Wednesday, July 08, 2009

McCartney Didn't Expect Beatles Rights From Jackson

Immediately after Michael Jackson died people speculated that Michael had left the remaining Beatles publishing rights he owned to Paul McCartney. Of course when his will was looked at, this of course proved to be not true. So, then there were all these reports that McCartney had been expecting the rights and was hurt and devastated that Michael hadn't left him the rights.

Well, Paul took to his blog to quash those rumors. "Some time ago, the media came up with the idea that Michael Jackson was going to leave his share in the Beatles songs to me in his will which was completely made up and something I didn't believe for a second.

Now the report is that I am devastated to find that he didn't leave the songs to me. This is completely untrue.

I had not thought for one minute that the original report was true and therefore, the report that I'm devastated is also totally false, so don't believe everything you read folks!"

It does kind of seem unrealistic that Michael would give up those rights. Those rights alone will make sure that his children will be taken care of for the rest of their lives. I think with his massive debt, if he had decided to just give those back to Paul that would have been a very bad move for the future of his kids. I think Paul realized this. He said in his blog that he and Michael weren't that estranged over the years as had been reported. I think they probably were. I think he was probably pretty pissed that Michael didn't at least sell him the rights to the Beatles songs and I can see his point of view. They are, along with John Lennon his songs and so to have someone else control them probably does hurt.


empyrios said...

i dunno. MJ bought the rights fair and square n'est pas?

ya snooze, ya lose Pauly boy....

whole lotto luv said...

I read somewhere that many years ago, when Michael Jackson was young, McCartney advised him to invest in music publishing, and that MJ took it to heart and went and bought the catalog that contains the Beatles songs. I assume McCartney had the chance to buy them, too. Probably didn't want to have to buy them at the inflated price, since the Beatles originally gave them up for a song (bad pun, I know).

I'm not too worried about McCartney. He has plenty of money himself.

Sue Ellen Mishkey said...

I'm sure Paul McCartney isn't too broken up about it, I mean he sold them after all. Why would you sell something that you didn't want to sell in the first place? I'm sure he doesn't need the money.

califblondy said...

I heard the story about Paul advising Michael to investing in music rights. Wasn't there an auction and Paul or Paul's rep was outbid? I don't remember now exactly how Paul lost the rights, but it does kinda suck. It's been a done deal now for a lot of years and yet this subject always gets brought up. Paul has a gazillion bucks so it's not like he needs the money. Well, so long as he doesn't marry another Heather.

MISCH said...


Lisa (not original) said...

Paul is not the most responsible person on earth when it comes to his money or property, so he doesn't deserve them. They would only end up belonging to his next ex-wife.

Ultra Culture said...

If they were for sale...does it really matter who purchased them? I'm sure if Paul really wanted them, or any of the other Beatles for that matter, they would have purchased them. Seems to me that everyone is so up in arms because MJ purchased them...crazy. So are we saying...they are for sale, but not for sale to you MJ? Sounds pretty fair and square to me. I've heard no reports of any foul play. I snooze, you lose.

timebob said...

Michael Jackson years ago gave the song rights to Little Richard for his songs as a gift.

I love how the media takes one story and then twists it to a new one.

Melody the First said...

Paul doesn't have to buy them or have them left to him -- he'll get them automatically in a few years anyway when the fifty year agreement is up.

Paul and John sold that portion of the songbook when they were young and stupid (prior to major fame). They were taken advantage of. As for Yoko not wanting to deal with Paul, she has frequently joined forces with Macca to try to buy them back so I doubt that quote is correct.

When McCartney buys songbooks, it's always of entertainers who are trying to sell them. He bought Carl Perkins' songbook and has taken good care of it (making Perkins' widow and the estate a lot of money). Jackson bought the Lennon and McCartney songbook in a very underhanded way. And he also battled to keep Macca out of the bidding process.

I've no doubt McCartney hates him. I don't think a lot of him either.

lutefisk said...

I thought the story was that Michael Jackson knew how much Paul McCartney planned on bidding, & outbid him.

nunaurbiz said...

The people I know who know Paul McCartney told me he said he would never forgive MJ for going behind his back and grabbing the catalog. I think Sir Paul is being very gracious and very careful with his words regarding MJ, perhaps so as not to ruin any future possibility of getting the catalog back. From what I've been told, it wasn't so much the money that the catalog would earn, it was the thought that MJ snatched the songs away from an artist who did want to buy them for his own. As Melody said, McCartney invested in other catalogs, but never in a hostile takeover, which is what MJ did. Notice how there were no statements from McCartney after MJ died? Not a coincidence, methinks!

Squeezebox said...

The rights to McCartney/Lennon compositions begin returning to the composers in 2013. That's right, less than four years from now. Which means Paul doesn't have to worry at all about whether Jackson left him the songs or planned to leave them to him, since under copyright law, he's getting them back real soon anyway.

It also means that Enty's thought that Jackson's boughten children would be "taken care of for the rest of their lives" by ownership of these songs is incorrect. For that matter, the value of Jackson's share of the Sony/ATV catalog is but a fraction of its (estimated) worth. Reason number one: Sony has paid all the acquisition and administrative fees concerning the catalog for all these years. Jackson owes them half of those costs, which will be deducted from the proceeds when his share of the catalog is sold. Reason number two: there's gonna be beacoup capital gains taxes to pay when his share of the catalog is sold. Reason number three: he used his share of the catalog as collateral for his debts, which are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The fees, taxes, and loans will take the bulk of whatever his share sells for.

Jackson was a paper millionaire. Subtract his financial obligations and there will be money left in his estate, but no more than in the tens of millions, if that. Certainly not in the hundreds of millions.

Squeezebox said...

I should add that the Sony/ATV catalog only holds roughly 250 Lennon/McCartney copyrights anyway.
Jackson was earning about $6.5 million/year in income from his share of the entire catalog through 2005, after which his income from it decreased to approximately $2 million/year. So you see, the "Beatles copyrights" don't really generate nearly as much cash as people imagine, especially compared to the value of the catalog as a whole.

The advantage Yoko and Paul will realize as the rights revert back to them is: if they choose to manage those rights themselves (and Paul has said he intends to do just that, rather than contract with another publisher to do it for him), they'll keep 100% of the income, instead of getting only the 50% composers share.
So I rather expect the Lennon estate will probably choose to manage its rights itself, too.

The forensic accountant who went over Jackson's financials and testified at his molestation trial went into great detail about the Sony/ATV catalog and the arrangements Sony had with Jackson as to its management. Ever since Jackson sold half of it to Sony, Sony's been the only partner investing money in acquiring new copyrights. All the new acquisitions were paid for with Sony's money. They will probably buy Jackson's share, and as I noted in the previous post, half of the costs they've incurred over the years will be subtracted from the purchase price. Including interest, too.

timebob said...

I guess this means we will only have 5 more years of the Beatles music in Target & Nike commericals.

When Paul & Yoko and Lennon kids do get the rights back. I hope they never use John's music for sneakers & pots and pan shilling. I understood that John never wanted his music used for corporate profit which is why it was such a shock that it was used in the Nike commericals that MJ approved of.

kit said...

Sony will buy the remainder of the rights from the estate.

MPL, or one of their other companies, will get the reverted items when available, unless Sony decides (unlikely) to sell.

Should be interesting.

JMS said...

All I hear is Beatles music rightS, Beatles music rights. Geesh. There's no way Michael had financial problems. I'm surprise people fall for media lies of this type.

Michael is mega wealthy and I have the feeling someone didn't like the POWER he had in HollyWEIRD.

Anonymous said...

If you read the post at this URL, (which was originally posted to the Usenet group in 1996);

you'll see that this situation is pretty complicated. It's clear that both John and Paul wanted to control the rights to their songs, but in the end, it seems that a combination of their business inexperience, their manager's business inexperience and then untimely death, their failing relationship with their main partner at Northern Songs, and John and Paul's eventual falling out, worked against their maintaining the publishing rights to their songs.

Then if you read the Wikipedia entries on both Northern Music, and then Sony/ATV Music Publishing, you can see how MJ entered this picture, and first bought the ATV catalog from Robert Holmes a Court, and then later sold 50% of it to Sony. Also how in 1996, he gave Sony an option to buy half of his remaining 50% of the catalog, for their help in getting him a bank loan.

Author Brian Southall, in his book "Northern Songs", details the specific story of the how John and Paul lost the publishing rights to their songs, thereby allowing them to be sold as they were. It's described in the book that when Australian raider Robert Holmes a Court sold the ATV music catalog publishing rights to MJ, the deal required that MJ "gift" the rights to "Penny Lane", to Court's daughter, who still owns the publishing rights to that one Beatles song, today. The book also mentions that Paul has had chances to buy back the Northern Songs music publishing rights in the intervening years, (prior to MJ's buying them), and never completed the transaction for one reason or another.

Back to the subject of MJ, if after everything is settled, his estate is solvent, then his kid's real inheritance will be his song catalog, not the Beatles'. BTW, the false reports that Jackson would gift the rights to the catalog back to Lennon started before he passed away. One story back in March of this year, comes from the UK's Daily Mirror.

Melody the First said... was heavily anti-McCartney. I'd read with a shipload of salt anything you read there (anything you read anywhere online, including everything said here, for that matter).

The Truth Rocks said...

I had read that when MJ and McCartney were filming a music video together, McCartney was trying to talk Yoko into buying the rights back with him - saying they'd always be their for their children. Yoko was being cheap about it and didn't want to come up with her end of the split. McCartney was frustrated and discussing it with Jackson at the time, as he was upset and couldn't believe she was being so difficult about. Jackson went and bought them out from under him and McCartney was stunned that someone he thought was his friend, whom he trusted and confided in would do that to him. Michael never paid Ola Ray, Vincent Price, Eddie Van Halen, and a lot of other people for their work associated with Thriller either, and John Landis still has a lawsuit over the Thriller musical and him getting cut out. So I'm not surprised if he screwed McCartney over.

karen said...

It is not true that Michael didn't pay Ola! Click here and skip to the 2:00 mark.

I also don't believe that Michael didn't pay John Landis. He worked with Michael on the 'Black & White' short film after all. I doubt that he would have worked with Michael again if he still would have owed John the money for Thriller.
I don't believe the story about Price and van Halen either.
Michael was on top of his game during the Thriller era. He was filthy rich. Why shouldn't he pay those people? I bet it was peanuts for him. This makes absolutely no sense.

As for the story about that Beatles catalog; I saw an interview with one of Michael's friends a few days ago and he said that Paul and Michael were in a studio talking business when Paul told Michael that he was pondering to buy the song catalog. Well, Michael didn't ponder but immediately called his lawyers and made the deal. A few months after, Paul went up to Michael and asked him why he'd done this and that Michael must have known that he wanted to buy the catalog. Michael's only response was:
Paul, that's business!

I guess that was the end of their friendship and given that Michael had so few real friends, I think that it was really dumb of him to put business matters before friendship.


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