Through interviews with industry experts and some number-crunching, Billboard examines the various music-based revenue streams flowing into the estate.
MUSIC SALES -- VALUE: $429 MILLION
Since his death, Jackson has sold about 9 million albums in the United States, while the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons have sold about 800,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Outside the States, Jackson's album sales for the past year stand at around 24 million units. Based on a blended worldwide retail sales price of $11.62 ($12.30 per unit less mechanical royalties), Billboard estimates that Jackson's album catalog generated about $383 million in sales.
On the digital side, Jackson's songs have generated 12.9 million track downloads in the United States in the past 12 months, according to SoundScan. Based on those figures, Billboard estimates that the total number of worldwide downloads is about 26.5 million units, with a value of $34 million (net of mechanical royalties).
Jackson's ringtone sales totaled 1.5 million last year in the States, with the bulk coming after his death. Digital ringtones sales worldwide are about twice that stateside, which brings Jackson's global ringtone tally to 3 million. At $2 per unit, ringtone revenue was about $5 million last year (net of mechanical royalties).
Monies generated from subscription services and digital performance royalties typically amount to about one-third that of mobile revenue, so Jackson's catalog probably generated about $2 million from those streams.
U.S. digital performance royalties represent about 13% of the revenue generated by single track downloads. Applying that rate to global track sales, Jackson's recording catalog generated another $4.5 million from global digital performances.
FILM/TV -- VALUE: $392 MILLION
Sony Pictures bought Jackson's rehearsal footage from AEG for $60 million. In retrospect, the price was something of a bargain. "Michael Jackson: This Is It" was released October 28, 2009, and earned $72 million at the U.S. box office, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, making it the highest-grossing concert film in history.
Overseas, the film earned $188 million at the box office; of that, $56 million was tallied in Japan alone. After AEG recouped the company's investment of more than $35 million in the canceled shows at London's O2 and the film, the bulk of the theatrical take -- court documents indicate it could be as high as 90% -- went to Jackson's estate.
On the home video front, the "This Is It" DVD has earned $43 million in U.S. sales, with 2.7 million units sold since its January 26 release, according to The-Numbers.com, a division of Nash Information Services. Nash estimates the film made another $25 million in rental revenue.
In Japan -- where the film was also sold as part of a special "This Is It" bundle for the PlayStation 3 -- DVD sales topped $18 million on its first day of release; 351,000 Blu-ray copies have been sold, according to rankings service Oricon, adding about $7 million to the total.
In terms of TV, the industry standard is that exclusive rights for ad-supported TV costs 12% of the domestic box office for a four-year window; this rule of thumb is in flux, however, as the length of exclusive windows extend and the number of outlets involved in the deals increase. In November 2009, Viacom purchased the exclusive U.S. TV rights to air "This Is It" on its MTV and BET family of networks -- including VH1 and Palladia, as well as MTV and BET -- for six years. Given the additional years in the contract and the film's box-office tally, the deal could be worth upwards of $15 million. (By contrast, FX is reported to have paid between $25 million and $30 million for just the U.S. commercial TV rights to "Avatar.")
With its family-friendly rating, "This Is It" can be shown in all distribution media outside of traditional theaters, including airplanes, cruise ships and hotel chains. Licensing fees for nontheatrical performances vary based on the movie and its potential reach and how long it will air after it debuts in theaters, but it's generally forecast to be about 7% of total revenue for a film. For "This Is It," that puts the number at $24 million.