The Dead Celebrity Business
If you think American insurance companies have a morbid business plan, consider Hollywood estate managers. While legal maneuvering continues over the rights to Michael Jackson's estate, the King of Pop continues to make money from beyond the grave. The week of his death, I probably overheard the entire MJ discography from neighbors’ stereos, grocery store playlists, and TV segment lead-ins. But besides his music royalties, Jackson’s estate managers are making deals for a biographical film, a coffee table book and even a line of school supplies. At times imprudent with his personal finances, Jackson will benefit financial strategists who know how to market his legend.
Big Think’s Tom Freston, co-founder of MTV, says America’s fascination with celebrity is caused by people’s desire to escape their own condition and connect with something larger than themselves. Now that the raw material of Jackson’s celebrity has run out, so to speak, memorabilia is seen as finite, though of course the estate will continue to sell Jackson as long as it can. The estate has already made $100 million post-mortem, and expects another $100 million before 2010.
While the MJ coffee mugs and t-shirts are available at a knick-knack store near you, some of the more culturally significant stuff is going at a high price. You can enter the bidding for Andy Worhol’s portrait of Jackson, commissioned by Time Magazine in 1984, for $800,000.
The estate managers for the King of Pop will look to the King of Rock for their business model. Elvis Presley’s estate banked $55 million last year, and the managers of the Marilyn Monroe and James Dean estates say Jackson’s has the capacity to surpass Presley’s selling power.
The royal status of Jackson’s celebrity will be marked again on 26 September when a tribute concert will be played in his memory. Initially scheduled for the O2 Arena in London, Jackson’s brother Jermaine has chosen the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, the former Hapsburg residence.
- The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
- Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
- Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
- Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett breaks down what qualities will inspire others to believe in you.
- Here's how 300 leaders and 4,000 mid-level managers described someone with executive presence.
- Get more deep insights like these to power your career forward. Join Big Think Edge.
Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."
- Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
- Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
- Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
It marks a major shift in the government's battle against the opioid crisis.
- The nation's sixth-largest drug distributor is facing criminal charges related to failing to report suspicious drug orders, among other things.
- It marks the first time a drug company has faced criminal charges for distributing opioids.
- Since 1997, nearly 222,000 Americans have died from prescription opioids, partly thanks to unethical doctors who abuse the system.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.