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MIchael Jackson's Estate Extends BMI Publishing Rights Contract

Gettyimages | KMazur
By Chanel Love

Michael Jackson's estate has extended its contract with BMI allowing the publishing rights organization to continue representing the late artist's extensive songwriting catalog. From "Thriller" to "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," the music of the legendary performer has inspired and entertained millions of people across the world and across generations. Since 1979 BMI has represented Michael Jackons's intellectual property. The length of the new contract has not been shared but according to Variety Mike O’Neill, BMI’s president and CEO said the following in a statement:

“We are extremely pleased that his estate continues to entrust BMI to represent his extraordinary catalog.”

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A Legendary Career and Catalog

Gettyimages | Steve Granitz

BMI began representing the extraordinary artist at the beginning of his solo career. Michael Jackson went on to write mega-hits that topped the Billboard charts and win him 13 Grammy's and 38 Grammy nominations over the course of his thirty-year career that culminated with his untimely death in June 2009. Michael Jackson's BMI Catalog includes upwards of 150 co-written songs for himself as well as other artists. The estate of Michael Jackson last renewed it's contract with BMI in 2004.

Success on Streaming Services Amid Controversy


There has been much controversy surrounding the late performer, his music, and his personal life. The 2019 HBO Leaving Neverland documentary brought the artist back under public scrutiny as child molestation allegations were revisited. This resulted in a 41% increase in streams of Michael Jackson's music according to a Fader article that cites a Nielsen mid-year report. Apparently the heightened media attention and spectacle caused by the film led the public to revisit the artist's music despite the documentary not portraying him in a positive light.

The Man, The Myth, The Hologram

Gettyimages | Kevin Winter/Billboard Awards 2014

The HBO documentary wasn't the first time Michael Jackson and his legacy have been a cause for discussion since his death. In 2014 a hologram of the 'BIlly Jean' singer performed onstage at the Billboard Music Awards causing a legal battle between Billboard's parent company and Hologram USA over the rights to the technology that made the hologram possible. The dispute was eventually settled; however that did not stop the public from taking to social media to discuss outrage with the use of Jackson's likeness.

MJ's Legacy Lives On

Gettyimages | Pool

With all the controversy surrounding Michael Jackson, BMI is standing behind his legacy by continuing to represent and support his music. Thus far there hasn't been much chatter online regarding the relationship between the estate of Michael Jackson and BMI executives. They continue to stand behind their decision and are obviously choosing to keep the relationship strictly business versus getting involved in legal matters or matters of public opinion. It's all about the music and the impact that his catalog has had and continues to have.

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