The Michael Jackson estate and Sony Music have reportedly agreed on a seven-year, 10-project, $250 million pact that will be the most lucrative in music history, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources close to the negotiation. The Jackson estate is guaranteed an expected $200 million from the deal, which will likely feature reissues of the King of Pop's albums, new greatest hits collections and possibly a Cirque du Soleil show based on Jackson's music. An official announcement is expected today.
According to reports, one of the first releases from the $250 million deal will be an album of unreleased material culled from Jackson's personal musical vaults, which reportedly house as much as three albums' worth of unheard material. That release is expected out by the end of 2010, most likely in November to capitalize on the annual pre-holidays sales. Since his June 25th death last year, Jackson's catalog has sold 31 million copies, the WSJ reports, and coupled with the concert rehearsal film This Is It, the Jackson estate has earned more than $250 million in the past year.
The deal is expected to also include the release of a DVD collection of all of the King of Pop's iconic music videos and a remix compilation. Still, it's the unreleased material that is most notable, as Rolling Stone previously reported, Jackson left hard drives filled with unheard music, much of it recorded during his prime in the 1980s. Two unreleased tracks, "Another Day" and "A Place with No Name," briefly leaked in 2009. Jackson's manager Frank DiLeo told RS that roughly 100 completed Jackson songs remain unreleased, including collaborations with Akon, Will.i.am and Ne-Yo. "There are a couple of songs we recorded for the Bad album that we had to cut that are just sensational," DiLeo said.
The record-breaking $250 million pact is $100 million richer than the 10-year deal Jay-Z signed with Live Nation two years ago. The deal will also go a long way toward helping the Jackson estate pull itself out of the massive debt Michael accrued in the last years of his life. In addition to the new releases and reissues, the $250 million deal also extends Sony's right to distribute the Jackson catalog through 2017.
• Michael Jackson Left Hard Drives of New Songs, '80s Recordings
• "This Is It" Arrives on DVD: A Look Back at Jackson's Final Triumph
• Possible New Michael Jackson Song "Another Day" Leaks, Gets Yanked From Web