Artist News

Michael Jackson tops dead rich list

By | Published on Wednesday 27 October 2010

Forbes has released its annual ranking of the earnings brought in by dead celebrities, which is always fun. And it’s no big surprise that sitting atop this list this year is Michael Jackson. The singer, whose legacy has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues since his death in June 2009, came in at number three last year, despite having been dead for less than four months at the time.

The American magazine puts Jacko’s earnings from licensing and sales at $275 million, noting that he brought in more than “Lady Gaga, Madonna and Jay-Z combined” over the last twelve months, thanks to the numerous deals done in the wake of his death by his estate. Elvis Presley, who last year dropped to number four on the list, is this year back up to number two, though he still only managed to pull in a meagre $60 million.

Jackson is likely to continue to pull in the cash, in the short term at least, thanks in part to a planned programme of record and DVD releases through Sony Music over the next seven years, due to begin with a new album next month. However, there is still disagreement over whether of not the king of pop can keep this up in the long term in the same way as Presley.

Music biz commentator Bob Lefsetz wrote earlier this year: “It’s not like Elvis. There’s not much music. There’s one and a half albums there, somewhere between ‘Off The Wall’ and ‘Bad,’ [but] I think it ultimately fades out”.