Will Sony Music turn Michael Jackson’s death into a Tupac Shakur-like posthumous profit?

March 16, 12:33 PMAfrican American Entertainment ExaminerMichael Langston Moore

Michael Jackson’s estate has inked a $200 million deal with Sony Music Entertainment to produce ten project over the next seven years, ventures that may include new album releases, a video game, DVD’s and more.

Just nine months after Jackson’s death, is it possible that Sony Music will turn the “King of Pop” into a post-death Tupac Shakur–an artist whose reputation continues to be milked for profit long after his untimely demise?

Similar in vein to Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur died suddenly, albeit violently, when he was gunned down in Las Vegas in 1996. Since then, Interscope Records, in conjunction with Amaru Entertainment (founded by Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur), have continued to release posthumous albums by the beloved rapper.

In fact, in the past ten years, Interscope has given rap fans four posthumous Tupac albums, all met with mixed reviews: Until the End of Time (2001), Better Dayz (2002), Loyal to the Game (2004), Pac’s Life (2006). This doesn’t include other albums such as The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (released a month after Tupac’s death in 1996), R U Still Down? (Remember Me) (1997) and the soundtrack to Tupac Resurrection (2003), as well as a bevy of documentaries, books, and other merchandise.

Despite this truth, there is little doubt that a huge demand for Michael Jackson–especially overseas–exists. The Walt Disney Co. recently unearthed the 17-minute Jackson movie-attraction “Captain EO” at Disneyland. The Hong Kong based collectible production company Hot Toys will release yet another high-end Michael Jackson figure this year, and the 2009 film “This Is It” grossed more than $260 million worldwide.

Due to his posthumous success, it looks like Michael Jackson will walk the same path as Tupac Shakur in death–a larger-than-life celebrity whose rabid fan desires and consumes new music, products, and information regarding their beloved, fallen star.


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