The estate of Michael Jackson has landed the late King of Pop the biggest recording deal in history: a $200 million guaranteed contract with Sony Music Entertainment for 10 projects over seven years, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The record-breaking contract through 2017 could be worth up to $250 million if certain conditions are met. One of the albums will be of never-before-released Jackson recordings that will come out in November, the person said.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement is expected Tuesday.
Future projects may also include a DVD compilation of videos and a re-release of "Off the Wall," Jackson's fifth studio album, which first came out in 1979, accompanied by some unreleased material. Before his sudden death in June at age 50, the pop star had wanted to re-issue the album, people familiar with the deal said.
One of the projects already counted in the contract was the two-disc album that accompanied "This Is It," the film based on footage of concert rehearsals for what was to have been Jackson's comeback at London's O2 arena.
Including the more than 5 million copies of that special release, Jackson has sold some 31 million albums since his death in June, about two-thirds of them outside the United States.
"During his life, Michael's contracts set the standard for the industry," said John Branca, the co-administrator of the Jackson estate, in a statement prepared for release Tuesday. "By all objective criteria, this agreement with Sony Music demonstrates the lasting power of Michael's music by exceeding all previous industry benchmarks."
Rob Stringer, chairman of Sony Music's Columbia Epic Label Group, said in prepared remarks, "We're dedicated to protecting this icon's legacy and we're thrilled that we can continue to bring his music to the world for the foreseeable future."
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