Michael Jackson Earned One Billion In The Last Year

When Michael Jackson (or his estate, rather) recieved a $250 million recording deal from Sony despite no longer being alive, our jaws dropped. Looks like we have to pick our jaw from off the floor in order to drop them once again—thanks to the ravenous appetite for Michael Jackson music and memorabilia from MJ fans new, old and obsessive, the King of Pop has earned one billion dollars in the year following his death.

According to Billboard, Jackson’s estate earned over one billion from music sales (429 million), film and TV rights to his concert documentary This Is It (392 million), music publishing (130 million), a recording contract (31 million), and licensing and touring (35 million).

Most interesting is the amount of money the Jackson estate made by something that never even happened. Jackson’s 50-date This Is It shows at London’s O2 Arena brought in huge revenue despite being canceled, since 5 million was made through merchandising and 6.5 million was brought in through tickets not refunded by fans who wished to keep it as a souvenir.

It might sound ridiculous that that many people decided to keep a piece of paper worth hundreds of dollars (depending on how much they spent on the ticket), but any fan devoted enough to see MJ for that much money most likely also believes a ticket from Michael’s ill-fated show is worth that amount, and more. That, or they (rightly) assumed they could make a fortune selling it as a collector’s item to someone who does.

CBS’ Early Show plans to mark the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death this Friday by hosting a one-hour tribute to the King of Pop, featuring appearances by Christina Aguilera, LL Cool J, Marc Anthony, as well as a performance from British singer James Morrison who will perform “Man in the Mirror” live. Expect dozens more anniversary tributes where that came from.