s complaint, David “falsely claimed credit for creating and developing the visual effects spectacle in a nationally-televised interview on CNN, in press releases and on his various websites operated by his company, FilmOn.”

The lawsuit paints David as being famous for his outrageous antics and being a “notorious infringer of intellectual property rights,” specifically referring to his well-publicized battles with TV broadcasters. The plaintiff is upset with David’s alleged efforts to “divert public and industry attention away from Pulse Entertainment just as the company was being launched,” asserting that it rises to unfair business competition practices and trade libel.

What’s more, Pulse says that in the days leading up to the Billboard Music Awards, David attempted a “shakedown” by demanding credit — all on the basis of patent licensing from “a defunct company with no assets that had nothing to license in the first place.”

That “defunct” company is Musion Das Hologram Limited, said by David to be connected to Europeans named Giovanni Palma and Uwe Maas. Where things get confusing is that Pulse has been dong with business with a company called Musion Systems Limited, apparently connected to two more Europeans named Ian O’Connell and William James Rock.

How hologram-like technology was created, who owns proper rights and what exactly is going on with these Musion companies is something that will have to be addressed in this case or elsewhere soon.

For now, what’s important is that David’s company claims a hold on technology said to be a new version of a 19th century stage trick called “Pepper’s Ghost,” involving the projection of two-dimensional images into a three-dimensional stage set. According to Hologram USA, the technology was famously used to create the late Tupac Shakur performing at the 2012 Coachella Music Festival.

David says he outbid Textor’s Digital Domain unit to acquire rights to the technology last February, and that Textor’s Pulse “elected to ignore the rights they previously sought to obtain” in the creation of a posthumous performance by Michael Jackson.

David’s amended complaint (read it here ) goes onto assert that it “rejected a proposal made by Textor and Pulse for a joint marketing agreement over the technology in April and May 2014 – days before Textor and Pulse used that technology without authorization to create the Jackson hologram.”

Back to Pulse’s new lawsuit: The fact that David insists upon calling it a “hologram” in media interviews is noted. According to its complaint (read it here), “This mischaracterization of the [Michael Jackson] animation as a hologram highlights David’s complete lack of technical expertise and involvement in the creation and development of the Michael Jackson Animation, insofar as the virtual Michael Jackson appearing at the Billboard Award Show was not a hologram at all, rather, it was an animation projected onto a screen. This distinction is lost on David, because he is nothing more than a fraud claiming credit for Pulse Entertainment’s animation.”

Is the distinction important?

David’s lawsuit points to a USA Today story (with comments given by Textor and Pulse CEO Frank Patterson) that says Pulse refined the magician’s technique called Pepper’s Ghost, and that the technology was used to recreate Tupac.

“After Plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining order in these court proceedings to enjoin Defendants from using the Patented Technology to create the Jackson hologram at the Billboard Music Awards, Defendants argued to this Court that they would not use the patented technology to create the Michael Jackson hologram,” states David’s amended complaint. “That argument is belied by the actual evidence. Initially, Textor attempted to obtain rights to the Patented Technology in the months and days leading up to the Billboard Awards because he knew those rights were required.”

David’s company, represented by lawyers Craig Newby and Ryan Baker, says that his legal adversaries “have created significant confusion in the marketplace” and “diluted the value of the Hologram USA brand,” getting in the way of its discussions to do recreations of Elvis Presley and Bob Marley.

Pulse, represented by Marty Singer and Todd Eagan, responds that David has hijacked the launch of the company and has similarly caused “immeasurable harm” to its “public relations, its reputation and brand.”

Source:  Eriq Gardner |

Why did Michael Jackson turn white?

This is a nice article about Michael Jackson's Vitiligo featuring a documentary about Lee Thomas a Fox 2 anchorman and his personal experience with the skin disorder.  For more information I added a documentary video I made about Michael Jackson's Vitiligo  in 2008 under the article.  ~ Qbee

Why did Michael Jackson turn white?
By Deanna Brownlee * Atlanta Health News *  

Lee Thomas Fox 2 News Anchor discusses his experience with Vitiligo

Michael Jackson, the late King of Pop, was a powerful force within the music industry. He will forever live on as the man behind The Moonwalk, Neverland Ranch, and raw, unstoppable talent.

With fame, though, came some of Michael's darkest days. As his success grew, people began to criticize every moment of the performer's life. Once his skin changed, the world descended upon him like a pack of wild animals.

Under the watchful eye of the world, Micheal's skin rapidly went from rich ebony to porcelain white. Not surprisingly, people had a lot to say:

  • He's trying to be white!
  • He's ashamed of his race!
  • He bleaching his skin!
  • He brought this on himself!
  • He's doing it on purpose!
  • He's crazy! What a weirdo!

The simple truth is that Michael Jackson had an autoimmune disease called vitiligo. You can't cause it, you can't catch it, and you can't cure it. The few treatments that are available can be expensive, time-consuming, and ineffective with unpleasant side effects. The most practical solution is usually to just cover the lightened areas with makeup.

Vitiligo happens when your own body attacks the cells that produce your skin color. These cells then malfunction or die off. The result? Your skin loses color in patches. These patches can grow larger and larger until there is no unaffected color left. While vitiligo is not painful, it can be extremely distressing.

Micheal's longtime makeup artist, Karen Kaye, remembers how he struggled with the disease:

"The beginnings of the vitiligo started happening relatively early. You know, he even was trying to hide it from me. He tried to hide it for quite a while. You know, he'd always try to cover with makeup and even out his skin tone and everything until it just got so extensive . . . I mean it's all over his body. We were always trying to hide it and cover it for the longest time until he just had to tell Oprah and the world, 'Listen, I'm not trying to be white. I have a skin disease.' You know, in the beginning, I tried to cover the light spots to [match] the darkest part of the skin, but then it became so extensive that we had to go with the lighter part of the skin, because his whole body was reacting. He'd have to be in complete full body makeup - every inch of his body. You know, so it was easier to make the transition to him being to the lighter shade that he is."

Michael is not the only person with vitiligo. JD Runnels, Lee Thomas, Tamar Braxton, Joe Rogan, and a host of other celebrities have the disease. It can affect anyone of any race, too. "Vitiligo affects up to 2% of the population," says WebMD.

Next time you see someone whose skin looks different, don't just assume that it's from skin bleaching. Don't just assume someone has some contagious disease. People with vitiligo aren't "gross." People with vitiligo are just that - they're people. They're moms, dads, sisters and brothers. People care about them, and they care about other people. In the end, isn't that what really matters?



A documentary  I made about Michael Jackson's Vitiligo  in 2008 ~ Qbee

Friday, June 20, 2014

Michael Jackson Remains A Provider 5 Years After His Death

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It’s been five years since Michael Jackson died, yet his career is more alive than it has been in decades.

Just last month, the singer moonwalked across a Las Vegas stage in a nationally televised hologram performance. A new album recently debuted at No. 2 on music charts. And a traveling Cirque du Soleil show based on Jackson’s songs has logged nearly 500 performances worldwide.

The result has been an estate that has earned more than $600 million since the King of Pop’s untimely death at age 50.

Some of the earnings support Jackson’s three children and mother. Yet an analysis by The Associated Press shows much more has gone to erase the singer’s massive debts and to run the estate that powers his robust posthumous career.

As would be expected, the last five years have brought their share of change and adjustment for Jackson’s children, known to the world as Prince, 17; Paris, 16; and Blanket, 12. They were at their father’s rented mansion on June 25, 2009, when he was given an overdose of the anesthetic propofol in his upstairs bedroom. And they were at the hospital several hours later when he was pronounced dead. It would take more than two years before Jackson’s doctor was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

A father who taught his children philanthropy, threw them lavish birthday parties and meticulously masked them from the paparazzi is gone. Michael Jackson, however, continues to provide.

Nearly $20 million had been spent to support Jackson’s children and his mother, Katherine, through 2012. Payments to the family have increased each year since June 2009, according to court records. Adulthood will bring a sizeable inheritance for each child.

In the meantime, lawyers have busily untangled Jackson’s finances, which itself has been expensive. Among the disbursements between mid-2009 and the end of 2012:

  •  More than $91 million on taxes and licenses, including $45 million paid to the federal government for taxes.
  •  More than $25 million in compensation for the estate’s executors, Jackson’s longtime attorney John Branca and family friend and music executive John McClain. The men receive a percentage of the estate’s earnings.
  •  More than $17 million to lawyers who represent the estate, Katherine and her grandchildren.
  •  Nearly $4 million to properly store and archive the trove of personal belongings and unreleased music that Jackson amassed during his lifetime.

“This is a complex estate with unique issues,” said Katherine’s attorney, Perry Sanders Jr. “Under all the circumstances, Mrs. Jackson and the children are certainly being well cared for.”

Sanders, who has conducted audits of the estate’s spending, said everything is in order and detailed financial records match precisely what has been presented in court.

“It’s surprising how big the numbers are, but then when you realize what goes into it — and that a judge has approved those numbers — then it becomes not so shocking,” said Irwin Feinberg, an attorney who specializes in probate litigation.

While Jackson craved success, his priority in later years was his children. The trio is a large part of the singer’s legacy, and the music, dance moves and business pieces he left behind assure them a comfortable, if not care-free, lifestyle.

Jackson’s children live with their grandmother in a hilltop home in the celebrity enclave of Calabasas, home to the Kardashian family, Britney Spears and many others. The estate pays for private schools and tutors, a chef, private security and family vacations, giving the Jackson children the stability their father strived to provide.

“Michael’s number one priority was his children, not wealth or fame,” said Tom Mesereau, the attorney who successfully defended Jackson against child molestation charges and stays in touch with his family.

“He wanted them to get the best education possible,” Mesereau said. “He wanted them to be worldly.”

Although the family’s privacy is carefully protected — neither Mesereau nor Sanders would discuss specifics — some domestic drama has become public in recent years.

In 2012, Katherine was absent for 10 days when some of her children took her to an Arizona spa, causing a family rift that resulted in TJ Jackson, an adult cousin of Michael Jackson’s children, being named their co-guardian.

Paris and Prince were deposed in Katherine’s lawsuit against the promoters of her son’s planned comeback concerts. Prince ably testified about his father’s impact on the children, but Paris was hospitalized during the trial after authorities responded to a 911 call that the teenager had cut herself with a knife and taken 20 Motrin pills.

Lawyers and family members, including TJ Jackson, have said she is fine, but offer no further details. Paris, according to relatives, took her father’s death the hardest.

Prince is still interested in pursuing a career in film production. As a child, he and his father would watch movies together, meticulously dissecting scenes. He recently attended a Hollywood premiere.

Blanket practices karate and is looking forward to a summer of swimming, his cousin TJ Jackson said.

Mesereau said the family seems to be doing reasonably well. Of their father, the attorney said, “He’s missed very much.”

Source: AP |

FX Guide: The technology of Michael Jackson reborn

This is a great article from that goes into  much more detail about the making of the MJ digital image created for the Billboard award show showing MJ performing Slave to the Rhythm.  The images shown are HD and show the  great detail of the sets  and image.   ~ Qbee

The technology of Michael Jackson reborn
By Mike Seymour FXGuide

June 16, 2014

We look at the face of Michael Jackson with exclusive high resolution images from the Billboard Awards hologram and interview with VXF Sup Steven Rosenbaum

Stephen Rosenbaum was tasked with digitally creating one of the world’s most famous performers, Michael Jackson, to promote a new song, Slave To The Rhythm, at the live event of the Billboard Awards. It was a digital performance with excellent facial animation built on a range of technologies from LightStage facial capture to motion capture.

Given the enormous importance of Michael Jackson to music generally and his global reputation for stunning live performances, the job of allowing an audience to once again see him perform brought with it a justifiable amount of pressure. Clearly, after decades of enjoying his performances, the audience knows how Jackson moved, they know how he looked, and literally anything less than stunningly accurate wasn’t going to work ...   Read More ..


Michael Jackson Flash Mob Descends Upon Park Hyatt

Nice to see Michael Jackson's Chinese fans gather at The Park Hyatt  for a flashmob to promote a MJ Tribute Party being held at Xui June 27th to honor the 5th anniversary of Michael's passing. ~ Qbee

Michael Jackson Flash Mob Descends Upon Park Hyatt

Yesterday, in honor of Michael Jackson's passing five years ago and as promotion for a MJ Tribute Party at Xiu on June 27 (9pm), The Park Hyatt organized a flash mob made up of dancers doing the usual iconic MJ moves to a medley of his songs.

It all begins with one lone wolf, dancing on the pavement, before others – seemingly out of nowhere – coalesce behind him and lock into foot-shaking, moonwalking, hip-thrusting, anti-gravity leaning unison.

Thousands of onlookers start to gather, camera phones are wielded, the intended purpose is achieved, and the dancers disappear, probably to get some lunch.

See the event on video :

Michael Jackson Tribute Party June 27, 9pm at Xiu

Premiere: New Michael Jackson video for 'Love never felt so good' Solo Version

Ask and you shall receive.  For those of us who favored  Michael's  solo version of LNFSG, we now have  an official video released for the song. Be sure to view and share it  from Michaels official Vevo channel on Youtube as views and streams are counted for the music charts. Nice move by the Estate. Thanks.  ~ Qbee 

Premiere: New Michael Jackson video 
Michael Jackson's Love Never Felt So Good got two mixes. Now it has two videos.

A video for the song featuring Justin Timberlake has more than 25 million views on YouTube. A new version, using footage of dancers from the same shoot, accompanies the Jackson-only mix and premieres at USA TODAY.

"There was so much magic we had from the original shoot, it was undeniable to create another video for the solo version of Love Never Felt So Good," says one of the video's choreographers, Tone Talauega. Tone and his brother, Rich, worked as dancers and choreographers for Jackson from 1995 on.

The new video incorporates footage from such Jackson videos as Smooth Criminal and Remember the Time, as well as his 1995 MTV Video Music Awards performance of Dangerous, with dancers from a broad range of demographics dancing on sets designed to look like the originals.

"They're the youth of the day, who probably were just born around the time Michael was in his prime," says Rich. At the same time, the brothers wanted to create a diversity that fit what they knew of Jackson's personal creative vision. "We put together dancers from the technical world, the street world, boys and girls, to create a nice little gumbo of old and new, to create the hybrid that you saw on the video."

For their choreography, the Talauega brothers say they took inspiration from the work of Jackson's previous choreographers, such Vincent Paterson, Michael Peters, Jeffrey Daniel, Bruno "Pop N Taco" Falcon, LaVelle Smith Jr. and Travis Payne.

"The nucleus of everything is inspired by Michael's vocabulary of dance moves," Tone says. "We weren't trying anything new, we were just trying to capture that iconic spirit he created."

The Talauegas avoided re-creating Jackson's moves step for step, trying instead to convey both his precise brand of choreography and the impact he had on subsequent generations of fans and dancers.

"That's a hard thing to do, because it could totally fall into being some kind of tribute," Rich says. "But the video has no energy of being a tribute, it has the energy of 'Wow, he's still here.' It shows how timeless he is."

The Jackson/Timberlake version of Love Never Felt So Good has turned into a cross-format radio hit; it's on USA TODAY's adult contemporary, hot adult contemporary, urban adult contemporary and top 40 charts. The song was certified gold this week, with 514,000 downloads sold.

Album Xscape has sold 309,000 copies since its release May 13, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and it returned to the top 10 of the Billboard albums chart this week.

source: Brian Mansfiled |

Michael Jackson's Xscape available on Amazon

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Today In Michael Jackson History - 'Dancing The Dream' Michael's Second Book is released.

On this day – 18th June 1992

'Dancing The Dream,'   a book of poetry and reflections written by Michael is published by Doubleday. It is Michael's second book and is dedicated to his mother, Katherine. The book is a present from Michael to his fans of his personal view of the world around us, and the universe within each of us. The book has an Introduction by Elizabeth Taylor, followed by Michael's writings.

Here is an extract from the book:

Dancing The Dream 
Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the dance of the creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the dance lives on. On many an occasions when I'm dancing, I've felt touched by something sacred. In those moments, I've felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists. I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and the beloved. I become the victor and the vanquished. I become the master and the slave. I become the singer and the song. I become the knower and the known. I keep on dancing and then, it is the eternal dance of creation. The creator and creation merge into one wholeness of joy. 
I keep on dancing and dancing...and dancing, until there is only...the dance.
~ Michael Jackson 

Source: Michael Jackson A Visual Documentary by Adrian Grant

Dancing the Dream is one man's hauntingly beautiful, provocatively personal view of the world around us, and the universe within each of us. Whether his prose and poetry focused on creativity, the people that surrounded him, or the plight of the noble elephant, his observations and concerns all illustrated his belief that trust, love and faith are the foundation stones for a life well lived. Containing Michael Jackson's personal writings and over one hundred glorious photographs, drawings, and paintings from his own collection, this book is a must have for all fans of an incredible, inspiring man who died as he lived - dancing his dream.

Michael Jackson - A Visual Documentary is the most comprehensive book ever published on the world's greatest pop superstar. Authorized by Michael during his lifetime, this brand new edition includes events surrounding his sad death in 2009. From the fifties to the present day, this is a complete day-by-day visual documentary of the remarkable and ever-changing career of the King Of Pop. At once intriguing, mysterious, dynamic and unpredictable, Jackson has developed to become the ultimate celebrity, and this sumptuous volume is packed with photos, memorabilia, anecdotes and heaps of surprises from the Jackson archives.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Michael Jackson's Estate Buys Calabasas Home for $10.75 Million

A wise move by the Estate in my opinion. Rather than pay the $26,000 monthly rent on the home for katherine and the children, the Estate can pay a lower Mgt. payment and also create equity in the home and own the property in Michael and the childrens name. ~ Qbee

The home is where his mother, Katherine Jackson, lives with the late pop star's children

The Mediterranean-style house is roughly 12,000 square feet. Splash News/Corbis

The estate of Michael Jackson has purchased the Calabasas, Calif., home where his mother, Katherine Jackson, lives with the late pop star's children, according to Hilton & Hyland, the real-estate firm that represented the estate in the transaction.

Ms. Jackson, who is in her 80s, has been leasing the home for the past several years, according to Hilton & Hyland's Nichelle Robinson, who represented the estate along with her mother, Barbara Robinson of Hilton & Hyland. The sale closed Monday for about $10.75 million, she said. The seller was represented by Marc and Rory Shevin of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. The seller wasn't identified.

Located in a gated community in Calabasas, the Mediterranean-style house is roughly 12,000 square feet. There is a guesthouse, a theater, a pool and a putting green, Nichelle Robinson said.

Michael Jackson died in 2009. His will appointed his mother guardian of his three children—Prince, Paris and Blanket. She now shares guardianship with her grandson, T.J. Jackson, according to news reports.

Ms. Jackson moved into the Calabasas house with the children several years ago to provide "a new environment" for them, Ms. Robinson said. After their father's death, the children had initially moved into the Jackson family home in the Encino area of Los Angeles, Ms. Robinson said.

The home wasn't on the market at the time of the purchase, but had previously been listed for $11.5 million. The Jacksons initially paid $26,000 a month to lease the house, and the rent has increased since then, Nichelle Robinson said.

The Jacksons had wanted to buy the Calabasas home for several years, Ms. Robinson said.

The Jackson estate wasn't immediately available for comment.

Source: Wall Street Journal – By Candace Taylor

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Week 4 Sales and Charts: Michael Jackson XSCAPE Performing Well Worldwide

Source: Damien Shields

XSCAPE: Sales & Chart Performance (Week 4)

Michael Jackson’s ‘XSCAPE’ album and supporting “Love Never Felt So Good” single have continued to perform respectably in markets around the world this week despite slight downward trends on the charts.

In the United States ‘XSCAPE’ came in at #12 on the Billboard 200, down five places after selling 25,000 copies. That brings the album’s U.S. sales to a total of 284,000 copies from its four weeks on the market. “Love Never Felt So Good” dropped just two places this week, landing at #29 on the Hot 100.

On the Worldwide iTunes chart “Love Never Felt So Good” has had another strong week. The single sits at #5 overall today, and has risen as high as #2 and dropped as low as #6 since my last update. The single is in its 45th day on the Worldwide iTunes chart and has never dropped out of the top 10.

In the streaming world the “Love Never Felt So Good” YouTube/VEVO videos continue to perform well. Since my last update they have been streamed 6 million times worldwide collectively. The “Slave to the Rhythm” hologram video has been watched an additional 2 million times in the same period.

The ‘XSCAPE’ album managed to sell another 102,000 copies worldwide this week to land at #5 on the Global Albums chart. This is a strong result considering the album has now been available for more than a month around the world and has not been promoted since May 18 – four weeks ago – on the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. So far its total sales stand at 830,000 copies worldwide.

NOTE: For live updates of  chart results and statistics from other regions as they become available visit Damien Sheilds at

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

REVIEW: Michael Jackson’s bodyguards remember the time they protected the King of Pop in revealing new book

Reblogged with permission ~ Qbee

by Damien Shields  

Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard are two men who were entrusted with duty of protecting the privacy and well being of a single father and his three children. That single father just so happened to be the most famous human being on planet Earth and the greatest entertainer to ever live – none other than the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

Now, five years after Jackson’s passing Whitfield and Beard, in conjunction with author Tanner Colby, have released a book – ‘Remember the Time – Protecting Michael Jackson in his final days’ - that delivers a previously-untold behind-the-scenes blow-by-blow of what the final years of Jackson’s life were really like.

Firstly, let me start off by stating the obvious; Michael Jackson would probably have never wanted this book written and released. That fact is acknowledged straight off the bat by Whitfield and Beard themselves in the very first sentence of the Introduction chapter on page one. And while Michael Jackson may not have wanted this book to be written, he would also not have wanted the plethora of malicious lies, sensationalism and propaganda the tabloid media publish about him to be written. But it is written. And it will continue to be written for all of eternity. So this book, which sheds light on the truth behind the puzzle that was the King of Pop’s life, comes as a rare breath of fresh air in the world of unauthorized Jackson literature.

As a fan, the first things I look for when reading about Michael Jackson are fascinating insights and new information. On most occasions I end up feeling like my time has been wasted. ‘Tell me something I didn’t already know!’ is a comment I commonly utter to myself after reading something Jackson-related. This book, however, delivers incredible insights and new information in abundance from beginning to end.

‘Remember the Time – Protecting Michael Jackson in his final days’ is presented as a word-for-word chronological narration by Whitfield and Beard as they recall stories, experiences and noteworthy events that occurred during their time serving as Jackson’s personal security team. These guys were by Jackson’s side around the clock for more than two years, so there were no shortage of tales to be told.

I really liked that sensationalism was seemingly set aside and truth was allowed to shine through. Nothing was sugarcoated; and nothing needed to be. Jackson is presented as a devoted and protective father who loved his children more than anything in the world and did everything in his power to give them all they needed. His children are presented as polite, humble, intelligent kids who dealt with the reality of their extraordinary lives by taking each twist and turn in their stride.

Talking about the children is an extra-sensitive topic for many fans, including myself. Jackson’s main concern regarding security was not his own, but his children’s privacy and safety. Whitfield and Beard spent more than two years protecting those kids at all costs. At one point in the book Whitfield recalls being instructed to chase down a photographer who had snapped a picture of the kids without their disguises. Once he caught the photographer Whitfield wrestled the camera from him and confiscated it before running back to Jackson’s vehicle with it.

Fans have raised questions about whether or not it’s morally okay to discuss private details of the children’s life. These questions are legitimate questions, especially considering how highly Jackson valued their privacy. However, the extent of detail regarding the children is very limited. There are mentions and recollections of moments involving the kids, such as Blanket’s fascination with the hippos are the zoo, Paris bringing Whitfield a cup of hot chocolate or Prince playfully trying to trick the bodyguards into buying him treats from the store.

However, since Jackson’s death the kids have been everywhere, willingly opening their private lives up to the public. They don’t wear disguises anymore, they’ve appeared on national television and have various social media accounts. The mainstream media has no qualms in discussing Paris’ personal issues, speculating about the paternity of the children, and even as recently as yesterday publicising their supposed annual allowance. A few tales about how sweet, funny and generous the kids were may be stepping over the line of what Jackson would have wanted and expected, but is by no means comparable to the bullshit they endure at the hands of a sensationalised tabloid media on a day-to-day basis. The stories about Jackson’s children made me smile, personally, and I’d be interested to hear their thoughts on what’s been written about them and their father.

Another thing I found interesting was who had Jackson’s back and who did not. The relationship, or lack thereof, that Jackson had with his manager, Raymone Bain, was bizarre. Bain was running Jackson’s entire empire from her home office – something Jackson had no idea about for quite some time. (He believed she had an office.) Jackson seemed to want to keep Bain as far out of the loop as possible at times, even restricting the bodyguards from reporting their movements to her. She was in charge of payroll, which was never in order and got worse and worse as time progressed.

The bodyguards would sometimes go months on end without being paid, and not even Jackson himself yelling at Bain over the phone could get her to pay them. She’d tell Jackson she’d do something, then just not do it. It made you wonder why Jackson didn’t sack her earlier than he did. It also made you wonder why Whitfield and Beard did not quit – a question they ask themselves numerous times throughout the book, then go on answer. Their frustrations over lack of payment (and other things) are expressed strongly but sincerely in the book. As you’re reading you can’t help but feel deeply for them. Ultimately their loyalties lied with their boss, Mr. Jackson – something that not many people can say for themselves.

One person whose loyalties seemingly always lied with Michael Jackson was the late-entertainment attorney Peter Lopez, who receives one of the most glowing wraps of all the characters detailed in the book. He was one person in Jackson’s life who always had his best interests at heart. During my time researching Michael Jackson’s career, specifically the years in which Peter Lopez was around quite often, I’ve never heard anyone who knew Jackson intimately utter a bad word about him – only good things. The same goes for those who have not been characterized positively in the book. Whitfield and Beard’s accounts, from what I’ve been told by those who were close to Jackson, ring true.

An interesting series of recollections involve Sony Music and the ‘Thriller 25′ project. For those of you who needed more proof than Jackson himself standing atop a double-decker bus in London yelling “Sony sucks” outside Sony HQ to conclude that Jackson indeed hated Sony, you’ll find what you’re looking for in this book. If you had somehow dreamt up the notion that because ‘Thriller 25′ was released via Sony Music that meant Jackson had patched things up with the label and was on good terms with them, you are mistaken.

Some of the most heartwarming stories in the book relate to Jackson’s generosity. For me personally, his humanitarian efforts across the globe throughout his life are far more important than his artistry. I often say you could take away his music, his dance and his films, and he’d still be my favourite superhero. Whitfield and Beard recall times when Jackson requested he be driven to the poorest parts of Las Vegas where the homeless community resides. Once there Jackson would crack the window of his vehicle ever so slightly and call the homeless people over. From there Jackson would reach into a bumbag filled with hundred-dollar bills, and pass them to the homeless through the gap in the window. And when he’d run out he’d get upset with himself for not having brought more cash to give away. This was not for show. This was not a stunt. He did not want thanks. He’d do all this without ever revealing even his identity. It came from the pure goodness of his heart.

There are stories in the book about the Jackson family; Michael’s brothers, sisters and parents are all mentioned at times. There are tales of Jackson’s lavish spending at department stores, his midnight recording habits, going to the movies, home-schooling his children, spending time with female companions, his vagabond lifestyle, his personal friendships and bouts of depression and paranoia. Some of the recollections are funny, and some are quite sad. Some will leave you hanging for more and some may be difficult to digest. However in each and every case the stories are told sincerely, and that’s what I value the most. Nothing has been not fabricated out of thin air. There were no crazy embellishments to present things as more exciting than they were. They simply were as they were, and that’s what you’re given. The truth as Whitfield and Beard heard it, saw it, experienced it and recalled it.

For more information or to order a copy of ‘Remember the Time – Protecting Michael Jackson in his final days’ visit:


Available on Amazon

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Michael Jackson Number ONES remains #1 on Billboards "Catalog' Album Chart three weeks in a row.

Michael Jackson's  Number Ones remains  #1 on Billboards "Catalog' Album chart three weeks in a row. The Essential Michael Jackson has also been a staple on the 'catalog' chart, #6 last week and #3 the prior, has fallen off the top 10 this week. The popularity of Michael's new album Xscape and media coverage stirs public interest and has brought the albums back up in the chart.

Catalog charts are top-selling albums across all genres that are at least 18-months old and have fallen below No, 100 on the Billboard 200 or are re-issues of older albums. Titles are ranked by sales data as compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.


Saturday, June 07, 2014

Rare 'Michael Jackson American Master' Now available in ebook format

Im so excited to hear 'Michael Jackson American Master'  is now available on Kindle after being out of print for over 18 yrs.  Only 10, 000 copies of  the book was released in 1996 making it one of the most rare and coveted books written about Michael Jackson. If you're lucky you may find an original hard copy on Amazon or Ebay  for a pretty price. The forward is written by Bob Jones from MJJ Production, Inc  and a thank you letter was sent from Michael to the author.  Michael also thanked C. Mecca in his BOTDF Album credits.  It's  great news for the MJ fan base that a Kindle version has just been just released May 31, 2014.  It says  for a limited time only, so don't miss out.

Cam Publishing is proud to announce that
With full-color illustrations,
  for a limited time in eBook format.

Official eBook Released May 31, 2014 
 compatible with all eBook reading devices.

Book Description -

Michael Jackson American Master is more than a chronicle of the accomplishments of a man. It transcends his childhood, and bypasses the title of the King of Pop. It defines mastership, and elevates Michael Jackson to Master of our time and generation. It incorporates the element of self-help, and addresses the many issues facing our world today. In using intuition and inspiration along with the creative thought process, it brings the readers to the realization that they also can attain the same mastership quality in their own lives.

While Michael Jackson is the megastar of the world, his creativity and talent encompass more than his musical expertise. Michael's keen insight and interpretation of the world are more than his singing and dancing. His artistic gifts reflect in every aspect of his life, and spread throughout the planet. His sensitivity to the universal principles of nature is apparent in his ability to comprehend and experience his life by being true to himself. The populace observes such accomplishments with wonder and awe.

Each of the twelve chapters can be treated as a journey, through which the reader becomes aware that Michael Jackson is the true example of a master for our time. Join Michael in discovering the mastership qualities which are inherent in each of us.

Michael Jackson American Master is authorized, and the foreword was contributed by Mr. Bob Jones, Vice President of MJJ Productions, Inc. This eBook is an official reprint by CAM Publishing of the 1996 First Edition content, with limited full-color images.

Now on Amazon
Michael Jackson American Master (Kindle) $9.99

American Master (Hard Copy) starting at aprox $250 used on Amazon and Ebay

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Michael Jackson Inc. Chosen as Amazon's Best Book of the Month: Business & Leadership

Each month,'s editorial team reads scores of books in search of those they consider the Best Books of the Month in popular categories.

They scour reviews and book news, swap books amongst themselves, and spend  nights and weekends tearing through as many of the best books as possible. Then  they face off in a monthly Best Books showdown meeting to champion the books they  think will resonate most with their readership.

This month (June) Amazon  editorial team has chosen  "Michael Jackson, Inc" as the Best Book Of The Month in the Business & Leadership category!

The titles that make the Best Books of Month lists are the keepers, the ones they  couldn't forget. Many of Amazon's editorial picks for the best books are also customer favorites and bestsellers, but they strive to spotlight the best books you might not otherwise hear about.

The books included in Amazon's Best Books of the Month program are entirely editorial selections. They have great passion for uniting readers of all ages and tastes with their next favorite read, helping  customers find terrific gifts, and drawing more attention to great books by exceptional authors.

Michael Jackson, Inc.  available now on Amazon - Best Books of the month

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Inside Michael Jackson's Best Business Bet - Buying The Beatles:

by  Zack O'Malley Greenburg Forbes Staff

Buying The Beatles: Inside Michael Jackson's Best Business Bet 

The following is an excerpt from the new book Michael Jackson, Inc.

Once every few months during the mid-1980s, a handful of America’s savviest businessmen gathered to plot financial strategy for a billion-dollar entertainment conglomerate.

This informal investment committee included David Geffen, who’d launched multiple record labels and would go on to become one of Hollywood’s richest men after founding DreamWorks Studios; John Johnson, who started Ebony magazine and would become the first black man to appear in the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans; John Branca, who has since handled finances for dozens of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers including the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones; and Michael Jackson, the King of Pop and chairman of the board, inscrutable in his customary sunglasses.

Shares of the entertainment company in question were never traded on the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ. Though few would even consider it to actually be a company, this multinational’s products have been consumed by billions of people over the past few decades. Had the organization been officially incorporated, it might have been called Michael Jackson, Inc.

In 1985, this conglomerate made its most substantial acquisition: ATV, the company that housed the prized music publishing catalogue of the Beatles. Included were copyrights to most of the band’s biggest hits, including “Yesterday,” “Come Together,” “Hey Jude,” and hundreds of others. The catalogue, later merged with Sony’s to form Sony/ATV, currently controls more than two million songs by artists ranging from Eminem to Taylor Swift, making it the world’s largest music publishing company.

At an investment committee meeting months before the deal was consummated, however, the acquisition was looking unlikely. Michael Jackson, Inc. was deep into negotiations with Australian billionaire Robert Holmes à Court, whose asking price for ATV had soared past $40 million—prompting disagreement among Jackson’s inner circle over how to proceed.

Order Michael Jackson, Inc

Not wanting to upset anyone, Jackson remained silent—as he often did in meetings—but he’d already made his decision. He scrawled a note on the back of a financial statement and passed it to Branca beneath the table.

“John please let’s not bargain,” it read. “I don’t want to lose the deal . . . IT’S MY CATALOGUE.”

A few months later, Jackson bought ATV for a price of $47.5 million. Today, Sony/ATV is worth about $2 billion; through Jackson’s estate, his heirs still own his half of the joint venture. That wouldn’t be the case were it not for the shrewd maneuvering and unwavering resolve of Jackson and his team. The incredible story begins more than a quarter century ago, in the United Kingdom, during an encounter between a famous knight and a soon-to-be king.

One night in 1981 at Paul McCartney’s home just outside of London, the former Beatle handed Michael Jackson a binder. Inside was a list of all the songs whose publishing rights were owned by McCartney. After letting much of his own songwriting catalogue slip away as a youngster, he’d been buying up copyrights for years.

“This is what I do. I bought the Buddy Holly catalogue, a Broadway catalogue,” McCartney told the young singer. “Here’s the computer printout of all the songs I own.” Jackson was fascinated. He wanted to start doing the same, and his entrepreneurial instincts quickly clicked into gear. “Paul and I had both learned the hard way about business and the importance of publishing and royalties and the dignity of songwriting,” Jackson wrote in his autobiography.

When he got back to California, he found himself with an enviable problem. He’d earned $9 million in 1980 and was sitting on a pile of money that needed to be invested. Inflation was rampant in the early 1980s, meaning that fallow cash would start to lose value quickly. In short, he needed to find some worthwhile places to park the reserves of Michael Jackson, Inc.

His accountants brought him a number of real estate deals, but he wasn’t excited enough to buy anything. He wanted to buy songs. So his attorney, John Branca (now co-executor of Jackson’s estate), started talking to people in the publishing business to find out what was for sale. One of his first conversations was with songwriter Ernie Maresca, who had two big rock songs available: “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer.” When Branca told Jackson, the singer didn’t recognize them. The lawyer gave his client a tape and told him to have a listen. A few days later, Jackson called back. “You gotta get those songs!” he said. “I danced to them all weekend.”

Thus began a buying binge for Branca and Jackson. They picked up a small catalogue that included “1-2-3,” a 1960s soft-rock love song by Len Barry; “Expressway to Your Heart,” a Gamble and Huff composition released by the Soul Survivors in 1967; and “Cowboys to Girls,” a 1968 hit by the Intruders composed by the same duo. If Jackson didn’t know a song, Branca would send him a recording; if the singer fell in love with it, he’d give the go-ahead to acquire it.

Longtime associate Karen Langford remembers sitting around with Jackson during this period and discussing which of the greatest songs of all time would be best to own (he often mentioned ones by the Beatles, Elvis, and Ray Charles, among others). Sometimes he’d quiz Langford, singing a snippet of a song and asking if she could give the title and performer. Even then, he had his eye on ownership at a scale few could have fathomed at his age.

“He wanted to be the number one publisher in the world,” she says. “And . . . it would come up in lots of different ways, but [his goal] was always number one, getting to that number one spot. Being the biggest, being the best.”

In Pictures: Michael Jackson’s Career Earnings, Listed Year-By-Year

What the singer really wanted was Gordy’s Jobete catalogue, home to most of Motown’s greatest hits, including those of the Jackson 5. Gordy says Jackson offered him a “competitive” price for it at one point, but the Motown chief wasn’t ready to sell—and didn’t, until EMI paid him $132 million for half of the catalogue in 1997.

But watching Gordy manage his publishing interests had set something ablaze inside Jackson. “He got the bug,” says Gordy. “And that gave him the [urge] to want to do something even greater.”


“Michael,” began Branca, coyly, at a meeting in September 1984, “I think I heard of a catalogue for sale.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s ATV.”

“Yeah, so what’s that?”

“I don’t know, they own a few copyrights, I’m trying to remember,” said Branca, pausing for effect. Then he offered a few names: “Yesterday,” “Come Together,” “Penny Lane,” and “Hey Jude.”

“The Beatles?!” Jackson exclaimed.

The only problem: the catalogue belonged to billionaire Robert Holmes à Court, an Australian corporate raider known for a steely patience, a penchant for backing out of deals at the last minute, and a stubbornness that rivaled that of any rock star. He also had plenty of other suitors for ATV, including billionaire real estate developer Samuel LeFrak, Virgin Records founder Richard Branson, and the duo of Marty Bandier and fellow publishing executive Charles Koppelman (Bandier was hired to run Sony/ATV in 2007 and remains the company’s chief executive).

For Holmes à Court, there were few pleasures greater than a grueling business negotiation. He took particular glee in toying with overzealous Americans (“They are just looking for me to play according to their rules and make it a big game,” he once said of his stateside counterparts. “The Viet Cong didn’t play by the rules, and look what happened.”) None of that mattered to Jackson. His instructions to Branca: “You gotta get me that catalogue.”

The lawyer remembers the frenzied days that followed. His first task: to check in with Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono, both friends of Jackson. As John Lennon’s widow, Ono was in charge of his estate and was rumored to have had some interest in making a joint offer for ATV with McCartney. Jackson was hoping to avoid a showdown.

“I got Yoko on the phone,” recalls Branca. “And then I said, ‘Michael asked me to call you and find out if you’re bidding [on] ATV Music that owns all the Beatles songs.’ ”

“No, we’re not bidding on it.”


“No, no, if we had bought it, then we’d have to deal with Paul,” replied Ono. “It’d have been a whole thing. Why?”

“Because Michael’s interested.”

“Oh, that would be wonderful in the hands of Michael rather than some big corporation.” (When I asked Ono about the conversation some thirty years later—in the midst of a brief interview prior to an anti-fracking rally at New York’s ABC Carpet & Home, of all places—she said she didn’t have “a complex dialogue” with anyone on Jackson’s team, but wouldn’t elaborate.)

Branca says his next move was to check in with John Eastman, Paul McCartney’s lawyer and brother-in-law (he represented the singer along with his father, Lee Eastman, who started working with McCartney before the Beatles broke up). According to Branca, Eastman said McCartney wasn’t interested because the catalogue was “much too pricey.” This was one of many reasons that neither Branca nor Bandier believed McCartney would lay out such a large amount of cash.

Though the Beatles’ songs made up roughly two-thirds of ATV’s value, the remaining third consisted of assets McCartney didn’t want: copyrights to thousands of other compositions, a sound effects library, even some real estate. “Paul’s demeanor was very, very much more financially structured,” says Bandier. Adds Joe Jackson: “The only reason Michael bought that catalogue was because it was for sale! [McCartney and Ono] could have bought the catalogue themselves. But they didn’t.”

There’s also an artistic explanation for McCartney’s unwillingness. “I never thought Paul McCartney would buy it because it’s very difficult for a creator of something [to buy] it,” says Bandier. “It would be like Picasso, who spent a day doing a painting, to buy it for $5 million like twenty years later. It wouldn’t be a thing that Paul would do.”

In Pictures: Michael Jackson’s Career Earnings, Listed Year-By-Year

Branca opened with an offer of $30 million. But Holmes à Court wanted more, especially since Bandier, Koppelman, and a few other suitors were still interested in buying ATV. By November, Jackson had authorized Branca to raise his offer beyond $40 million. With the exception of John Johnson, Jackson’s advisors—even music executives like David Geffen and Walter Yetnikoff—thought the singer had lost his mind.

The latter told Jackson he was making a mistake and that he should stick to being an artist. “That was my advice,” says the former CBS chief. “And he disregarded it, luckily.” Jackson didn’t have a business school education, and multiples of cash flow meant little to him. But he had a tremendous sense of value—and in Branca, a lieutenant able to help him make the most of that.

“John was the financial concierge in executing Michael’s instincts,” says billionaire Tom Barrack, who’d go on to work with Jackson later in the singer’s life. “So Michael said, ‘Wow, I think there’s incredible value [in the Beatles’ songs] over time. Quite honestly, Michael didn’t know if they were worth $12 million or $18 million or $25 million. He just knew and anticipated correctly that over time the intellectual property was going to be worth a lot of money.”

Jackson’s constant refrain: “You can’t put a price on a Picasso . . .you can’t put a price on these songs, there’s no value on them. They’re the best songs that have ever been written.” During a finance committee meeting, Jackson wrote Branca the aforementioned note that still sits in the lawyer’s home: “IT’S MY CATALOGUE.”

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A bid of $45 million was good enough to earn Jackson and Branca a meeting in London that winter, but Holmes à Court refused to go himself. Since the deal was far from being completed, Branca did the same, sending his colleague Gary Stiffelman in his stead. The two sides agreed on a nonbinding statement of mutual interest, and Jackson’s team embarked upon a four-month due diligence review of the 4,000-song catalogue.

To verify ATV’s copyrights, a team of twenty spent some 900 hours examining close to one million pages of contracts. Branca met Holmes à Court in New York that April and agreed to a handshake deal. Within weeks, however, the mogul had backed out. So, with Jackson’s blessing, Branca sent another letter: accept the last offer of $47.5 million, or there would be no deal.

Around the same time, Branca learned that Holmes à Court had tentatively agreed to sell the catalogue to Koppelman and Bandier for $50 million. But he knew his rivals—and some of the places they were getting their money. As it happened, their company had picked up a hefty publishing advance from MCA Records, headed at the time by Irving Azoff, who’d served as a consultant for Jackson and his brothers’ most recent tour.

“I went to Irving and I said, ‘How can you fund Charles and Marty? They’re bidding against Michael and you’re the consultant,’ ” Branca recalls. “[Azoff] pulled the deal, and [their ATV agreement] fell through.”

Shortly thereafter, Branca received a call from one of Holmes à Court’s colleagues. Could he come to London and close the deal? They agreed on $47.5 million. Jackson granted Branca power of attorney, and the lawyer flew to New York and boarded a Concorde bound for Britain. Once inside the supersonic jet, however, he noticed two familiar faces also on their way to London: Bandier and Koppelman.

“What are you doing over there?” Bandier asked.

“Oh,” said Branca, “just some business.”

Bandier was ready to do some business of his own. Even after Branca had convinced Azoff to pull his funding, he and Koppelman thought they could scrounge up enough capital to make a $50 million bid for ATV—and that all they needed was to buy themselves a little time. Recalls Bandier: “We actually went to London to sort of finalize a more formal contract.”

He and Koppelman figured that Holmes à Court had no interest in music publishing and was simply looking to unload ATV as quickly as possible. They weren’t counting on his patience, or the glee he may have derived from a bit of corporate sport. They certainly weren’t expecting what Holmes à Court was about to tell them when they arrived: that he was set to unload ATV to another party for $2.5 million less than they had offered.

Face to face with Holmes à Court and on the verge of losing the deal, Bandier immediately upped his offer by another $500,000. The Australian wasn’t impressed.

“There’s one aspect of the deal that you guys can’t do,” he replied. “And that is do a concert in Perth for my favorite charity.”

“We can do a charity concert,” Bandier pressed, figuring he could easily leverage his connections, and perhaps his cash, to lure just about any big act.

“No, no, you don’t understand,” continued Holmes à Court. “I’m selling this to Michael Jackson.”


Fittingly, Jackson had sealed his biggest deal by throwing in a personal appearance as a sweetener. It wasn’t an easy favor, either—he would have to fly fifteen hours from Los Angeles to Sydney, change planes, and then fly another five hours to Perth. But not even a pack of dingoes could have stopped him from getting his catalogue.

Bandier later learned that Jackson had offered another perk. Holmes à Court’s daughter was named Penny, and they were willing to exclude the song “Penny Lane” from the deal so that the billionaire could give it to her as a present (Jackson’s company continued to administer the song for her). It was far from a minor concession.

“Any song that you own of the Beatles earns money,” says Bandier. “There’s only like two hundred fifty of them, and everybody has a favorite of the two hundred fifty. Believe me, ‘Penny Lane’ is a popular song.” But the kicker was the appearance in Perth. “We knew that we couldn’t do the moonwalk, so there was no question,” Bandier remembers. “It wasn’t going to happen.”

Jackson’s single-minded focus on buying the catalogue despite vociferous objections from the record industry’s brightest minds might strike some as impetuous. But in hindsight, it’s clear that he was correct to follow his instincts, even to those who doubted him at first—and that his sense of the value of copyrights was impeccable.

“I think if you were his advisor at that time you would have told him, ‘Don’t do it,’ ” says Yetnikoff. “Turns out that it was a very lucrative investment. . . . So I would have to say that his business acumen is better than mine.”

Jackson certainly never forgot that he’d been right. In 2007, on a conference call with Bandier, the executive recounted the story of ATV’s 1985 sale. Jackson was delighted to relive the experience.

“See,” he said. “I told you I knew the music publishing business.”

The above text is adapted Michael Jackson, Inc, published by Simon & Schuster’s Atria imprint on June 3rd. Like the rest of the book, it is based almost entirely on original interviews; see Michael Jackson, Inc.’s bibliography for a full list of sources. For more, follow Zack on Twitter and Facebook.

Michael Jackson, Inc.