The recent demise of pop legend Michael Jackson may have left millions sobbing into their back copies of Smash Hits; but others have been laughing all the way to the bank. Music publishing company Chrysalis, which published some of Michael Jackson’s best-known hits, including Rock With You, Thriller and Off the Wall, received a big boost in sales when Jackson died in June. The company has just reported a year-on-year rise of 1.2% in ‘net publisher’s share’, a music industry measure of revenues (after taking payments to artists and management into account).
Since the troubled pop star’s passing, fans have clamoured to purchase his old albums and singles, resulting in them soaring into the charts in both the US and the UK. And that wasn’t the only good news for Chrysalis: its financial performance was also bolstered by sales of albums from newer acts, including Beth Ditto’s Gossip and Mercury award-nominated bands Bat for Lashes and the Horrors.
On the face of it, you’d think rising revenues would be welcome news for any company in the music business (especially in the current climate). But Chrysalis insists that it won’t be breaking out the Cristal, since it will still lose out in the long run. As its FD Andy Mollett was quick to point out, Jackson’s planned London 02 marathon would have been a massive money spinner for all concerned – not least Chrysalis, which was anticipating elevated record sales as a result. ‘In the long run, it’s bad news for us,’ he said. As Bubbles would no doubt agree.
However, there’s no need for Chrysalis to start panicking just yet. Frankly, we suspect they'll sell a lot more records following his death than they would have done as a result of his tour. And besides, as any Jackson fan worth their salt will know, the controversial singer died on June 25; but the Chrysalis financial results only factor in sales up until June 30. So this was just five days of extra sales. Since Jackson is still topping the UK charts six weeks on, we suspect proceeds from the pop star’s records are going to be lining publishers’ pockets for a while yet.
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