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Michael Jackson Net Worth

Michael Jackson Net Worth  

Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, actor, producer and philanthropist who had a net worth of negative $500 million at the time of his death. Technically speaking, one could argue that at the time of his death, Michael was in debt to the tune of $500 million thanks to decades of overspending and over-borrowing. 

Michael Jackson Net Worth

$500 Million                           

Date of Birth:    Aug 29, 1958 - Jun 25, 2009
Gender:             Male
Nationality:       United States of America

Michael Jackson Net Worth at Death

At the time of Michael Jackson's death his net worth was negative $500 million. In order to finance his lifestyle, at one point Michael took a $380 million loan from Bank of America, using his 50% ownership stake in the music publishing company Sony/ATV as collateral. The interest alone on that loan was tens of millions annually. Within just a few years he blew through the whole $380 million plus $120 million. That is why at the time of his death in 2009, Michael Jackson was $500 million in debt.

To date he has sold over 750 million albums, including 35 million that were sold in the year following his death.

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Earnings and Expenses

During his lifetime Jackson made about $500 million from his own music, concerts, videos and endorsements but at the time of his death in 2009 he was essentially $500 million in debt. Jackson was left penniless after he spent all of his money on an elaborately complicated and luxurious lifestyle. He spent between $30 and $50 million per year on his lifestyle alone and racked up massive unpaid bills with his lawyers, agents and publicists. A few highlights:

How Tall Was Michael Jackson

Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.75 m)  

Music Catalog

Michael's most valuable asset at the time of his death was his music catalogue. While the copyright value of his own songs was estimated to be worth $100 million, the crown jewel of his net worth was his portfolio of other artist's songs, especially those from The Beatles. Thanks Michael's first foray into owning music rights began when he purchased the catalogues of Sly and the Family Stone in the early 1980s. He then bought a series of classic singles like "Great Balls of Fire", "Shake Rattle Rattle and Roll", "When a Man Loves a Woman" and "Runaround Sue" to name a few. But the biggest win came in November 1984 when Michael purchased The Beatles catalogue ATV music for $47.5 million. The Beatles catalogue was eventually merged with Sony to create a 50/50 joint venture called Sony/ATV which today is estimated to be worth $2-4 billion.

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Merging With Sony

In 1995, Sony approached Michael with an incredible offer. Sony offered to pay him $95 million ($230 million today) to merge ATV music with their catalogue and create a new 50/50 owned publishing powerhouse. Michael agreed and instantly earned back twice his initial investment while also gaining 50% ownership of a much bigger music publishing company. Furthermore, Jackson still controlled 100% of his own songs through a separate company called Mijac Music.

The new Jackson/Sony company would be known as Sony/ATV Music Publishing and would grow over the next decade to 200,000 songs. Between 2005 and 2013, Sony/ATV grew to control two million songs—including the catalogues and songs of artists including Lady Gaga, Bob Dylan, Beck, and Eminem. In 2012 alone, the company earned $1.25 billion from licensing and royalties and had an income of $500 million. Today, the company is worth between $2-4 billion.

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