Dead or Living Michael Jackson is the Highest Earning Entertainer of All Time

Michael Jackson has been the highest-paid celebrity since 2009, making him the most earning dead or living artist of all time. Tenth in a row, 2022 MJ made around $48 million, and was top of the list of Forbes, leaving behind legends like Elvis Presley, Kobe Bryant, Charles Schulz.

Dead or Living Michael Jackson is the Highest Earning Entertainer of All Time
© Ilpo Musto/REX/Shutterstock

It’s quite difficult if we sit around and count MJ’s records and contribution to modern pop culture. Although we are going to count staggering earnings he made since his death. The Investments Michael Jackson made in his career seemingly giving him more worth than most of today’s celebrities. Thanks to his Sony/ATV Music Publishing catalogue that made him a billionaire since 2016. Throughout Michael Jackson, since 2009 earned unbelievably around $2.5 billion including pretax and inflation adjustment.

Jackson’s payday–the largest annual gain for an entertainer, living or dead–comes courtesy of the $750 million sale of his half of the Sony/ATV publishing catalogue. He paid $47.5 million in 1985 to buy the original Beatles-packed ATV; ten years later Sony paid him $115 million to partner up; including annual distributions, the final sale earned him an annualized 30% return.
Forbes | 2016

2016 and 2018 was the biggest year of MJ in terms of earning making more than $1.2 billion. Here’s in Forbes’s words.

Jackson again tops our list of the highest-paid dead celebrities list after hauling in $400 million over the past year, mostly from the sale of his EMI Music Publishing stake…Mijac Music catalogue, a new Sony record deal and projects like TV special Michael Jackson’s Halloween.
Forbes | 2018

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