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teambranca
01-13-2010, 11:26 AM
Perhaps a conspiracy section should be added under Investigation or in another section. I do not believe he was killed by Sony. However I do believe they were not fair with him and likely wanted that catalogue. I would be intersted in more facts/stories regarding these types of maneuvers against Michael.





interesting blog on oprah's site:
romanyray wrote:

I found a youtube audio with two Sony executives who back up Michael Jackson's claim that Sony did give him a hard time. They made it very difficult for him to recoup money from his records. The King of Pop. So his commentary was valid. One executive goes so far as to say that he believes Michael Jackson was blackmailed. ( The exec didn't say Sony was involved but he thought it was blackmail) He believes the truth will eventually reveal itself. It was a radio interview.

Part 1/6- Exclusive interview with Sony/Epic Executives reveals the TRUTH about Michael Jackson. I don't believe Michael Jackson did anything. He never acted like a guilty man. Never.




Remember the sony exec youtube audio interview,romanyray posted it back in August. In it one of the execs clearly states that MJ was having trouble with Sony. Sony was making it difficult for him to recoup money on his albums. At the time I didn't completely understand what the Sony exec was talking about but I read an article today titled " BACK IN 2002....WHY INVINCIBLE BECAME INVISIBLE...." which sheds a big bright light on what the Sony exec was referring to. And guess what the Sony/ATV catalog was tied to the album. It was used as collateral. Sony was forcing MJ into a position where he would lose control of the catalog including the Beatles music.


After reading the article I can understand why Michael may have been suspicious of Sony.


Excerpt:




THE TRUTH The reason why INVINCIBLE is no longer being promoted by Sony Music is because the record company is fighting with Michael Jackson over a financial matter. A few years ago, as an advance on payments on the forthcoming sales of INVINCIBLE, Michael Jackson negotiated a loan from Sony Music, a common transaction between artists and record companies. In order to validate the loan, Michael Jackson had to put his ownership in the ATV Music Publishing catalog (including the 251-song Beatles' catalog) as collateral.




I'm kinda freaked out.




http://www.oprah.com/community/threads/111308;jsessionid=ac11087830d61d5f139bc8c24c4eb755 9ea8a7446532.e38LaxmSb3qRe3iKe0?numResults=30&filter=newest

MJsChick
01-13-2010, 11:34 AM
Very interesting. I too agree that maybe we should have a conspiracy section. All good conspiracies have a thread of truth to them. And if you put one or two of them together, you normally come up with some pretty interesting conclusions.

Lizard76
01-13-2010, 12:04 PM
I don't want to believe conspiracy theories simply because they make my heart ache and I would rather live in denial. However, I keep going back to the idea that Michael wasn't just Michael -- he was the CEO of an incredibly lucrative corporation. And we all know for a fact, in the corporate world, conspiracy and sabotage rule the day in order to make or save money. It's just the way things are done. So, 2 + 2 = 4 in my book. I don't think they were involved in his death, but they definitely were ancillary contributors.

Norii
01-13-2010, 12:14 PM
The thing about conspiracy theories is that they never seem to be proven true :( I'm pretty sure Sony was giving Michael a hard time, but just like Lizard76 said ... it all comes with the business world, when there's THAT much money involved there will always be people trying to blackmail others in order to get the Jackpot :( I'm sure Michael was a victim of these kind of atrocities pretty much all of his life ... I don't think Sony is after his death either.. but I sure think they wanted Michael's part of the business >.<

teambranca
01-13-2010, 12:24 PM
I don't want to believe conspiracy theories simply because they make my heart ache and I would rather live in denial. However, I keep going back to the idea that Michael wasn't just Michael -- he was the CEO of an incredibly lucrative corporation. And we all know for a fact, in the corporate world, conspiracy and sabotage rule the day in order to make or save money. It's just the way things are done. So, 2 + 2 = 4 in my book. I don't think they were involved in his death, but they definitely were ancillary contributors.


Well said. They definitely significantly contributed to his continuous stress and anguish. :angel:

sparklesocks
01-13-2010, 01:16 PM
*putting on my mod (tito jackson collection bowler) hat*

Because the line between conspiracy and regular investigation is kind of hazy, I think having a whole conspiracy subforum would break up the conversations a little too much and leave a lot of threads unnoticed. For now, I think clearly marked threads within the Investigation section are the way to go. This can always change in the future, as more information comes out or as the investigation develops, so we'll keep our eye on it.

This is actually a really good opportunity to start using a forum feature that we're going to NEED to start using very soon... tagging posts. If you notice, when you start a thread, there's an area for tags under additional options.

If you start a conspiracy thread, tag it investigation, conspiracy (plus whatever other relevant tags) that way, the conspiracy threads will always be easy to find.

Lets see how that works for now, and go from there.

-SS

crillon
01-13-2010, 01:19 PM
Great thread, TB. And, although like you, I am reluctant to jump on the conspiracy theory bandwagon, I think it's good to keep an open mind. A conspiracy thread is a great idea...

As to these Sony allegations, it seems that the source of most of Michael's trouble at Sony was with Matolla--that there was a real power struggle between them. Matolla wanted Michael to do a US tour to support the release of Invincible (which MJ declined) and Michael was upset with many of the songs on Invincible being "formula songs" written by others per Matolla's direction. After Michael's public protests against Matolla and once Michael reached out to Sony's Chairman, Morita, things began to change. Matolla was ousted and Sony began to back Michael once again, which coincided with the beginning of the trial. I'd be curious about the timeframe these Sony executives are talking about. (Also, during this time, MJ did not have the benefit of Branca's wisdom.)

Having said that--the catalogue is a lucrative asset for Sony and the MJ Estate. But, presuming the Estate can pay off ALL the loans to Sony, Michael's Estate should own the catalogue outright. Is that correct? I would think that with Michael's passing, his Estate is in a better position financially and politically to secure the Catalogue.

MJOneGoodMan
01-13-2010, 01:29 PM
There's a new book out called The Trials of Michael Jackson. I gather it's about the Sony/Michael thing.

No doubt in my mind that Sony wanted that catalogue from the time Michael bought it and would still want it! Who wouldn't I guess. But I'm willing to consider any conspiracy theory where that ATV catalogue is concerned. It's all about money and power and who has it. Waiting to see what happens.



Having said that--the catalogue is a lucrative asset for Sony and the MJ Estate. But, presuming the Estate can pay off ALL the loans to Sony, Michael's Estate should own the catalogue outright. Is that correct? I would think that with Michael's passing, his Estate is in a better position financially and politically to secure the Catalogue.

Michael borrowed against his 50% share of Sony/ATV. If all the loans are paid back, Michael's estate will still own 50%. Sony has the other 50%.

crillon
01-13-2010, 01:51 PM
There's a new book out called The Trials of Michael Jackson. I gather it's about the Sony/Michael thing.

No doubt in my mind that Sony wanted that catalogue from the time Michael bought it and would still want it! Who wouldn't I guess. But I'm willing to consider any conspiracy theory where that ATV catalogue is concerned. It's all about money and power and who has it. Waiting to see what happens.



Michael borrowed against his 50% share of Sony/ATV. If all the loans are paid back, Michael's estate will still own 50%. Sony has the other 50%.

What is confusing is that Michael originally owned 100% of the Catalogue. Did he sell 50% to Sony or just use that 50% as collateral for a loan from Sony?

I thought his plan was to regain complete control of the Catalogue. So, presumably, if there's enough cash, the Estate could own it outright.

teambranca
01-13-2010, 01:54 PM
This is actually a really good opportunity to start using a forum feature that we're going to NEED to start using very soon... tagging posts. If you notice, when you start a thread, there's an area for tags under additional options.

If you start a conspiracy thread, tag it investigation, conspiracy (plus whatever other relevant tags) that way, the conspiracy threads will always be easy to find.

Lets see how that works for now, and go from there.

-SS[/B]

Thank you.

Pic requested with the Tito Collection bowler hat please ;)

teambranca
01-13-2010, 02:10 PM
What is confusing is that Michael originally owned 100% of the Catalogue. Did he sell 50% to Sony or just use that 50% as collateral for a loan from Sony?

I thought his plan was to regain complete control of the Catalogue. So, presumably, if there's enough cash, the Estate could own it outright.

Michael orginally paid $47.5 million for the catalogue in 1987. He then sold Sony half for about $95 million in 1995 and merged the catalogue with their ATV catalogue. Later as the value of the catalogue continued to increase Michael used it as collateral for massive loans. His portion of the catalogue is held in trust for his heirs and is somehow protected from creditors upon his death. I do not know or understand the details of the latterl

More random info about the history of the catalogue and publishing rights:

The point is, being a publisher doesn't give you all that much control over the songs you own; mainly it gives you the right to the profits they earn. You don't even get to keep all of that; typically you have to give 50% to each song's composer(s), one reason not to feel too sorry for Paul McCartney and the estate of John Lennon. (So Michael always gave Lennon's estate and McCartney their 50%. Paul wanted to negotiate a higher percentage and MJ's camp said no...standard rates apply). Another reason is that McCartney, despite having gotten skunked out of his own songs, contrived to buy the rights to 3,000 others, including the Buddy Holly catalog, and reportedly is worth $600 million. Not that he's happy, of course. Paul's mad at Michael Jackson not merely because he lost control of the Beatles library but also because Jackson won't discuss giving McCartney a higher composer's royalty for the old tunes.

The last reason not to feel sorry for Paul is that if he got skunked it's his own fault. In the 60s, to avoid confiscatory British taxes, he and Lennon turned their publishing rights over to newly-organized Northern Songs, a publicly-held company in which they owned sizable but apparently not controlling blocks of stock. ( ME - THIS WAS TO AVOID PAYING 90% INCOME TAX RATES AND RATHER HAVE THE INCOME BE SUBJECT TO CAPITAL GAINS TAX RATES). In 1969 music mogul Lew Grade launched a takeover bid for Northern Songs in which he offered seven times the stock's original offering price. Lennon and McCartney, feuding as usual, were unable to organize an effective defense and the company was sold out from under them. This made them even more fabulously wealthy than they already were, since their stock was now worth seven times as much. However, they were still pissed on account of, you know, the principle of the thing. The Teeming Millions can surely sympathize

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1211/does-michael-jackson-control-the-beatles-music-library

ivygivy
01-13-2010, 02:33 PM
What is confusing is that Michael originally owned 100% of the Catalogue. Did he sell 50% to Sony or just use that 50% as collateral for a loan from Sony?

I thought his plan was to regain complete control of the Catalogue. So, presumably, if there's enough cash, the Estate could own it outright.

He owns 50% and had collateralized some of that share.

Wikipedia has a very informative entry on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony/ATV_Music_Publishing


After Jackson's acquisition of ATV Music Publishing, his record label, CBS, were negotiating the sale of their record division in an unrelated deal. Following hurriedly arranged meetings and disagreements over the selling price, a deal was sealed by Jackson during a concert in Tokyo.[11] Upon seeing the success of this sale, Japanese corporation Sony sought to break away from its core business of hardware manufacturing and diversify into music, films and games. Looking for further opportunities, the company aimed to expand its music publishing interests. The Japanese corporation offered Jackson $90 million for 50% of ATV Music Publishing in 1995.[11][12] Jackson gladly accepted; he had essentially acquired half ownership of the Beatles' songs for a large profit.[11] Jackson's own songs were not included in the deal.[10] Having been merged, the company was renamed Sony/ATV Music Publishing and became the third largest music publisher in the world.[11] Michael P. Schulhof, President and CEO of Sony, welcomed the merger and praised Jackson for his efforts in the venture. "Michael Jackson is not only the most successful entertainer in history; he is also an astute businessman. Michael understands the importance of copyrights and the role they play in the introduction to new technologies."[10] He added that Jackson recognises Sony's "leadership in developing and realizing new technologies that serve to expand the creative horizon of artists such as himself".[10] Administrative expertise was provided by Sony, who installed Paul Russell as chairman. Jackson was a company director and attended board meetings regularly.[11] As each party in the arrangement held the power of veto, both sides would have to agree on a decision before it could be made. If neither party agreed on a decisions, they would not be implemented.[11]

From CNN:

To finance his lifestyle, Jackson borrowed money, using the catalog as collateral. Nevertheless, he never lost the asset.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/07/09/jackson.mccartney/index.html

MJsChick
01-13-2010, 06:36 PM
I researched the Sony/ATV catalog a while back. I wish I could remember my sources so I could site them. But, from what I remember, Michael did buy the catalog outright. Then he sold 50% to Sony and retained 50%. But in later years he sold another 50% of the catalog leaving himself with a 1/4 share of his original purchase. And that 1/4 was heavily taxed when he constantly borrowed against it.

MJOneGoodMan
01-13-2010, 07:57 PM
The way I understand it is like this.

Michael bought the ATV song catalogue. He then sold his ATV catalogue to Sony, earning a large profit because he sold it for a lot more than he bought it for. Apart from the money Michael received the deal meant that he also became became 50/50 partners with Sony, each partner owning a 50% share of the combined Sony and ATV catalogues.

Then Michael took out loans against his 50% share. He was given the loans because his 50% of Sony/ATV is such a valuable asset. So he still owned the 50% even though he borrowed heavily against it.

Then he took out a further loan/s, again using his 50% ownership of Sony/ATV as a borrowing tool but part of this deal was that Sony got the first option to buy 25% of Michael's 50% if Michael decided to or had to sell some of his 50% share. In other words, if Michael got into trouble because he couldn't pay back his loans he may have been forced to sell 25% of his 50% share in the company but he couldn't just sell it to anyone - he had to offer it to Sony first. If Sony then bought 25% from Michael then Sony would own 75% and Michael would own 25%.

Now Michael's estate owns the 50% but at the same time Michael's estate is still paying back the loans against it. But the deal with Sony still applies. If Michael's estate doesn't or can't pay back the loan or decides to sell some of the Sony/ATV shares, Sony still has the first option to buy them.

MJsPYT777
01-13-2010, 08:55 PM
There are going to be conspiracies, but there is one lingering question in my head..if you are a music ex, why would you NOT promote your artist's album, especially this artist is the greatest entertainer or all time?? If I were in that shoes, I would do whatever he wanted to make sure it was the best album out there, promoting it like crazy. And what did we get? ONE music video and a CD signing in New York City. I didn't even know that "Cry" had a music video until last year, I hadn't heard any other songs off the album until I actually bought it. Looking back when Michael was rebelling against Sony, from the public eye it looked like he was going overboard but now I realize why, they were using the CD as collateral, trying to force him to give up the rights to his own music. When he refused they didn't promote his album, simple as that. I also feel that when MJ was in the works creating the album, Sony basically wanted it to be "Thriller Part 2". They wanted to make sure they were going to get enough money as possible, however lightening doesn't strike twice and they didn't like what the heard.
Another thing that bugs me is they were hell bent on getting the catalouge away from Michael. Never mind the fact that he owned the rights to other musician songs, but once he got ahold of the Beatles people immediatly began to shake in their books and call him 'crazy' for doing it. Honestly, people are so obsessed with having the Beatles or Elvis as the best entertainers, then Michael comes along and IMO does it damn better than the both of them combined. Next thing you know, Thriller is the Best selling album of all time and they get worried. He buys the catalog and they piss in their pants because omg you can't have an entertainer..let alone a Black entertainer steal the spotlight and have power over their own music! Sony was determined to get Michael for all he's worth. They are not responsible for his death but they sure damn made his life a living hell the last few years. Oh, I'm sure they shed a tear when he died, but it's only a matter of time before they try to pull out the big guns and go after everything.

Lizard76
01-13-2010, 10:30 PM
I was one of those people who, when Michael came out against Motolla, I thought, "Michael's flipped his lid." But when you listen to what he said, and not the sound bytes, it's not anything other than he always said -- that artists, particularly Black artists, got screwed out of rights and royalties and many writers of some of the most enduring songs died peniless. The wife of the attorney who brokered the original catalog sale even said that Michael didn't even care about the Beatles and Elvis stuff, he wanted the Black artists' music, as a historian of Black music! Hindsight is 20/20, but it makes me scratch my head even now to think people thought he wanted to get his hands on the Beatles stuff. I am sure that made the deal more attractive, but Berry Gordy was the man's mentor -- he was making an investment in American Black history.

So, this is to say that it astonishes me every day to think that anyone, myself included, ever thought Michael was anything less than smart, savvy, and methodical in his business dealings. And you know what? He was so dogged when it came to his spending habits, and that his enterprise was in the red - and I am not here to defend his financial choices -- but what did he spend money on? Real estate, art, collectibles, publishing catalogs. He wasn't dumb -- he knew he was going to die one day, and he knew what assets he had.

Maybe I am deluding myself. I want to believe he one-upped them all. I hate thinking of him being pushed around a chess board like those musicians he was fighting for. But ... maybe he was. In the end, who made the most from Michael's death? Sony. So they had their cake and ate it too.


There are going to be conspiracies, but there is one lingering question in my head..if you are a music ex, why would you NOT promote your artist's album, especially this artist is the greatest entertainer or all time?? If I were in that shoes, I would do whatever he wanted to make sure it was the best album out there, promoting it like crazy. And what did we get? ONE music video and a CD signing in New York City. I didn't even know that "Cry" had a music video until last year, I hadn't heard any other songs off the album until I actually bought it. Looking back when Michael was rebelling against Sony, from the public eye it looked like he was going overboard but now I realize why, they were using the CD as collateral, trying to force him to give up the rights to his own music. When he refused they didn't promote his album, simple as that. I also feel that when MJ was in the works creating the album, Sony basically wanted it to be "Thriller Part 2". They wanted to make sure they were going to get enough money as possible, however lightening doesn't strike twice and they didn't like what the heard.
Another thing that bugs me is they were hell bent on getting the catalouge away from Michael. Never mind the fact that he owned the rights to other musician songs, but once he got ahold of the Beatles people immediatly began to shake in their books and call him 'crazy' for doing it. Honestly, people are so obsessed with having the Beatles or Elvis as the best entertainers, then Michael comes along and IMO does it damn better than the both of them combined. Next thing you know, Thriller is the Best selling album of all time and they get worried. He buys the catalog and they piss in their pants because omg you can't have an entertainer..let alone a Black entertainer steal the spotlight and have power over their own music! Sony was determined to get Michael for all he's worth. They are not responsible for his death but they sure damn made his life a living hell the last few years. Oh, I'm sure they shed a tear when he died, but it's only a matter of time before they try to pull out the big guns and go after everything.

crillon
01-13-2010, 11:01 PM
I was one of those people who, when Michael came out against Motolla, I thought, "Michael's flipped his lid." But when you listen to what he said, and not the sound bytes, it's not anything other than he always said -- that artists, particularly Black artists, got screwed out of rights and royalties and many writers of some of the most enduring songs died peniless. The wife of the attorney who brokered the original catalog sale even said that Michael didn't even care about the Beatles and Elvis stuff, he wanted the Black artists' music, as a historian of Black music! Hindsight is 20/20, but it makes me scratch my head even now to think people thought he wanted to get his hands on the Beatles stuff. I am sure that made the deal more attractive, but Berry Gordy was the man's mentor -- he was making an investment in American Black history.

So, this is to say that it astonishes me every day to think that anyone, myself included, ever thought Michael was anything less than smart, savvy, and methodical in his business dealings. And you know what? He was so dogged when it came to his spending habits, and that his enterprise was in the red - and I am not here to defend his financial choices -- but what did he spend money on? Real estate, art, collectibles, publishing catalogs. He wasn't dumb -- he knew he was going to die one day, and he knew what assets he had.

Maybe I am deluding myself. I want to believe he one-upped them all. I hate thinking of him being pushed around a chess board like those musicians he was fighting for. But ... maybe he was. In the end, who made the most from Michael's death? Sony. So they had their cake and ate it too.

Don't you think the Estate made the most money from Michael's death?

MJOneGoodMan
01-14-2010, 12:40 AM
So, this is to say that it astonishes me every day to think that anyone, myself included, ever thought Michael was anything less than smart, savvy, and methodical in his business dealings. And you know what? He was so dogged when it came to his spending habits, and that his enterprise was in the red - and I am not here to defend his financial choices -- but what did he spend money on? Real estate, art, collectibles, publishing catalogs. He wasn't dumb -- he knew he was going to die one day, and he knew what assets he had.

Maybe I am deluding myself. I want to believe he one-upped them all. I hate thinking of him being pushed around a chess board like those musicians he was fighting for. But ... maybe he was. In the end, who made the most from Michael's death? Sony. So they had their cake and ate it too.

Then I'm deluding myself too Lizard. I too believe he had wealth beyond imagination, not necessarily in cash but definitely in assets. Funny you should mention chess, because I also think it's been like a game of chess for a very long time. Even Branca has said that there were only a few people who knew the extent of his "empire" (Branca's word). Guess we'll see what happens....

Lizard76
01-14-2010, 04:19 PM
Don't you think the Estate made the most money from Michael's death?

Honestly, I think it remains to be seen -- after the children reach majority.

MJOneGoodMan
01-19-2010, 01:58 AM
I posted in this thread earlier on what was my understanding at the time. I've since read a book (I posted a new thread about that earlier) which explains the Sony shares like this:

"The loans he (Michael) had would not go away, however, and the singer was forced to enter into an agreement with Sony, under which Sony assumed the debt in return for half of Jackson's shares in Sony ATV. The company also negotiated an option to puchase the remaining shares, an option which they could take up at any time of their choosing. These shares were transferred to a trust of which Jackson was a stakeholder. This convoluted structure enabled the King of Pop to say, with just-about-honesty, that he still "owned" his half of Sony ATV. But in realtiy the whole company now belonged to Sony. Their desire to have complete control, put into motion years previously by Norio Ohga, was finally fulfilled."

Source: "The Trials of Michael Jackson" - Lynton Guest


I'm so freakin' angry. Don't know what else to say.

RedCorvette
01-19-2010, 04:15 AM
What I heard in 2002/2003 was that Sony were afraid of a backlash (a.k.a. boycott) from Michael's very loyal millions of fans world-wide and so decided to tread "softly, softly" with Michael and extend an olive branch, of sorts. The problems between Michael and Sony were eased, somewhat, with the demise of Tommy Motolla and the employment of new/different executives. I'm not sure what information the book or the article includes.....but I'm fairly sure that the Sony/ATV catalogue still figures prominently in Michael's Estate. In recent weeks, I have read that the Estate lawyers were endeavouring to pay off loans and restructure/refinance others, using collateral other than the catalogue...so that it could be free from being used as collateral in the future. It would therefore be unencumbered and safe from being lost back to Sony. I also read that it was held in a trust, of some kind, which somehow affords it protection against being lost back to Sony. Thus, it cannot be true that Michael had already lost ownership of the catalogue, IMO.

Just on another point. I am no way "taking sides" with Sony against Michael....but I can see what caused some of the friction. Sony executives (all executives) are businessmen, first and foremost. They run things purely as a business and it's all about efficiency, cost effectiveness, maximum profits for minimum time and effort. Michael was also a businessman....but he was first and foremost an ARTIST.....a creative genius....a perfectionist. Michael was notorious for taking too long to produce albums....he would almost have an entire album finished...then scrap ALL of it and begin again. He was notorious for not producing enough albums. It was Michael, according to some, who always wanted to produce "another Thriller". Sony wanted him to churn out more albums, more frequently, that were good albums which would get into the top ten or top twenty, consistently. Michael wanted every album to be Number 1 (and they were).......but that took time and money. Invincible is reportedly the most expensive album to ever be created....at a staggering cost of 30 million dollars....Sony insisted on Michael putting up the catalogue as collateral for the album, because they were skittish about sales reaching the numbers that would be required in order to recoup the debt and make any profits at all. Michael was angry that Sony put him over that barrel....things were said...tempers flared......Sony went cold on promoting the album....Michael smelled a rat. IMO...Michael went public, in order to prevent Sony from calling in his loans/debts and therefore give him some time to protect the catalogue in other ways. I could be wrong, but these are my understandings.

MJOneGoodMan
01-19-2010, 06:35 AM
I hope you're right RC, but I think Sony do have at minimum 75% of the Sony ATV catalogue with an option to take up the remaining 25% whenever they wish.

I think also that they also still have ownership of Michael's back catalogue of songs, which Michael had thought would revert to him. This back catalogue includes 'Thriller'.

I also read where Branca had restructured the loan against Michael's own catalogue, Mijac, so that the loan now has more favourable terms. Rather than restructuring the loan they should have been able to pay the loan back completely by now. I know the estate has other things to consider but I still think they should have at least been able to pay off this loan.

To my knowledge there has been no attempt by Michael's estate to pay off or restructure the loan against the Sony ATV catalogue. This is because (again according to this book) there is no loan to pay off. Michael gave 25% of his shares to Sony. In return Sony took over the debt. Sony can also take up the remaining 25% whenever they want to.

I hope this is completely wrong.

ivygivy
01-19-2010, 10:28 AM
Wow, thank you so much for your responses. You guys do your research!

I have never heard that Michael sold any piece of the catalog, after the initial 50%. I would also say that I am almost certain he owned the rights to his own songs. I remember when John Landis was suing for Thriller, I read all that had to happen in order to Landis to get his money and it was all through companie Michael owned. I'm not positive though, and unfortunately, I can't really look up sources right now, but will later.

Do you know who the sources are for that book, MJOGM?

MJOneGoodMan
01-19-2010, 11:09 AM
The book is called "The Trials of Michael Jackson" by Lynton Guest. I started another thread about it in this section. The book contains shocking revelations about Sony and it's conspiracy against Michael since 1994.

ivygivy
01-19-2010, 11:51 AM
The book is called "The Trials of Michael Jackson" by Lynton Guest. I started another thread about it in this section. The book contains shocking revelations about Sony and it's conspiracy against Michael since 1994.

Do you know what sources the book uses? Like, does Guest explain where he got his information?

MJOneGoodMan
01-19-2010, 12:36 PM
He speaks from the point of view of an insider, someone privvy to the workings of the music industry. He thanks especially Paul Russell, former Vice-President of Sony Music Entertainment and a former executive of CBS Records, someone the author says, knew Michael well. He also thanks a Les Molloy (?) and there are many others named in his acknowledgements, only a couple of names I know - Walter Yetnikoff, Kiki King, Robert Stigwood.

He thanks "other people who cannot be named, especially those at the Sony Corporation and Sony BMG."

The author says he's an historian, researcher and journalist. He says his research for the book took him to London, New York, California and Tokyo. He has also been a band member (a keyboard player), his band had a #1 hit, and a music publisher for a short time.

RedCorvette
01-19-2010, 05:19 PM
Yes...but Ian Halperin claims to be an insider, as well. If Sony had the option to take over the remaining 25% of the catalogue any time they wish...I'm fairly sure they would have done that already. That tells me that it's not as easy as all that. That tells me that the remaining 25% could, indeed, have some kind of protection, through the trust, which is what I originally understood. Michael was very smart, in business, usually. Even though he originally owned 100% of the catalogue and then sold 50% back to Sony, he did that for a VERY healthy profit. If a further 25% went back to Sony (now giving them 75% all up)...you can rest assured that it cost them a tidy sum...i.e. paying off whatever loans needed to be cleared at the time. Michael knew that gradually the various elements of the catalogue would be returned to the original owners, as the time limitations began to run out.......chances are he was trying to squeeze as much return as possible out of it, before that happened. It's the remaining 25% that the Estate's lawyers are trying to de-collateralize (my own new word, I think!)....so that it remains controlled by the Estate for as long as possible. In any event...whatever the situation is...it's nothing any of us can do much about....so I have vowed not to let myself get too upset about it. I have to remember that business is always just that.... business.... and what ever went down was ultimately agreed to and sanctioned by Michael, for his own reasons and to suit his own ends. I don't doubt that there were pressures brought to bear.......I don't doubt that perhaps some things were not "fair"...but then, when is business ever fair???? If you want to listen to Paul McCartney's whinging, he'll probably tell you that Michael wasn't "fair" when he bought the catalogue in the first place!!! LOL

MJOneGoodMan
01-19-2010, 07:23 PM
Paul wouldn't have a right to do that though :D

The various elements of the catalogue don't necessarily return to their original owners, it depends on the individual contract. You're right though, business is business but sometimes it crosses the line and becomes something more than that. I hope this didn't happen in Michael's case. It is upsetting to think that it might have. I too had thought that Michael still owned 25% of the Sony ATV catalogue but now I'm not so sure. To my knowledge, the two loans that are being restructured are the loans against the Mijac catalogue. I can't find anything to say that loans against 25% of Sony ATV are being restructured. I'll keep looking. We don't know the full outcome of anything yet though I guess.

crillon
02-01-2010, 04:00 PM
I was searching online to see if I could find out whether or not Michael gained control over the masters to his albums. The timing of that is very interesting...they were suppose to revert back to Michael's complete control (meaning Sony would be cut out of getting any %) sometime between 2008 and 2011.

Does anyone know if he regained control before he died?

GlitterySocks
02-01-2010, 04:54 PM
I was searching online to see if I could find out whether or not Michael gained control over the masters to his albums. The timing of that is very interesting...they were suppose to revert back to Michael's complete control (meaning Sony would be cut out of getting any %) sometime between 2008 and 2011.

Does anyone know if he regained control before he died?

CRILLON I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!! I was seriously just about to post this video and I read your post. Wow.

YouTube- TOMMY MOTTOLA ON MICHAEL JACKSON'S UNREALISED SONGS

crillon
02-01-2010, 05:50 PM
CRILLON I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!! I was seriously just about to post this video and I read your post. Wow.

YouTube- TOMMY MOTTOLA ON MICHAEL JACKSON'S UNREALISED SONGS (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sItXxlQEmMs)

GS, LOL--this is not the first time that's happened, too!!! We are channeling each other :)

Thanks for posting the video. In this clip, Motollo is addressing the unpublished songs in the "Sony vault" and I believe they were also included in the agreement to return the masters of MJ"s albums that Sony produced--so everything was to go back to Michael. Interesting that he says Sony still has custody of the unpublished songs...

What I find weird is why is Tommy Motollo aka the devilish one speaking on behalf of Sony? He is the former head of Sony's music entertainment division. Why would Sony allow him to speak for them when he has nothing to do with anything at Sony, or does he? This is a very curious thing to me...I'd love to know if NBC/Today Show called over to Sony for a spokesman to appear on their show and they asked Motolo to do it, or did the show's producer just call him directly? It's odd, given Michael's well-publicized estranged (to say the least) relationship with him, that NBC would ask Mottolo to speak about Michael's death & unpublished songs...

I would like to find out if the album masters were returned to Michael. Roger Friedman reported that Sony would return all of Michael's album masters within 5-8 years, acc to the Agreement they struck in 2003.. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but the timing bothers me a lot and then Mottolo popping up to speak (what appears to be) on behalf of Sony really has the wheels turning...

What do you guys think?

GlitterySocks
02-12-2010, 08:26 AM
Wow...I found this video this morning. I have never heard Michael tell these details before! This whole speech is intense! The part when he talked about buying half of the publishing rights and the part about Mariah Carey were just...wow.

YouTube- Michael Jackson Vs Sony - Speech London

ETA: This got me so riled up again that I want to go and listen to Invincible today!

crillon
02-12-2010, 11:59 AM
I just found this dated article in Billboard that covers the aftermath of MJ's death (from a business perspective), some of the AEG business decisions re/TII and Sony's involvement. Thought it was interesting background with material I hadn't seen before.

For example, Randy Phillips is the one who made the suggestion to Michael that they film his rehearsals.

That AEG decided to give 90% of the revenues from TII to the Jackson Estate, even though they made a significant upfront investment.

After Michael died, how Randy Phillips immediately "locked down" the Staples Center, including Michael's dressing room, so that noone could take photos, release info to the media.

That Michael would have been so pleased with how over the top everyone at Sony Pictures was regarding the attention they gave this project.

http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3i148e1ece59e59865bd457f8d283482ee

MJOneGoodMan
02-12-2010, 12:13 PM
Hey guys. This is something that, well, to say I'm interested in is an understatement. I've seen both those videos, the Michael one and the Tommy Mottola one.

Haven't been able to find out whether the masters (I think they're also called mechanical copyright) have been returned. To the best of my knowledge they haven't and Mottola kind of backs that up in the video posted by GS.

crillon
02-12-2010, 12:17 PM
Wow...I found this video this morning. I have never heard Michael tell these details before! This whole speech is intense! The part when he talked about buying half of the publishing rights and the part about Mariah Carey were just...wow.

YouTube- Michael Jackson Vs Sony - Speech London (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx4NwrMtgw8&feature=related)

ETA: This got me so riled up again that I want to go and listen to Invincible today!

GS, he was really riled up about Sony when Motollo was president and, with fan support, successfully got him fired. But, it's a shame that the chairman and others at Sony didn't step in sooner to stop the madness--because they lost a mega artist (& moneymaker) who was otherwise happy at Sony for 20 years. Sony management blew it.

Here's a follow up article about the end of MJ's recording relationship with Sony that appeared right after this London video:

Tuesday , June 18, 2002
By Roger Friedman

Michael Jackson, Sony Music Getting Divorced

It's over. And I mean, officially. Michael Jackson is leaving Sony Music.

At an event in London over the weekend, Jackson told his British fan club that he was done with Sony. All he had left to fulfill his contract, he said, was a greatest hits album with three new tracks. The new tracks were done, he said, and that was it. He bragged that he was leaving with his half of the Beatles catalog.

My inside sources at Sony told me yesterday that essentially what Michael told his fans was true. With the failed sales of Invincible (2 million copies), Sony's refusal to put out Jackson's charity single "What More Can I Give?" and Jackson's recent bonding with Al Sharpton and Johnnie Cochran in an effort to embarrass Sony, the party is over. Jackson is now free to shop for a new label.

But don't be fooled by Jackson's declarations about the Beatles catalog. Even though he retains a 50 percent interest in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, he has, as my source knowledgeable about the business side of things at Sony says: "A lot of debt with us here at Sony. We have no interest in foreclosing on it as long as Michael fulfills the terms of his agreement with us. He's paying off the interest as far as I know, and that's what's going to happen."

In other words: Jackson will be in hock to Sony for the rest of his life. I think I've told readers of this column many times that Sony would not foreclose but instead let Jackson have a graceful exit from the company. To foreclose on the catalog would have been a public relations nightmare for Sony.

But this solution also has its drawbacks for Michael, who called Sony's Tommy Mottola "the devil" during his well-chosen remarks over the weekend. He remains highly leveraged, borrowing money against the Beatles and his own song catalog as well as against Neverland. As I reported here exclusively a couple of months ago, Jackson had to borrow money from a bank last year by using a $2 million watch as collateral � so he could pay for the watch.

As Jackson exits Sony, he also leaves behind his catalog including the hit albums Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad, and Dangerous � not to mention the less successful HIStory, Blood on the Dance Floor and Invincible. The earlier albums were all remastered for CD and re-released by Sony last year at an astounding cost � a cost attributed to Jackson's debt and probably totaling over $50 million. This means that wherever Michael goes label-wise, he has nothing but his talent to offer prospective investors.

Jackson � the man who sold more albums than anyone � leaves Sony after 20 years with his hat and his glove and not much else. How did this happen? Jackson has been represented over the last two decades by all the Hollywood so-called experts: attorneys John Branca and Gary Stiffelman; by managers including his best friends John McClain and David Gest; by Trudy Green, Sandy Gallin, Louis Levin, Jeff Kwatinetz; by that banker Jane Heller, whom this column interviewed and who told me, "I've kept Michael alive all these years."

Here's an updated account of the Sony/Jackson Catalog relationship:


Sony-Jackson Partnership Said to Plan on Keeping Beatles Rights
By Andy Fixmer and Brett Pulley

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aepaK43omDjk

GlitterySocks
02-12-2010, 05:03 PM
So, at the end of the day...what does all of this really mean? I understand what it means from a business perspective, but what does it mean for the future of the estate?

crillon
02-12-2010, 08:01 PM
Hey guys. This is something that, well, to say I'm interested in is an understatement. I've seen both those videos, the Michael one and the Tommy Mottola one.

Haven't been able to find out whether the masters (I think they're also called mechanical copyright) have been returned. To the best of my knowledge they haven't and Mottola kind of backs that up in the video posted by GS.

I've searched and cannot find a confirmation one way or the other. The masters were scheduled (by contract) to be returned to MJ between 2008-2011. Branca and DiLeo (who sits on the Sony/Jackson Catalog BOD) know for sure.

crillon
02-12-2010, 08:08 PM
So, at the end of the day...what does all of this really mean? I understand what it means from a business perspective, but what does it mean for the future of the estate?

I'm not sure I understand the question, GS...From what perspective, if not business/financial?

GlitterySocks
02-12-2010, 09:17 PM
I'm not sure I understand the question, GS...From what perspective, if not business/financial?

lol, I'm not sure I understand my own question! I guess I just mean, it seems like many people think that Michael's acquisition of the Sony/ATV catalog is SO much bigger than just a business deal. I don't know all of the background, but it severed so many relationships in Michael's life, it seems to be a massive entity for the estate to handle, and it is the basis for many *hoax* theories. I am interested in what this catalog will mean for the estate, for the children, etc. Is it literally just something they own, or is it something that they will actively govern and influence that will affect the musicians that are involved?

Renee
02-12-2010, 09:25 PM
Is it literally just something they own?

Yes, the catalogue is an asset which produces an future stream of income, in that anytime someone wants to use the song (commercials, movies, etc) they must pay the owner (the joint company held by Sony and the estate) for the right to use it. It's basically like owning a beach front summer home that you make money off of by renting to tourists.


Is it something that they will actively govern and influence that will affect the musicians that are involved?

Yes, in a way. Because the joint company owns the rights to the music, they have the final say on how it is used. Sometimes this conflicts with the artists' original intent/spirit of the song and they get very angry. For example, there are interviews in which both Paul McCartney and Lisa Marie Presley complained about how MJ was allowing songs by the Beatles and Elvis to be used in ad campaigns for stupid products. Mj's defense was that he wanted to open those songs up to a new generation. Which worked for me, I am much more familiar with Beatles' music because its been used in so many ad campaigns.

SLyvetteRob
02-12-2010, 09:56 PM
YouTube- Michael Jackson Vs Sony - Speech London (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx4NwrMtgw8&feature=related)



I LOVE the dude's voiceover: "Tell him!! Tell him Michael! Tell the story!!" then *LOUD CHUCKLE* PLU "Sayyyyyit!!!!!" :D
I'm literally crying at my table right now. OMG LOLOLOLOL

Can I just say, I love that he comforted Mariah like that "I just had to hold her..." I BET!!
Michael got seriously GANSTA!!! it turned me on a little.

GlitterySocks
02-12-2010, 10:17 PM
YouTube- Michael Jackson Vs Sony - Speech London (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx4NwrMtgw8&feature=related)


"So, I own half of Sony's publishing, and I am leaving them, and they are very angry at me because of it but...um....I just did good business, you know?"



BEST. LINE. EVER.

RedCorvette
02-12-2010, 11:11 PM
God...He looked incredibly gorgeous that day!! If anyone has a picture of him in that jacket/coat....I'd love it for my collection. It was long at the back....like a tuxedo jacket with tails.

Gotta love some of the things he said..."I don't like to talk that much....."......"We won't rest until Tommy Motolla is terminated"........"Mariah Carey came to me...she was so upset..I just had to hold her"..........."They just had to destroy my album...but you know, good artistry lives forever." Maybe he knew, somehow, that eventually the sales of Invincible would increase.....maybe he didn't care so much about sales, but more about his principles. So tragic, to hear him say, at the end..."I promise you....the best is yet to come." That didn't happen for him, did it...or for us. :bawling:

Michael spoke as though the hundreds of songs he wrote for each album and then never used, were his property, which he would be taking with him...but Motolla spoke as though they still belong to Sony and remain in the Sony Vault. That confuses me, because Branca and McClain have received permission to form a new company for the express purpose of generating new albums from Michael's unreleased material...if Sony has it....will they have to do it in partnership with Sony? Or maybe ownership is due to be returned to the Estate shortly and they will wait for that to happen.

BTW...I have Invincible in ALL FIVE COLOURS....red, blue, green, orange and silver. I did that for Michael....because I feel so passionately about that album and what it meant to him. I was so sad and angry to see that it didn't do well when it was first released, because it's an incredible album...absolutely incredible.

crillon
02-12-2010, 11:15 PM
lol, I'm not sure I understand my own question! I guess I just mean, it seems like many people think that Michael's acquisition of the Sony/ATV catalog is SO much bigger than just a business deal. I don't know all of the background, but it severed so many relationships in Michael's life, it seems to be a massive entity for the estate to handle, and it is the basis for many *hoax* theories. I am interested in what this catalog will mean for the estate, for the children, etc. Is it literally just something they own, or is it something that they will actively govern and influence that will affect the musicians that are involved?

Renee covered it pretty thoroughly above, but here's a few more details. The Sony/Jackson Estate song catalogue is believed to generate up to $80 million a year; The Beatles' hits alone bring in $30 million to $45 million a year. Michael's other publishing firm, Mijac, which publishes songs written by MJ himself, is valued to be worth at least $75 million.

Here's how the money is split:

The Los Angeles Times noted that if "Yesterday" were to earn $100,000 a year in royalties, the Lennon estate and McCartney would divide 50% of the income; $25,000 each. The publisher, the Jackson Estate, would receive the other 50%; $50,000. It was added that "Yesterday" in particular would earn considerably more than $100,000 a year. The publisher would also control the use of the song in films, commercials and stage productions. Jackson went on to use the Beatles' songs in numerous commercials, feeling that it would enable a new generation of fans to enjoy the music.

Now that the Estate can payoff the loans Michael took against his 50% ownership of the ATV Catalogue, the Jackson Estate will own the 50% outright.

crillon
02-13-2010, 02:39 AM
God...He looked incredibly gorgeous that day!! If anyone has a picture of him in that jacket/coat....I'd love it for my collection. It was long at the back....like a tuxedo jacket with tails.

Gotta love some of the things he said..."I don't like to talk that much....."......"We won't rest until Tommy Motolla is terminated"........"Mariah Carey came to me...she was so upset..I just had to hold her"..........."They just had to destroy my album...but you know, good artistry lives forever." Maybe he knew, somehow, that eventually the sales of Invincible would increase.....maybe he didn't care so much about sales, but more about his principles. So tragic, to hear him say, at the end..."I promise you....the best is yet to come." That didn't happen for him, did it...or for us. :bawling:

Michael spoke as though the hundreds of songs he wrote for each album and then never used, were his property, which he would be taking with him...but Motolla spoke as though they still belong to Sony and remain in the Sony Vault. That confuses me, because Branca and McClain have received permission to form a new company for the express purpose of generating new albums from Michael's unreleased material...if Sony has it....will they have to do it in partnership with Sony? Or maybe ownership is due to be returned to the Estate shortly and they will wait for that to happen.

BTW...I have Invincible in ALL FIVE COLOURS....red, blue, green, orange and silver. I did that for Michael....because I feel so passionately about that album and what it meant to him. I was so sad and angry to see that it didn't do well when it was first released, because it's an incredible album...absolutely incredible.

RC, it's unclear who owns the rights to Michael's unpublished songs in the Sony Vault. Unless John Branca can negotiate an agreement with Sony, this could wind up in a lawsuit.

Here's info I found:

It's unknown who owns the rights to the unreleased recordings, and an unnamed label source told the AP that no new projects or compilations are in the works yet. A spokesperson for Sony could not be reached at press time to comment for this story.

It's also unclear if Jackson's will made provisions for the release of his music, though entertainment lawyer Steve Gordon, who worked at Sony in the 1990s, told the AP that Jackson owned some of his master recordings and others were owned in partnership with Sony. Sony retains exclusive distribution rights for anything Jackson produced while under contract to the company.

Renee
02-13-2010, 03:49 PM
Can I just say, I love that he comforted Mariah like that "I just had to hold her..."


"We won't rest until Tommy Motolla is terminated"........

"Mariah Carey came to me...she was so upset..I just had to hold her"..........."


Tommy Mottola is a very sick man. There was an article I posted somewhere else a few months ago that detailed his rise in the music industry due to his mafia ties, as well as the craziness he put Mariah Carey through. He was compulsively controlling. I suspect there were some other much more devious things he was involved in, but I don't have concrete proof of them. Michael was right when he called him a "devil."

GlitterySocks
02-13-2010, 04:03 PM
Tommy Mottola is a very sick man. There was an article I posted somewhere else a few months ago that detailed his rise in the music industry due to his mafia ties, as well as the craziness he put Mariah Carey through. He was compulsively controlling. I suspect there were some other much more devious things he was involved in, but I don't have concrete proof of them. Michael was right when he called him a "devil."

OMG.

I read this article MONTHS ago where Al Malnik and Tommy Matolla were named as friends, and where Malnik's mafia connections were mentioned. Can you please try to find that article Renee? This is the one I read.

The Malnik Family's Michael Jackson Photo Dump

By Bob Norman
Mon., Jun. 29 2009 @ 9:39AM

http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/malnikblanket2.jpg
Malnik with 'Blanket' before the rancorous split with Jackson.

Al Malnik is doing some serious spinning in the world press right now in regard to Michael Jackson.

He's been quoted in several publications about regarding his "friendship" with Jackson, saying that he's godfather to the pop king's youngest son, Blanket, and that, last Malnik knew, he was executor of his estate. Yesterday, Malnik's wife, Nancy, executed a photo dump on her Facebook page as a tribute to the late star. The photos show Malnik and his family with Jackson in 2003.

Here's how the Daily Mail characterized Malnik's relationship with Jackson in its story regarding the new photographs:

In pictures taken from the same party, Jackson and his children are allegedly pictured with the children of close friends Al and Nancy Malnik.The 76-year-old American millionaire has triplets Jarod, Spencer and Nathan, who are now 11. Mr Malnik had been friends with the singer for more than ten years and the singer stayed with him at the height of the child abuse scandals. Jackson is godfather to Spencer, who is understood to be featured in the pictures sitting on the steps of Mr Malnik's Miami mansion with Paris.

This is laughable. The two men were indeed friends at one time, but there's a reason the photographs date all the way back to 2003. The two men had a falling out after Jackson began to believe that Malnik, who has known Mafia ties and was once a close associate of Meyer Lansky, was trying to wrangle Jackson's rights to half the Beatles catalog of songs from him, rights that are worth an estimated half billion dollars.

The source of this information is Gordon Novel, a character of intrigue himself from the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, and Waco. Novel worked in the Lyndon Johnson administration and spent years working as an investigator for former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth first reported that Novel had met with Jackson in 2005 in an attempt to get the investigator to find proof that Malnik was part of a conspiracy involving Sony's Tommy Mottola and film director Brett Ratner, a Malnik protoge, to take over his assets.

"According to Novel, Jackson said he was lured to Malnik's house in Miami Beach by film director Brett Ratner to see a house so beautiful it would make him catatonic," Orth wrote. "He said that once he was there, however, Malnik, who Jackson claimed had Mafia ties, wanted to put his fingers in the singer's business. Jackson also said he received a call from Tommy Mottola while he was there, which aroused his suspicion..."

I contacted Novel over the weekend, and he confirmed meeting with Jackson at Neverland Valley during the time of the 2005 trial. He told me that he was originally contacted by Jackson's brother Jermaine and that Michael and the family wanted Novel to gather proof of the Malnik/Mottola conspiracy and further find evidence that Mottola was behind the criminal child molestation charges. The ultimate goal was to blow the trial out of the water so Jackson wouldn't have to face prison time.

Novel said he flew in March 2005, about a month into Jackson's trial, from his home in New Orleans to the Los Angeles home owned by Jackson's parents, where he stayed several days before Jackson finally had him over to Neverland Valley. He said the two of them met in a bungalow on the property before Jackson drove him around the ranch in an old pickup truck.

"The whole thing centered on Tommy Mottola setting him up," Novel told me. "Mottola and him were at odds, and Jackson's information was that Mottola and Malnik got together to fuck him. He said he believed Malnik was representing the Mob."

He said Jackson had special loathing for Malnik because he felt betrayed by him. When I told him that Malnik was saying that Jackson had made him executor of his estate, he was dubious.

"He had split up with Malnik," said Novel. "He never said anything about Malnik being executor of his will. And based on how pissed off Jackson was at him at the time, I wouldn't believe it on a bet."

When asked what Jackson was like at the meeting, Novel didn't hesitate: "He was afraid, very very afraid. He didn't want to go to jail and didn't think he would be treated very well there."

Was he fearful that he would be killed in prison?

"Yeah, you can say that," Novel said.

But he also said that Jackson's mental state was "excellent" and that the pop star was lucid and extremely intelligent. He didn't believe Jackson was on any drugs during the meeting.

I asked Novel if he believed Jackson's theory about the conspiracy against him. He said that he thought Jackson was not guilty of the criminal charges and that he was probably set up, but he had no idea if Mottola was involved.

"He thought that Mottola was Mob-connected and that Malnik was representing the Mob, but I can't vouch for any of that shit," Novel said. "I don't have anything against Tommy Mottola and don't know if what he thought was true or not. I don't want to get on Mottola's bad side. My sources in New York say he's a dangerous guy."

Novel never conducted an investigation and said that, in the end, Jackson "deadbeated" him. He said that when he got to the airport to fly home, there was no ticket as promised by Jackson. He said that he contacted Jermaine and that the family paid for his flight. He said Jackson still owes him $25,000 for his consultation at Neverland. (Orth reported in Vanity Fair that Jackson apparently took a lot of Novel's advice, but at that time, Novel claimed Jackson owed him just $5,000.)

"He was a tremendously talented deadbeat," Novel said. "Michael Jackson would deadbeat King Kong."

It's clear that whether Malnik had any ulterior motives in befriending Jackson, the pop star ended up believing he was an enemy out to get his Beatles songs. We'll have to wait and see if the world media continues to eat out of Malnik's hand or if it actually reports the truth about the relationship and its bitter end.

http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2009/06/the_malnik_familys_michael_jac.php

Renee
02-13-2010, 04:10 PM
2003 Fox news article on his firing:

Tommy Mottola Canned by Sony


The 14-year reign of Tommy Mottola at Sony Music is over.

According to sources at Sony Music, where the phones have not stopped ringing, Mottola only found out he was leaving when he arrived this morning at 550 Madison. "He was told to go see Sir Howard Stringer, and when he got there they handed him a press release," my source said. Mottola was then given a couple of hours to clear out his office. A deal for a record label was, according to sources, Sony's resolution of the last year of his contract.

....The Japanese owners of Sony had a lot on their minds when it came to Mottola's future. The talented but volatile music executive personally forced out two of Sony's major stars, Mariah Carey (his ex-wife) and Michael Jackson. In the case of the former, the embarrassing story of Mottola allegedly stealing music from Carey's Glitter album and passing it to Jennifer Lopez didn't help much. Carey was able to use that information as leverage to leave her Sony contract one album early.

In the case of Jackson, the complicated goings-on regarding his finances and the Beatles catalog culminated last summer in Jackson riding around Manhattan with a megaphone calling Mottola a racist. If there's one thing companies like Sony don't like, it's public humiliation. And Stringer, who runs Sony Entertainment, and is a class act, was never amused by Mottola's antics.

There was also the very public fight over royalties with the Dixie Chicks, and the company's inability to make Celine Dion's recent album more than a middling hit.

But in the end, Mottola's ouster is more a result of bottom line numbers. Sony Music is No. 3 on the list of music companies and Columbia Records is third on the list of labels. The failure of the company to market albums by Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony and other acts sent their bottom line into a tailspin, and in the end it doesn't matter who likes you or who you don't like. It's about the money. [Fox News]

http://blogcritics.org/music/article/tommy-mottola-canned-by-sony/

Renee
02-13-2010, 04:21 PM
I'm getting ready to post the article I was referring to above, which is from the author of the book "Hitmen," who also used to write for Vanity Fair (the Vanity Fair article is a spin off from the book). "Hitmen" is an excellent detail on the rise of the rock and roll industry into pop music and corporate ownership, as well as the backgrounds on all the major players (Walter Yetnikoff, who brought the Jacksons over to CBS records, which later became Sony; Clive Davis; the rise of Tommy Mottola; and others, including David Geffen who convinced MJ to fire Branca in the early 90's...MJ then got into a nasty disagreement with Geffen over the Dreamworks logo according to Jermaine Jackson, who said they stole it from MJ).

What's fascinating about all this is that MJ had a front seat to the rise and corporatization of the industry, from negotiating with CBS records and getting away from Motown, all the way to Tommy Mottola's firing twenty years later. That's long time to witness a lot of dirt.

Here's a review (from http://www.lawcrossing.com/article/367/Hit-Men-Power-Brokers-and-Fast-Money-in-the-Music-Business/):



Fredric Dannen's Hit Men reads more like a ready-for-the-big-screen novel than a non-fiction account of the rise of the billion-dollar record industry. Dannen, a former writer for Institutional Investor and editor for Vanity Fair, tells the intriguing story of how a number of colorful characters in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s turned rock 'n' roll into the money-making machine it is today. This group of power players was made up of attorneys, accountants, street thugs, and just regular company men who whelt and dealt and pulled and stretched the law to its limits on the way to creating what is now the modern recording industry.

A few of the characters—Clive Davis, Tommy Mottola, and Allen Grubman—are household names in the entertainment industry. However, Dannen sets the tone of the book by leading with the inter-industry confrontation between the major record labels and a loosely knit group of independent promoters known as The Network. The Network had a stranglehold on radio and demanded large fees from the record labels for airplay. The players in this showdown included record executives like Dick Asher, an Ivy League-trained attorney; Fred Disipio, a Network member with alleged ties to the Gambino crime family; and the late Frankie Crooker, a well-known New York City radio personality and program director at WBLS. Complete with courtroom battles, physical altercations, a NBC expose, and clandestine "Mafia Meetings," the fight over "payola" had the makings of an Oscar-worthy cliffhanger. The climax of this in-fighting would reshape how radio promotion is carried out and financed to this day.

In subsequent chapters, Dannen paints vivid pictures of the real-life characters that guided the industry out of its infancy. He starts with Morris Levy, who started out in the '50s in the New York City Jazz scene as a nightclub owner and promoter for acts like Charlie Parker. He was a tough kid from the Bronx who by the '70s was a multi-millionaire, mostly by virtue of swindling recording artists like Frankie Lymon (famous for singing "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?") out of their copyright ownership. In the '80s, life caught up with Levy when he was convicted for extortion after many brushes with the law. A fictional character based on Levy has had a recurring role in the HBO series "The Sopranos."

Then, of course, there are the well-known music moguls like current J Records/RCA boss Clive Davis. Hit Men chronicles the rise and fall and rise again of the former lawyer from Brooklyn, turned flamboyant (if not arrogant) "Record Man." Davis started out as a Harvard Law-trained associate at Rosenman, Colin, Kaye, Petshek & Freund, now known as KMZ Rosenman. He initially entered the entertainment industry as an in-house attorney at CBS Records, the largest label in the country at the time, and later led them into the rock 'n' roll era by signing acts like Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin, and Santana. Dannen gives a blow-by-blow account from Davis' humble beginnings at CBS to his tumultuous firing to his re-coronation at Arista Records, where he was responsible for giving the world Whitney Houston.

Dannen goes on to tell the story of other movers and shakers who molded the industry. These include men such as Walter Yetnikoff, another Rosenman, Colin attorney handpicked by Davis, who later turned against his mentor; Tommy Mottola, the manager of Hall and Oates and former singer who ascended to the throne at Sony Music (after Sony purchased CBS); David Geffen, the current partner of Steven Speilberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg at DreamWorks SKG and former executive at Warner/Electra/Asylum and Geffen Records; and Allen Grubman (father of infamous New York socialite Lizzie), the master dealmaker and arguably the most powerful entertainment attorney in the country who at one time represented 30% of CBS' acts.

Hit Men also covers aspects of the record business that are often overshadowed by all the glam and bling bling. There is the timeless practice of the record labels' ripping off recording artists, whether by giving an artist a couple thousand dollars and a rented Cadillac in lieu of his royalties or charging him for independent promotion as a recoupable expense. Then there was the excess and drug-fueled spending at Casablanca Records during the Disco Era that helped lead to the industry's crash in 1979.

As Hit Men nears its conclusion, Dannen brings the reader back to the everyday reality that even the entertainment business is just that—a business. He traces the emergence of the compact disc format and the boom in profit margins that resulted from it. Moreover, he takes the reader through the ins and outs of the beginning of the consolidation movement in the industry.

Overall, Hit Men is a quick and exciting yet very informative read. Through candid interviews, firsthand descriptions, parallel chronologies and flashbacks, Dannen's account of the "ruthless glory" of the music business is very well written and at times so riveting as to make John Grisham envious.

Renee
02-13-2010, 04:25 PM
"Tommy Boy"
Vanity Fair, December 1996
By Fredric Dannen

The book on Tommy Mottola begins with the blinds in his office.

They're fairly ordinary as window coverings go; blood red in color, thin in construction - not what you'd expect in a sanctum where notables from Johnny Mathis to the members of Alice in Chains have schmoozed.

The blinds, in fact, possess only one distinguishing characteristic: they are always drawn.

Why this is so is a matter of speculation. Some say it is to prevent Walter Yetnikoff - who used to be Sony Music chief - from taking a shot at Tommy. Others say that the blinds are closed to prevent God from peeking at what Tommy is up to. But, since Tommy says the only deity he reveres is Billboard, no one much believes that. Which leaves the Lake Tahoe hypothesis:

At the conclusion of The Godfather Part II, you'll recall, Michael Corleone, having disposed to a lodge on Lake Tahoe, a body of water upon which brother Fredo unwisely chooses to go fishing. You'll no doubt remember what happens next. Just as you will recall - provided you loved the movie as much as Tommy did - the condition of the blinds in the office where the Don orders the hit. They were always drawn, too.

As for some other things, such as why the C.E.O. of a $5.9 billion company tucks at nine-mm. Glock into his briefcase, and travels in an armor-plated limo with a cop badge on the back, let's just say that the music business is not as carefree as selling Amway products.

But back to Tommy's office blinds, which, on this leaden day in New York, are, as usual, closed. Beyond them, a violent storm is gathering which will pelt the Sony Corporation of America's headquarters to a sodden fare-thee-well. In the gloom of the 32nd floor, however, Tommy Mottola is smiling.

According to the latest Soundscan, 5 of the top 10 records in the U.S. are Sony releases. Profits are up, market share is increasing, and Tommy's masters in Tokyo have just awarded him a new, five-year contract worth an estimated $35 million. Tommy's wife isn't doing badly, either. Her name is Mariah Carey, she is 26 years old and gorgeous, and has sold more than 80 million records, making her husband, who is 22 years her senior and the director of her career, very happy.

This is not, however, why the chairman of Sony Music Entertainment is smiling. It is the joke he has just played on a reporter he wasn't eager to entertain. What he did was switch identities with his public-relations man. "I'm Dan Klores," Tommy said, shaking hands at the door. Then, pointing to the real Dan Klores, he added, "and this is Tommy Mottola."

There are laughs when the reporter falls for it, and laughs again - thinner this time - when Tommy says, "You can always tell me. I'm the fat guy."

His middle is bulging the confines of his pressed linen safari jacket, and his slicked-back black coif is thinning, too. He's sensitive about both, friends say, as a middle-aged man with an idolized young wife is apt to be. Which may help explain why Mariah's under wraps.

"She won't be talking," Tommy announces, the smile evaporating. "It's not good for her, it's not good for me, it's not good for the company."

Whether Mrs. Mottola participated in these calculations, he does not disclose. But, from the gossip - that she exits the big house in the suburbs only after checking with Tommy, and then with a chase car always trailing - it seems unlikely.

Tommy, in any case, isn't in a mood for domestic revelations. "I'm uncomfortable doing anything like this," he says. "You wanna talk about the business? O.K. Let's go. All day we'll talk, all night. But talking about my life - it's like having some guy with a rocket launcher aiming at you."

He leans forward, eyes hooded, nails manicured to a fine sheen. In the half-light, you can almost imagine you're in Tahoe.

"What's the slant of this?" Tommy Mottola demands. "What's this about?"

You can understand the uneasiness. All his professional life, people have been asking questions about Thomas D. Mottola Jr., including, now and again, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. And always they've wondered: How is it that a so-so talent manager who used to call himself "Don Tommy" got to the top?

The questions keep on coming. Even now, with the Ahmets, Irvings, Dougs, and Davids of the industry attesting to the sterlingness of his character, Tommy and his methods are still the source of jitters. It's said that his acquaintance with racketeers is more than passing; that he employs threats as well as cajolery; that he's even knowledgeable about a few racehorses meeting untimely ends. (Tommy denies all three.)

His marriage has not gone unmarked, either. Depending on which enemy is doing the alleging, she owes her career to him, he owes his job to her, and the arrangement that has brought riches to both may not last forever. Especially is the stories of Sony's principal assets of exchanging "fuck you's" and hurling objects are true. (Tommy denies them.) And then there are the goings-on at the office, where Tommy's been quoted as saying that if the Japanese don't stop griping about profits and market share, he just might take their shiny company away from them. (Tommy emphatically denies it.)

In the manner of Mario Puzo novels, it is all very complicated. And to begin sorting it out requires going back some - to the Bronx, specifically. Here, as Tommy tells the tale, he was born into a "traditionally warm Italian family," headed by Thomas Mottola Sr., a downtown customs broker with rumored connections to, shall we say, unusual businessmen.

The Mottolas, in any event, were music-lovers, and by the time they moved to the middle-class suburb of New Rochelle, eight-year-old Tommy was playing the trumpet. Playing it so well, in fact, that he won a scholarship to a private school. There were two hitches: one, Tommy didn't like playing the trumpet; two, he didn't like going to school. The first was resolved by a switch to the guitar, an instrument Tommy calls "way cooler." The second Tommy's parents tried to fix by packing him off to a military academy in New Jersey. Only Tommy kept running away. Finally, in what might be regarded as the start of his negotiating career, Tommy cut his parents a deal: he'd stay out of trouble if they let him come home.

Like virtually all of Tommy's contracts, it worked out swell. Tommy grew helmet sideburns, took up drag racing, joined a rock band (Saturday nights, they played the WMCA "Good Guys" sock hops), partied hearty. He became, in all, so neat that movie producer Lynda Obst - who used to sneak out of her house in tony Harrison to hang around him - remember Tommy as "the baddest boy in New Rochelle."

Obst recalls another quality about Tommy: a hunger for places like Harrison. "That was the pattern of the ambitious Italian guys," she says. "If you wanted to get out, you ended up crossing the tracks and dating one of the Jewish Harrison girls. That's what Tommy did. It was the first sign he was going to go somewhere."

Tommy's girl was Lisa Clark, and for a young charmer about to drop out of Hofstra to become the next Sal Mineo, there could hardly have been a better catch. For Lisa's father, Sam, was an entertainment-industry power, an arms-and-elbows macher who'd come up from Tin Pan Alley to create ABC Records. He was also, by all accounts, no one to mess with. "That was a Mob business," an industry veteran says of the jukeboxes, where Sam made his bones. "Not everyone in it was a hood, but everybody who was in it was dealing with somebody who was a hood. If Sam wasn't tough, he wouldn't have survived."

Along with the his muscles, Sam had dim views about his little girl's taking up with one of the goyim. "Not a Jew?" he said, upon meeting Lisa's Catholic date. "Not in this house." Tommy had no problem with that. He converted to Judaism and married Lisa in 1971.

His acting career didn't proceed as smoothly, however, and after bit parts in four forgettable films, Tommy embarked on becoming the next Dion DiMucci. As the nasal-voiced "T.D. Valentine" ("The producer asked my initials, and it was Valentine's Day," Tommy explains), he cut two 45s for Epic that moaned of evil women and the traps of love. Both stiffed. Admits Tommy, "I was really mediocre."

The experience wasn't a total loss. While at Epic, Tommy became friendly with Sandy Linzer, a producer-songwriter whose pop hits - "Working My Way Back to You," "Native New Yorker," and "Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'Bout Me)" - would become fodder for K-tel commercials beyond counting. They were still close when Tommy, now working as a song plugger for the music publisher Chappell, came across a pair of singer-songwriters who billed themselves Whole Oates.

"They were like a couple of guys from Mars," Tommy says of his first encounter with "the short little guy," John, and the six-foot-six-inch, platform-shoed, lime jacketed Daryl, whose long blond hair made him "look like a woman from the torso up." But, oh, what music they made. Part folk, part pop, blue-eyed soul, it flat blew Tommy away.

Sandy was knocked out, too, when he listened to the demo tape. The clunks at Epic, however, passed. Not to worry, Sandy told Tommy; from now on, they'd pool their money and split it down the middle.

Tommy began pulling his weight when, with the promise of a record contract, he got Whole Oates to drop their manager and sign with him. A lawyer friend of Sandy's named Allen Grubman drew up the deal. For Tommy, who quickly became Allen's even better friend, it was doozy. He was to receive 25 percent of every gross dollar that came in and, along with having his own expenses fully reimbursed, own the name of the act, which was switched to Hall and Oates. Daryl Hall and John Oates made out less well. After three albums, they owed the label Tommy found for them $230,000.

A move to RCA substantially improved their fortunes - not enough, though, to get Hall and Oates out from behind the financial ball. With Tommy disbursing the funds and overseeing the accounting, what had become the best-selling pop-rock duo of all time had to borrow $250,000 to pay their taxes. More loans and multimillion-dollar advances followed, with Tommy raking 25 percent off the top every time.

"Tommy was selling their future," says a former RCA president. "It was his meal ticket, and Tommy likes to eat a lot." By the time RCA dropped Hall and Oates, they were into the label for $7 million and had yet to collect a nickel in royalties or airplay fees.

Tommy, though, was cruising Broadway, good pal Allen in the limo seat beside him. They were a strange duo: Tommy, always toned and Bronx Tale slick; Allen - who'd begun as a lawyer for Veg-O-Matic - usually fat and sloppy. Ambition, though, they had in common. Looking to expand operations, in 1975 they filed incorporation papers for Tommy's new management company. It was christened Don Tommy Enterprises.

Theories for Tommy's choice of corporate moniker abound. One of the more popular contends that it had something to do with his enlarging circle of chums, who by now included Morris Levy (owner of the Northeast's largest chain of record stores and a longtime associate of the Genovese crime family) as well as Father Louis Gigante, an oft investigated Bronx priest who says he introduced Tommy to his brother Vincent, better known as Mob boss "Vinnie The Chin."

Where Tommy fitted in this firmament was debated. Some, such as later client John Mellencamp, thought Tommy's friends - like his exulting at an act's listing him on liner notes as "capo di tutti capi" - were merely accoutrements in a wiseguy act. Yeah, Tommy had John Gotti's move of slipping his hand into his jacket down cold, and, yeah, Sire Records chief Seymour Stein liked to call him "Tommy Mazola" after his gold chains and purple leather jackets. But Tommy a mafioso? Mellencamp laughs: "He couldn't whip shit with an eggbeater." Others weren't so sure, which was fine by Tommy. "Hey," he says, "if that gives me the edge, O.K. All I want to do is win, man. Period."

That, at the very least, Tommy played the thug role well is widely remembered. "He was capable - more than capable of doing what had to be done, even if it was unpleasant," says publicist Richard Gersh, who had Tommy as a client after the young music man switched the name of his management company from Don Tommy to the more decorous Champion Entertainment. "If there were people Tommy had to get rid of, he would do it without a second thought. He's just say, 'We're making a change. You're out.' Right away, I had the feeling that this guy was going to be very successful in the entertainment industry."

Sandy Limzer thought so, too. Clients were even writing songs about "Little Gino," as a Hall and Oates number called him, telling the world, in the worlds of "Cherchez la Femme," by Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, that "Tommy Mottola lives on the road." A partner like that was to be treasured and Sandy did. "I loved the guy," he said, "and I knew that he loved me."

The love got lost in 1984, when Linzer learned he'd been cut out of Champion. According to court papers, Grubman pointed the finger at Tommy, claiming that even though he was Linzer's friend and attorney he'd had no choice but to ice him. Tommy, who settled the whole business out of court, didn't miss a beat. "Things happen in the business," he says. "You get hot, you get cold. Sandy got cold."

By then, anyway, Tommy and Allen had acquitted a new best friend who could do them a lot more good than Sandy. That was CBS Records chairman Walter Yetnikoff, boss of what was at that time the largest music company on the planet.

Brash, bumptious, foulmouthed, the self-proclaimed "King of the Grooves" was a creature of outsize appetites: for "schmingling and bingling," for deals, for booze, for women, for drugs. It was like liking for characters with similar backgrounds (Brooklyn-bred, Jewish, up-from-the-streets) that bonded Yetnikoff to Grubman, who introduced him to Tommy. That friendship soon took, and in 1977, CBS announced a production deal with Champion Entertainment. Tommy, however, neglected to inform RCA in advance - a sizable oversight, given that RCA was home to Champion's major acts. When, with considerable prickliness, RCA president Bob Summer pointed this out, Tommy went to Yetnikoff, who let him out of the deal. "From that point on," Tommy told journalist Fredric Dannen, "I knew the kind of guy Walter was. If he was your friend, he was really and truly your friend."

They were all friends. Or so, for a long time, it seemed. Knowing he could count on Grubman to keep the artists in line, Yetnikoff steered the attorney more and more acts. "Steered" actually doesn't do justice to the dimensions of Walter's assistance. In the case of Billy Joel, "muscled" comes closer. As in Walter's (A) yelling Billy he wouldn't deal with his current lawyer; (B) informing him he could have anything he reasonably wanted; and (C) pressing into his hand the telephone number of Allen Grubman, Esq., who happened to do legal work for CBS Records as well.

Was there a conflict? Not for Grubman, who collected a $750,000 fee. Tommy had no complaints, either. With the addition of clients such as Mellencamp and Carly Simon and new friends including Robert De Niro and Mike Ovitz, he was able to move Lisa and their two kids to a mansion on a golf course. Tommy didn't see the place much, however. He was too busy being the pal of Walter Yetnikoff.

Night after night, they'd be together, sometimes at one of the Mob joints in Little Italy, Tommy grinning at the curbside soldati: "Relax, just a couple of civilians coming in." Other times the buddies hit the Mayflower Hotel, off Columbus Circle, where Tommy had the key to Hall and Oates's suite. A member of what Walter called his "shiksa farm" would get the call, a bottle would be cracked, and out would come the cocaine - untouched by Tommy ("I was the guy who was always in control," he says).

Renee
02-13-2010, 04:27 PM
Senior CBS officials knew of "Walter's personal valet," as Tommy was dubbed, and were not ecstatic. Their pique swelled when Tommy showed up in a 1986 NBC report on Mob infiltration of the music industry. It increased further when Tommy invested in a racehorse syndicate operated by the ubiquitous Morris Levy, who was about to get slapped with a dime term on a federal extortion rap.

"There was always a sort of shadow about [Tommy]," says a key aide to former CBS chairman Laurence Tisch, "a consideration that he was not aboveboard."

No one at CBS produced any evidence to back up the suspicions, nor were any concerns relayed to Yetnikoff, who, by 1986, had wearied of battling tightfisted Tisch and was scouting for a new owner. He found one, finally, in Japanese electronics giant Sony, which, eager to add software to its hardware, paid $2 billion for CBS's record division in January 1988.

Hardly was the ink dry on the sale papers when Yetnikoff began sounding out Tommy about heading up the U.S. labels, a job held by an abrasive M.B.A. named Al Teller. Though widely respected in the industry, Teller had never been a Yetnikoff Intime. He also lacked Tommy's street experience, a commodity CBS (which was beginning to badly trail arch-rival Warner's in market share) desperately needed. Tommy's outstanding credential, though, was proximity. "Walter likes to surround himself with cronies," former Sony of America chairman Mickey Schulhof told a reporter. "And Tommy was basically taking care of Walter. He would take him to parties, he would take him home from parties. He was the companion who was always there. That is Tommy's greatest strength. He is great at managing people."

Tommy, for his part, had little to lose by joining CBS. Champion had fattened his wallet, its stars were rapidly fading. CBS, on the other hand, was an unmined mother lode, with a 400-performer-deep talent roster that stretched from Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, and Bob Dylan on one end to Barbra Streisand, Michael Bolton, and Harry Connick, Jr. on the other. To be sure, the CBS labels, Columbia and Epic, had flaws - namely a reputation for artist-alienating arrogance. But then, Tommy was not without his own little smudges. He knew from nothing, he admitted, about such stuff as "budgets or boards of directors." But, hey, he said, "it's really only all about music. It's not like a big rocket-scientist kind of philosophy or anything."

So it wasn't, and two days after attending a testimonial dinner for Teller, Tommy and Walter closed the deal.

The appointment boggled the industry. "Walter could have done better by opening the L.A. phone book and choosing at random," one manager was quoted as saying. The news also brought a quick call to Sony from a CBS corporate officer.

"Do you know this guy has a Mafia background?" a senior Sony executive quotes the CBS man as saying. "What are you doing tainting this wonderful company you just bought from us with a guy who has a background that would make the F.B.I. cringe?"

Rattled, Sony contacted F.B.I. director William Sessions, requesting a quiet background check. The response was a qualified O.K. "The F.B.I. said, 'No, this guy is not somebody who will start dealing with people we should worry about, but he has friends who do,'" says a former senior executive at Sony. "We said, 'As long as he's clean, we won't worry.' And that was the basis on which we didn't."

Aware of the probe, Tommy quickly began assembling a coterie of executives loyal to himself. Trading in the purple leathers for custom-tailored Armanis, he also stepped up the talent search, a quest that led him one memorable 1988 night to a party hosted by CBS blues artist Brenda K. Starr. As the guests mingled, someone slipped him a demo tape which he popped into the cassette deck in the limo. He knew at once he could make the kid a star. By the time he raced back to the party, however, the mystery vocalist had vanished. But fairy tales have happy endings, and within a week Tommy found the Cinderella with the five-octave pipes. She turned out to be 18-year-old Mariah Carey.

So, at least, goes the press-release version. The truth is more mundane. At the time of Tommy's "discovery," Warner's chief Mo Ostin had already offered Mariah a $300,000 advance. Notified of competing blandishments, Yetnikoff authorized Tommy to immediately up the ante to 50 grand.

Another item which the official rendition omits is that when Mariah showed up in Tommy's office she was accompanied by the man who was her producer and steady amour. He was not destined to endure in either capacity. "The boyfriend," recalls an old Tommy pal, "was out of there in nothing flat."

Into his place stepped Lisa Mottola's husband, who was soon being spotted entwined with Mariah in New York nightspots. Tommy denied any romance. "With God as my witness," he told a reporter, "I swear nothing's going on between us." But the relationship was common knowledge at CBS, where one executive remembers Tommy regaling him with descriptions of intimacies with Mariah.

The extracurriculars didn't bother Walter, who awarded his new charge a $3 million bonus after he'd been on the job only a few months. "One of the more interesting facts about Tommy is that he's extremely smart," Yetnikoff assured the trades. "He's hidden that from the world until recently." When Tommy allegedly warned a troublemaker, "You better fucking watch it or you're going to be sleeping with the fishes," Walter smiled. He smiled again when, in the middle of Grubman's divorce from his longtime wife, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, he heard Tommy phone attorney Barry Slotnick, who has represented Vinnie "the Chin" Gigante and John Gotti. "You tell your friend Raoul Felder [a famed divorce attorney, representing Grubman] to go easy on Allen," Tommy is said to have advised. "He's part of the mishpocha - a Yiddish term that, in Italian, translates as la famiglia. (Mottola denies both incidents.)

As time went along, however, Walter got distracted: first, by a monthlong drying-out at Minnesota's Hazelden clinic, then by his role in the arrangements for bad boy producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters to take the helm of Sony's latest acquisition, Columbia Pictures. During those negotiations, which wound up costing Sony $800 million in assorted payouts and contract settlements, the newly sober Yetnikoff managed to alienate nearly everyone, most fatefully his Japanese bosses, who packed him back to the record company.

In his absence, the company had become a different place. "This is my team; these are my people," Tommy bragged. The new hires were his people; since Yetnikoff's Hazelden sojourn Tommy had been positioning himself to be their leader - in title as well as in fact. Schulhof knew of his ambitions - "Tommy," he says. "has always been power-hungry - and knew as well that a number of industry figures were assisting in furthering them. By far the most formidable was David Geffen, the billionaire record impresario and implacable Yetnikoff's foe.

More than once, Geffen had urged Schulhof to get rid of Yetnikoff, and Geffen also urged Michael Jackson, Yetnikoff's most prized act, to leave CBS. Jackson was unwilling to do that, but did drop several key members of his entourage closely identified with Yetnikoff. In their place, he installed figures tightly linked to Geffen. Notable among them was an attorney Tommy had recommended to David years before, Allen Grubman.

Oblivious to the forces which were gathering against him, in June 1990 Yetnikoff drew up a deal memo which called for Tommy to receive an estimated $15 million over the next five years - not including annual bonuses. Tommy, meanwhile, was doing some negotiating of his own. First he secured a quickie Dominican divorce from Lisa ("Cultural differences," Tommy said of the breakup). Then, with Grubman, he drew up a fresh contract for Michael Jackson.

When Yetnikoff saw the precedent-shattering terms, he exploded. "This is ridiculous," he roared. "You're giving away the fucking store."

Yetnikoff thereupon ordered Grubman banned from the premises and told Tommy to begin directing CBS acts to other lawyers. "Bust him," Walter commanded. "Take away Living Colour [a rock act]. Then tell Mariah to move."

Instead, Tommy went to Schulhof. Walter, he reportedly complained, was being "irrational," unsettling "the team," hurting Sony. "Tommy was really shook up," says a witness. "His loyalty at that point was more to Allen than it was for Walter." By mid-August, this dawned on Yetnikoff, and he presented the Japanese with an ultimatum: it was either Tommy or him.

Word of the threat promptly reached Mottola, who began planning countermeasures with Geffen and Grubman. Among the first, according to a highly knowledgeable source, was reaching out to Sony co-founder Akio Morita, through his goddaughter, Seiko Matsuda, a Japanese pop star with whom Mottola had spent many very long yet - according to Tommy - wholly professional evenings. That attempt failed, but an approach to The Wall Street Journal did not. Long suspected as a repository of Mottola leaks, the Journal reported on August 17 that Yetnikoff had recently signed a contract which would phase him out of the record group's management. The "most logical candidate" to replace him, the paper noted, was his trusted lieutenant, Tommy Mottola.

Matters at last came to a head on Labor Day, when Tommy allegedly warned Sony that were he to be forced out the entire top tier of the record company would depart with him. "I'm the one who's out on the streets looking for talent," a senior Sony executive quotes Tommy as saying. "Walter is sitting in his office drinking." ("that's not the kind of thing that I say or would say," Tommy says. "That's completely untrue.") But 24 hours later, the King of the Grooves had his walking papers.

Tommy, though, did not take his place. To his consternation Sony Corporation chairman Norio Ohga assumed the chairmanship of the music group and delegated day-to-day authority to Schulhof. Another embarrassment for Tommy followed two months later: Lisa Mottola filed suit against her ex and his employers, accusing them of conspiring to commit fraud by concealing the terms of the contract which Walter had drawn up in June. After Yetnikoff threatened that he'd back up Lisa's claims in court, Tommy settled, parting with a sum put in the millions, "Tommy's lucky Sam Clark's dead," the corridor crack went. "Otherwise, he might find there's a bullet in his forehead."

Another headache was journalist Fredric Dannen, whose best-seller, Hit Men, had sketched the darker chapters of Tommy's past all too vividly. Now Dannen had another story, told to him by a reputed Mottola acquaintance named Michael Franzese. According to Franzese, whom Mottola doesn't remember meeting, he's lately been approached about buying Tommy's stake in Champion. Franzese passed, though not out of lack of regard for Tommy. "I heard from guys on the street that, you know, Tommy was a guy that understands us," Franzese told Dannen. "Let's put it this way: I don't know that affiliation he's had. I'm not going to say that about him. But he's a guy that could relate to somebody like me... Tommy, we knew he was a friend of ours."

What made Franzese's comments noteworthy was his previous occupation. Until he became a cooperating government witness, he'd been a high-ranking capo-regime in the Colombo crime family, a career at which he'd been so proficient that Fortune listed him as one of the top Mafia bosses in the country.

Amidst the hubbub, The New York Times weighed in with a withering assessment of Tommy's management. Headlined SONY MUSIC'S MR. BIG SPENDER, the December 1991 story lambasted Tommy for signing a series of "rich and unprecedented deals" - among them a $25 million contract for aging Aerosmith, a group which had just been dumped by Geffen.

In response, Tommy's minions began planting stories that the Times was prejudiced against Italian-Americans.

When the negative press didn't cease, Tommy became the anything-to-please charmer. "It's better to be my friend than my enemy," he confided to a critical female reporter he invited for drinks. "I have connections. You wanna meet Michael Jackson? The Rolling Stones? I can arrange it. Just tell me: what is it you want?" By the time the session was over, the reporter recalls, Tommy was offering to set her up with studio time.

He was already doing that and then some for Mariah, authorizing the expenditure of $800,000 to produce her debut album, $500,000 to redo the video for her first single, and an additional $1 million in promotion and marketing to grease the launch of both. The strategy worked like gangbusters for all concerned, including Mariah's management company, Thomas D. Mottola's Champion Entertainment.

Industry figures giggled at the serendipity and giggled more when Tommy, branding the talk about his concern for Mariah "sexist," started slicing years off his actual age. There was no giggling at Mariah's talent, though.

Critics including Timemight call her synthesized coloratura offerings "Nutra-Sweet soul," but the cool, curvaceous product of a blonde Irish mother and a black Venezuelan father was a genuine crossover phenom. David Geffen has called her an act that "any label would be thrilled to have."

The performances of most of Tommy's other acts, however, were not cause for celebration. But Tommy crowed about bright spots, such as the breaking of Michael Bolton and New Kids on the Block (both of whom had been signed by Teller). He claimed that since he had come aboard his company's profits had tripled (an assertion The New York Times found inflated fivefold). But as 1992 began, Mottola's bottom line was decidedly lackluster - particularly in comparison with the now unassailable Warner's.

Tommy's immediate concern, though, was Schulhof, who had formally taken over as chairman of the renamed Sony Music Entertainment in January 1991. As he has with Yetnikoff, Tommy strenuously massaged him. "He made sure that he moved in on me, and he made sure that we had a good relationship," says Schulhof, describing Tommy's daily dollops of solicitude. "He managed me the same way he manages everybody else."

Privately, however, Mottola was contemptuous of Schulhof - "an opportunistic dunce," he called him to Jon Peters. Schulhof knew of the gibes, but, taken by Tommy's hustle - as well as by his introductions to superstars - defended his management to Tokyo, which was having trouble parsing Tommy's explanations for dwindling market shares. "Maybe you can find out what the facts are," a befuddled Sony board member told a reporter. "Maybe you can tell me."

Tommy wasn't doing much talking to anyone. Instead, he was making plans. Already, he'd cleansed the U.S. labels of most of Walter's loyalists. Now he was setting his sights on seizing control of Sony's international division, which was being run in glittering fashion by his old RCA nemesis, Bob Summer. With an elbow from Tommy, the "asset," as he called Summer in public, would be gone in 1993, leaving Schulhof as the last barrier to total music-group control. His ouster, however, would require some doing. In the interval, Tommy began casting a covetous eye on Sony's motion-picture operations, which, under Guber and Peters, had become renowned principally for office decor. As one expensive flop piled atop another. Tommy, who had dabbled unsuccessfully at being a movie producer, sought the advice of actor Bobby De Niro, who told him to go for it.

"I tried to convince him seriously to do it," says De Niro. "Because the people who were running it at the moment - he couldn't have done any worse."

Tommy was tempted, but in the end decided to stick with records, even though his relations with Mickey Schulhof were fraying. Some of the disputes were petty, such as Tommy's alleged demand that Sony provide him with round-the-clock bodyguards, a request Schulhof is said to have greeted by throwing him out of hi office. ("A joke. Nothing. Absolutely untrue," says Tommy.) Other reported conflicts were, however, more substantive, such as Schulhof's blocking Tommy from purchasing rap specialist Interscope for $450 million.

He was having an equally tough time managing Michael Jackson, whose U.S. sales were steadily dropping, in part because of well-publicized allegations from a pre-pubescent boy. "I knew it was always your problem," a Mottola aide claims he heard Tommy tell the singer, when Jackson called requesting a $30 million check and a Sony statement of support. "But you better fucking stop. You hear that, Michael? You better fucking stop." ("Absolutely not," Tommy says. "We were totally supportive of Michael during that time. Absolutely never said that." He also denies giving him the check.) Unappreciative, Jackson phones Schulhof. He wasn't to blame for his slump, he claimed, it was Tommy's devoting outsize energy to promoting his now public girlfriend, Mariah.

Jackson was at least half right. Mariah's career was soaring, and Tommy was guiding it every step of the way. He approved her material, oversaw her arrangements, checked her promotion, and, to no one's surprise, made sure her attorney was Allen Grubman, who, in addition to handling a goodly chunk of Sony's legal chores, now represented a third of its talent roster and the bulk of its key executives. "Allen Grubman is my best friend in the world," Tommy says in response to questions about conflicts. "End of subject. Over and out." He continued to feel that way even after Billy Joel filed suit in 1992, accusing Grubman of a laundry list of eyebrow raisers, including stoking Joel's business manager with kickbacks. Grubman said that he was being used as "a 'deep pocket' scapegoat," and Tommy smirked when, with little fanfare, the suit was confidentially put to rest a year later. Then Grubman blabbed, boasting to reporters that he'd won "total victory" over Joel's "frivolous" claims. In short order the singer's attorney was back in court, with papers tarring not only Grubman but Tommy too.

According to the documents, which included a detailed replay of an F.B.I. interview with Grubman, things began going awry when Joel's business manager invested his money in a string of racehorses and invited Tommy and Allen to do the same. By and by, Tommy decided to reclaim his cash, only to be informed by the business manager that the money was gone. The manager advised Tommy, however, not to worry: he was going to bump off a nag and collect on the insurance. Without alerting Joel or the authorities, Tommy (who remembers thinking the whole thing a joke) passed the news on to Grubman, who later referred to the alleged scheme as "comic gossip." However, the horse in question did die - officially of natural causes.

The suit settlement was even neater. The same day Billy dropped his litigation, a $2.4 million check arrived from Sony, along with a pledge of an additional 600,000 - supposedly for future record royalties and commercial endorsements. Few in the industry believed it. "Why would Sony put up $3 million for Grubman, when they'd not been named in the suit?" says Joel's lawyer, Leonard Marks. "The answer is: he's got the Mottola connection."

In June 1993, Tommy took on a new connection of his own, marrying Mariah in a Manhattan ceremony described by one rock-star guest as "not so much a wedding as a coronation." Six months in the planning, it was showbiz grandiose, featuring 50 young girls throwing flower petals, an eight-piece orchestra playing classical music, a boys' choir, and a 300-member guest encompassing Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, Gloria Estefan, Michael Bolton, Billy Baldwin, Tony Danza, Christie Brinkley, Sandy Gallin, Chynna Phillips, Tony Bennett, Mo Ostin, Ozzy Osbourne, Robert De Niro, Michael Ovitz, and, hardly last, Allen Grubman.

The star, naturally, was Mariah, who watched tapes of Charles and Diana's nuptials to prepare, and whose 27-foot train required handling by six ladies-in-waiting. At the reception afterward, David Geffen gawked at the violin players lining the marble staircase of the Metropolitan Club, and another guest, referring to the wedding's Episcopal-church venue, was heard to say. "Every marriage, Tommy converts."

The condition of Sony Music, however, was nothing to laugh about, and Tommy was beginning to show the stress. On one occasion, he reportedly had to be restrained from whipping out his gun at a cabdriver who'd cut him off in traffic. ("No, I never pulled a gun on anybody," says Tommy. "That is outrageous, preposterous, ludicrous. These stores all sound like jokes to me.") On another, he allegedly reacted to an aide's resignation announcement by placing a pistol on his desk, then turning his cheek and taunting, Go ahead, take your best shot, I dare you." ("No, I did not," says Tommy.)

Schulhof had worries of his own. With Sony's motion-picture unit about to force a $3.2 million write-off, he needed the crown-jewel music group to bail him out. Tommy, though, wasn't coming to his rescue. "He's falling into the same trap Walter did," Schulhof told a reporter. "Relying too much on the same old established superstars."

His opinion was shared by much of the industry, which bubbled with rumors that Tommy was on the way out. The chatter got louder when Sony's in-house "urban" label Def Jam defected to PolyGram, which proceeded to increase its book value threefold. Then the old Tommy luck reappeared. The cycle that spins the music business turned toward Sony, swelling profits and revenues. Better yet, in December 1995, the Japanese fired Schulhof. In the reorganization that followed, the chairmanship of Sony Music Entertainment went to Thomas D. Mottola Jr.

To hear Tommy tell it, everything has been roses since.

"Our business is going great," he says. "And you know what one of the biggest satisfactions is? I've proven everyone wrong. They all said I couldn't do it. Well, take a look at Billboard. That's my report card, and it comes out every week. And you know what it says? It says we're on top."

What Billboard in fact says is that this summer Sony acts dominated the "Billboard 200" albums chart. Warner's, however, continues to dwarf Sony in all domestic categories, despite having spent the last two years beheading leading executives. For Tommy, this was a plus. It allowed him to claim that, under him, Sony was the most stable shop in the industry.

How much longer the stability will continue is open to question. While Tommy says, "This is my house, I built this house, and I'm not going to leave it," Sony Corporation president Nobuyuki Idei will be making the final call, and already the differences between Tokyo and the Bronx are showing. "If I write a memo to Tommy, he gets mad," Idei told the Los Angeles Times. "He goes crazy. He says, "What's the matter, don't you trust me?"

Tommy didn't help matters when, during a visit to Japan last January, he publicly lectured Idei, telling him to leave him alone. Failure to do so, Tommy told a gathering of nonplussed local journalists, could "scare the death out of Eddie Vedder... and Bruce Springsteen."

A closer-to-home worry - closer even than Yetnikoff, who still vows vengeance on the ex-friend he calls "Scumola" - is Mariah. With tastes that run to Rollerblading and riding the "really cool" Tower of Terror, Mariah, friends say, is a very young 26-year-old. They also portray her as increasingly antsy about her husband's wardening ("Always being up my ass," a former staff member quotes Mariah as saying), which includes the employment of two bodyguards, whose duties extend to accompanying her to the bathroom door, and the placing on Sony's payroll of a constant shepherdess, the wife of Epic president Dave Glew.

For all of Tommy's precautions, though, there have been slips: a Concorde flight during which Mariah poured out her problems to Diana Ross; an unwelcome friendship with an old high-school boyfriend ("Tear his eyes out," an aide recalls Tommy saying after he saw his wife being ogled, but Tommy says, "No, I never said anything like that"); and, the most public incident, a noisy quarrel in a Beverly Hills hotel lobby after this year's Grammy Awards.

The evening was not a good one for Mariah, whose Tommy-arranged show opener with Boyz II Men was soon overwhelmed by a killer gospel performance by Whitney Houston. The night got worse as Mariah began losing in category after category. As the goose eggs piled up, TV cameras showed her face tightening, while Tommy squirmed in the seat beside her. After the sixth and final zip, her countenance was the picture of gum-chewing rage. She vented it in the lobby of the Peninsula, where Sony was hosting what was to have been a celebration. "She was berating him that he didn't have enough power to get her a Grammy," says a Sony executive. "It was like a limp-dick argument." When the shouting stopped and they went up to the party, Tommy ordered monitors playing tapes of the awards switched off.

Since then, Mariah has stayed close to home - a $10 million estate detailed, in a bit of fortuitous synchronicity, by the same contractors who did the massive renovations of Sony's Manhattan headquarters. "We tried to live up to every tradition," Tommy says of the 20,000-square-foot-plus domicile that resulted. "We joined hands and did it together... Tried to study Georgian manor houses and make it look like a well-maintained 100-year-old mansion. Not bad for a kid from the Bronx, huh?"

From the accounts of visitors - who rate the spread the equal of anything in Harrison - not bad at all. It's got two ponds; neighbors such as Ralph Lauren and Stanley Jaffe; a kitchen the size of a boccie court ("He's so spoiled me with his food that I can't go to restaurants anymore," Mariah gushed to a Tommy-cleared interviewer); so many rooms Mariah's not sure of the number; a subterranean shooting range equipped with an arsenal of rifles, pistols, and shotguns; color surveillance cameras secreted in birdhouses; and overlooking an indoor swimming pool surrounded by a cloud-painted ceiling, a state-of-the-art, 64-channel recording studio. This elaborate facility, says a friend, "just about eliminates the need for Mariah to ever go into New York."

Sometimes, though, she does, passing through the two sets of electronic security gates Tommy's installed. A recent outing for the 1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, at the conclusion of which the stars went up onstage to jam. As the music swelled, Mariah stood up, about to join them. Then she looked at Tommy, who gave two quick shakes of the head. Just as quick, Mariah sat back down.

Tommy, who has awarded his wife her very own vanity label - Crave, it's being called - denies the story, as he does abetting the demise of racehorses, contributing to Yetnikoff's downfall, shivving Mickey Schulhof, knowing Vinnie the Chin, and the vague rumors of his own father's being involved with the bentnoses. ("If you print that he is," Tommy says jokingly, "he's gonna rub you out.")

The comment comes at the end of another drawn-blind day for Tommy, who's been getting more than his share of bad breaks of late. For starters, Oasis, one of his hottest acts, can't seem to decide whether to break up or stay together. For another, Sony Music Japan, source of a fifth of his profits, has just cut its six-month earnings forecast by more than half. As if all that weren't enough, word is spreading that Tommy's good friend Michael Ovitz has been chatting with Idei about taking over Sony Music for Disney. Nonetheless, Tommy says he's feeling super. It's been several weeks since our last encounter and he's been keeping close tabs on my inquiries. He knows that Atlantic co-chair Ahmet Ertegun has called him "a terrific record executive": that Irving Azoff has lauded him for being "gracious," "passionate," and possessed of "big balls." Indeed, even Billy Joel has had good words. Says a forgiving Billy, "I think of him as a Roman. I mean, in the classic sense."

Of course, Tommy knows there are other opinions out there, so he's had his lawyers remind an ex-employee or two of their confidentiality agreements. Quite on their own, his old friends Daryl Hall and John Oates have also been consulting lawyers in an attempt to find out where all the money went. But Tommy's had lawsuits before - such as the one George Michael filed to get out of his deal with Sony. And what did all the claims of Tommy's connections with "unsavory organizations" get Michael? The sale of his contract to Geffen, who forked over $40 million.

Mariah, though, is another story, a not at all happy one, according to insiders. "If you leave," one says he advised her not long ago, "make sure you find someone just as rich and powerful as Tommy. Otherwise, he's going to destroy you." Answered Mariah, "Don't you think I know that?" There's no sign of Mariah's leaving just yet. But the lyrics she penned to a recent song might give even the most secure of mates pause. "We were as one," they go, "for a moment in time / and it seemed everlasting / that you would always be mine / now you want to be free / so I'll let you fly." Perhaps mindful of the message, Tommy's had an old record-boss friend, who happens also to be a friend of Tommy's visitor, call to request that he do nothing to disturb the tranquility chez Mottola.

Not, Tommy says, that he's got anything to worry about. To demonstrate how relaxed he is, how "absurd" and "hysterical" are the stories told about him, he presents a gift. It's a copy of Joseph "Joe Dogs" Iannuzzi's latest work, The Mafia Cookbook.

We laugh, and Tommy starts reminiscing about the old days: the night Bruce Springsteen spotted John Gotti in a restaurant ("He yells over to one of the waiters, 'Hey, tell the boss that the Boss wants to meet him'"); the good times with Hall and Oates ("They stayed at my house, I cooked, I loaned them money - they were like brothers to me"); the character Morris Levy was. "He was a funny guy, a great guy, a pioneer in this business. If Morris were alive today I'd go to his house or he'd come to mine." This would probably be news to Morris, who couldn't get Tommy to take his calls while he was appealing his extortion conviction. That Mottola, Morris growled to Fredric Dannen, "is a no-talent mover-upper. He's a user."

But Morris is dead, and Tommy's rolling, talking of the 15 million records Celine Dion has sold, the 30 pounds he's got to lose, the "lot cockier" attitude he used to have. "I was a hustler," he says, "a guy who thought he knew it all. I was hungry, I was ambitious, I was anxious, I was raging: budda-bump, budda-bump, budda-bump."

Anyway, Tommy says, those days are gone. "Going in and pushing my way around, I realized that was not going to be the approach that works all the time. So now I wanna be able to get along with everyone. I want everyone to live."

He leans forward the way Michael does in the movie, when he lets Kay ask him once, just once, about the family business. "I'm serious," he says. "I'm telling you the truth. Period."

GlitterySocks
02-13-2010, 04:29 PM
This all has my head spinning...Tommy Mattola allegedly having mafia ties...Jermaine thinking Mattola and Malnik orchestrated the molestation charges that led to the trial....Mattola being behind the destruction/destabilization of many other musical icon's careers...wow. I NEVER realized that it went this deep. I feel like an uninformed fool.

Renee
02-13-2010, 04:59 PM
This all has my head spinning...Tommy Mattola allegedly having mafia ties...Jermaine thinking Mattola and Malnik orchestrated the molestation charges that led to the trial....Mattola being behind the destruction/destabilization of many other musical icon's careers...wow. I NEVER realized that it went this deep. I feel like an uninformed fool.

Aw don't feel badly, how many people really know what's going on behind the scenes at any company or in any industry?

Regarding the 2nd allegations being staged, didn't someone write (Geraldine Hughes, author of Redemption perhaps?) that after LWMJ aired, Janet Arviso came back from Florida and the DA's card was on her steps or something?

GlitterySocks
02-13-2010, 05:39 PM
Aw don't feel badly, how many people really know what's going on behind the scenes at any company or in any industry?


Well, I guess what I really meant is that I feel bad that I didn't take Michael more seriously at the time. I feel like he tried to tell us about the insanity, but some of us didn't listen as closely as we could have at the time.

---


The details in excerpt #2 are mind-boggling. I have no idea about the veracity of this piece, but all of that Mariah stuff is INSANE. The stuff about Michael...IDK. I mean, the piece is written with a sensational tone anyway, so I wouldn't be surprised if a good bit of the details are highly embellished. Still, I can't imagine Mattola dealing with Michael like that and Michael staying with Sony/staying silent about it. I always felt like Michael felt that he had been deceived/betrayed by Mattola because he considered him a friend.

At any rate, the Vanity Fair excerpts do not make Mattola look good AT ALL. They make him seem like a crooked, thug-dealing, Mafia-tied boss who rose to the top by literally getting rid of anyone that stood in his way, whether personally or professionally. I could completely see that type of person being VERY upset at losing 50% of the assets of the Sony/ATV catalog. VERY UPSET.

Renee
02-13-2010, 06:23 PM
The details in excerpt #2 are mind-boggling. I have no idea about the veracity of this piece, but all of that Mariah stuff is INSANE. The stuff about Michael...IDK. I mean, the piece is written with a sensational tone anyway, so I wouldn't be surprised if a good bit of the details are highly embellished. Still, I can't imagine Mattola dealing with Michael like that and Michael staying with Sony/staying silent about it. I always felt like Michael felt that he had been deceived/betrayed by Mattola because he considered him a friend.

You have to remember, he was betrayed in his negotiations with Sony when he re-signed in the early 90's. There was an attorney who worked both sides of the deal, Grubman, maybe. And John Branca was mixed up in things somehow too. It came out during the trial in 2005.

As far as the m.olestation mention in the article, it comes from an unnamed aide, and is refuted directly by Mottola, so you're right, you can't put much weight into it.


I could completely see that type of person being VERY upset at losing 50% of the assets of the Sony/ATV catalog. VERY UPSET.

If Mottola was still at Sony, I would definitely feel ill at ease about him. But he's been long gone. He no longer has any ties to Sony, or Sony ATV (the joint company that owns the catalogue), so what would he stand to gain by killing MJ?

Now I could believe he was involved in the 2003 allegations (he was still at Sony as things were going in motion), which led to MJ surrendering more control of the catalogue to Sony in 2006.

GlitterySocks
02-13-2010, 06:32 PM
You have to remember, he was betrayed in his negotiations with Sony when he re-signed in the early 90's. There was an attorney who worked both sides of the deal, Grubman, maybe. And John Branca was mixed up in things somehow too. It came out during the trial in 2005.

As far as the m.olestation mention in the article, it comes from an unnamed aide, and is refuted directly by Mottola, so you're right, you can't put much weight into it.



If Mottola was still at Sony, I would definitely feel ill at ease about him. But he's been long gone. He no longer has any ties to Sony, or Sony ATV (the joint company that owns the catalogue), so what would he stand to gain by killing MJ?

Now I could believe he was involved in the 2003 allegations (he was still at Sony as things were going in motion), which led to MJ surrendering more control of the catalogue to Sony in 2006.

I agree with this. I am not a conspiracy theorist that thinks that Mattola was involved in Michael's death. However, I do believe that he was VERY upset when the ATV catalog transaction occurred. I think that was part of what led to his eventual ousting from Sony.

The stuff about the molestation charges is difficult. I think Janet Arvizo is a sick individual that would not hesitate to ruin Michael for a chance of money and being in the spotlight...BUT, is she smart enough to have thought it up on her own? I'm not sure. That is where I could believe that someone (not just the DA) was in her ear, prompting her to go forward with the case. Was it Mattola? I'm not sure.

Renee
02-13-2010, 06:37 PM
I agree with this. I am not a conspiracy theorist that thinks that Mattola was involved in Michael's death. However, I do believe that he was VERY upset when the ATV catalog transaction occurred. I think that was part of what led to his eventual ousting from Sony.

Can you share why you think Mottola was upset by the transaction to merge the two catalogues in the 90's? If anything, Sony profited on the transaction because it extended their reach into the publishing world.

GlitterySocks
02-13-2010, 06:55 PM
Can you share why you think Mottola was upset by the transaction to merge the two catalogues in the 90's? If anything, Sony profited on the transaction because it extended their reach into the publishing world.

I think Mattola would have been upset not because of the business side of things, but because of the power side of things.

This quote that ivygivy posted earlier in this thread supports the idea that Sony was fully in support of the merge financially. They would have no reason to be against this from a business perspective, IMO:

"After Jackson's acquisition of ATV Music Publishing, his record label, CBS, were negotiating the sale of their record division in an unrelated deal. Following hurriedly arranged meetings and disagreements over the selling price, a deal was sealed by Jackson during a concert in Tokyo.[11] Upon seeing the success of this sale, Japanese corporation Sony sought to break away from its core business of hardware manufacturing and diversify into music, films and games. Looking for further opportunities, the company aimed to expand its music publishing interests. The Japanese corporation offered Jackson $90 million for 50% of ATV Music Publishing in 1995.[11][12] Jackson gladly accepted; he had essentially acquired half ownership of the Beatles' songs for a large profit.[11] Jackson's own songs were not included in the deal.[10] Having been merged, the company was renamed Sony/ATV Music Publishing and became the third largest music publisher in the world.[11] Michael P. Schulhof, President and CEO of Sony, welcomed the merger and praised Jackson for his efforts in the venture. "Michael Jackson is not only the most successful entertainer in history; he is also an astute businessman. Michael understands the importance of copyrights and the role they play in the introduction to new technologies."[10] He added that Jackson recognises Sony's "leadership in developing and realizing new technologies that serve to expand the creative horizon of artists such as himself".[10] Administrative expertise was provided by Sony, who installed Paul Russell as chairman. Jackson was a company director and attended board meetings regularly.[11] As each party in the arrangement held the power of veto, both sides would have to agree on a decision before it could be made. If neither party agreed on a decisions, they would not be implemented.[11]" (source: Wikipedia)

However, from the information that you posted above, Mattola doesn't strike me as a person that would be comfortable with one of their clients sharing that much financial/administrative power in the company. I could see that creating lots of friction in the day-to-day relationship between Michael and his bosses, and I could definitely imagine that Mattola would want him to sell off part of his holdings. This is why people think that Mattola would have tried to get that to happen by any means necessary: going at him personally (allegedly getting the Malniks to convince him), going at him professionally (allegedly refusing to promote Invincible), going after him legally (possible involvement in the molestation charges).

This obviously all speculation on all of our parts, but it is still a possibility ripe for discussion!

GlitterySocks
02-13-2010, 08:09 PM
Regarding the 2nd allegations being staged, didn't someone write (Geraldine Hughes, author of Redemption perhaps?) that after LWMJ aired, Janet Arviso came back from Florida and the DA's card was on her steps or something?

I definitely remember hearing this somewhere. I also think I remember Larry Nimmer saying that Janet contacted the lawyer from the first molestation charges early on, but I don't remember if he said she was prompted or not.


You have to remember, he was betrayed in his negotiations with Sony when he re-signed in the early 90's. There was an attorney who worked both sides of the deal, Grubman, maybe. And John Branca was mixed up in things somehow too. It came out during the trial in 2005.



Ugh, I didn't know that about Grubman. Poor Michael. I feel like these artists can't trust ANYONE. Money=PROBLEMS. I'm curious...do you (or anyone else) remember what was said about John Branca during the trial????

Renee
02-13-2010, 08:16 PM
I think Mattola would have been upset not because of the business side of things, but because of the power side of things.

However, from the information that you posted above, Mattola doesn't strike me as a person that would be comfortable with one of their clients sharing that much financial/administrative power in the company. I could see that creating lots of friction in the day-to-day relationship between Michael and his bosses, and I could definitely imagine that Mattola would want him to sell off part of his holdings. This is why people think that Mattola would have tried to get that to happen by any means necessary: going at him personally (allegedly getting the Malniks to convince him), going at him professionally (allegedly refusing to promote Invincible), going after him legally (possible involvement in the molestation charges).

This obviously all speculation on all of our parts, but it is still a possibility ripe for discussion!

Wow! Good thinking. Way to think outside the box and tie all the pieces folks have shared together. This is very intriguing.

Renee
02-13-2010, 08:21 PM
Ugh, I didn't know that about Grubman. Poor Michael. I feel like these artists can't trust ANYONE. Money=PROBLEMS. I'm curious...do you (or anyone else) remember what was said about John Branca during the trial????

It was very detailed but Cassandra was ALL over it back at MJFC. That site is down so I can't get in and report the trial transcripts here. Has she posted anything like that here?

Some PI MJ's team hired (LeGrand) found a secret off-shore bank account Branca and Mottola had, I think. I could be wrong though. It's in those transcripts. I think i read something too about David Geffen and Grubman at the end of JRT's 1991 book, where he expressed the music industry's concern about the level of influence David Geffen was acquiring over MJ. I don't have the book right now but when I get it back, I'll share.

ivygivy
02-13-2010, 08:31 PM
It was very detailed but Cassandra was ALL over it back at MJFC. That site is down so I can't get in and report the trial transcripts here. Has she posted anything like that here?


Yes! The first thing she did on here was carry over a copy of that material. Here it is in a HUGE file: Investigation Discussion - PositivelyMichael!

GlitterySocks
02-13-2010, 10:12 PM
Yes! The first thing she did on here was carry over a copy of that material. Here it is in a HUGE file: Investigation Discussion - PositivelyMichael! (http://www.positivelymichael.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56)

WHAT?!?!!??? I have a lot of catching up to do!!! Branca was FIRED just before the trial, only to be re-hired after it was over?!?!? WTH?

http://www.positivelymichael.com/images/MJ_fired_Branca_after_will.jpg

GlitterySocks
02-13-2010, 10:15 PM
From TeamBranca:

I have changed my mind. MJ was not naive about legal matters. Branca was definitely rehired after 2003 and in 2006 he sold MJ back his interest in the catalogue. MJ refinanced Neverland to buy it back. If MJ wanted Branca out of the will at some point, he wouldn’t “order” him out of it, he would have simply drafted another and that would automatically be the valid one.

I am assuming they have had LeGrand testify or submit documents demonstrating his services were terminated and to deliver said documents back to Branca.

I do think MJ was murdered but by Murray. I am certain SONY was out to weaken MJ but Konizer is the one who was double timing MJ for SONY. I want to emphasize that I respect everyone else's opionions.

MJ's loss remains a huge tragedy and crime.


....


Teambranca, when you log on can you please give us more info on this topic? Do you know more about Konizer?

Renee
02-13-2010, 11:07 PM
It took some searching but I found parts of the transcripts Cassandra had posted (page 626 of the download):

Below is Mesereau in 2005 cross-examining LeGrand about Branca and Sony
10 Mr. Branca worked for Mr. Jackson, was paid for by
11 Mr. Jackson, correct? He received money from Mr.
12 Jackson for services, true?
13 A. I believe the Ziffren law firm received
14 compensation from Mr. Jackson for legal services,
15 yes.
16 Q. Do you think Mr. Branca ever received any of
17 those moneys for work that he performed?
18 A. I believe Mr. Branca was paid by his firm,
19 yes.
20 Q. All right. And Mr. Jackson (sic) was one of
21 the people he fired when he was cleaning house,
22 true?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. As was Trudi Green?
25 A. Yes.

BRANCA A SPECIALIST IN MUSIC LAW
6 Q. You yourself, as you’ve indicated yesterday,
17 were not a specialist in music law, right?
18 A. That’s right.
19 Q. Mr. Branca purportedly was, right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, you answered some questions yesterday
22 about the Sony/ATV catalog. Remember that?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And the Sony/ATV catalog was owned 50/50 by
25 Sony and Michael Jackson, correct?
26 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; leading.
27 THE COURT: Overruled.
28 THE WITNESS: Yes. 10209

BRANCA CONNECTION WITH SONY
1 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: And at times Mr. Jackson
2 and Sony would have business discussions about their
3 respective ownership interests in the catalog,
4 right?
5 A. I was never privy to those discussions. It
6 would certainly seem that they would occur, but I
7 don’t have actual knowledge of that.
8 Q. But you were aware that negotiations went on
9 from time to time between representatives of Michael
10 Jackson and representatives of Sony about their
11 respective interests in that music catalog, right?
12 A. Well, absolutely, yes, because I obtained
13 files from the Ziffren law firm evidencing the
14 Ziffren law firm and Mr. Branca’s representing Mr.
15 Jackson in just such discussions over a period of
16 time.
17 Q. And just to clarify, Mr. Branca was a
18 partner at the Ziffren law firm in Los Angeles,
19 correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. That firm also represented Sony, correct?
22 A. I believe the answer is correct. Yes.
23 Q. And you were concerned that Mr. Branca and
24 that law firm might not be representing Mr.
25 Jackson’s interests properly because of their
26 connection to Sony, correct?
27 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; leading.
28 THE COURT: Sustained. 10210

Here is one question put to LeGrand by Mr Mesereau.
Q: Was it your belief when you started this investigation that Al Malnik, Tommy Motolla, John Branca and
people at Sony were trying to find a way to get Mr Jacksons interest in that Music Catalog.
A: I'm not sure that I would include Al Malnic in that group, but certainly was concerned that Branca and
Motolla in particular, had set the stage so to speak, for Sony to be able to obtain Michaels interest in the
Sony/ATV joint venture.

teambranca
02-14-2010, 02:12 PM
From TeamBranca:

I have changed my mind. MJ was not naive about legal matters. Branca was definitely rehired after 2003 and in 2006 he sold MJ back his interest in the catalogue. MJ refinanced Neverland to buy it back. If MJ wanted Branca out of the will at some point, he wouldn’t “order” him out of it, he would have simply drafted another and that would automatically be the valid one.

I am assuming they have had LeGrand testify or submit documents demonstrating his services were terminated and to deliver said documents back to Branca.

I do think MJ was murdered but by Murray. I am certain SONY was out to weaken MJ but Konizer is the one who was double timing MJ for SONY. I want to emphasize that I respect everyone else's opionions.

MJ's loss remains a huge tragedy and crime.


....


Teambranca, when you log on can you please give us more info on this topic? Do you know more about Konizer?

Hi guys :) I am having computer issues...:pcguru:

Frankly I can't find the documents I found but I responded to the Cassandra's original post and feel the same. It turns out Konizer was the shady one in all of that trying to weaken Branca. Michael, clearly rehired him after that letter and Branca had to present all that DOCUMENTATION (no just the 2009 rehiring) to the judge during Katherine's contest of the will.

The assertions regarding the offshore transactions were erroneous and it was a way for Sony AND Michael to shelter income. It worked to Michael's advantage in the end. I'll try to go back and find the details.

Michael has hired and fired so many people that there are letter's like that to everyone. Trust me I am certain Branca presented the letter Michael drafted to LeGrand and Brandt when he fired them and went back to Branca. Really this Branca story is a lot about nothing. He sold him back his portion of the catalogue at a fair price and he did not have to. Given the leeches and parasites in Michael's life Branca smells like and is a 'ROSE'.


Regarding the cross or direct examination of Branca that has been posted...how many times was Michael in the witness box...being interrogated about things for which he was innocent and trying to have the correct facts/story emerge DESPITE skillful questioning by an attorney.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone :)

teambranca
02-14-2010, 02:34 PM
hi guys,

Branca & SONY / ATV Cat.


here an article by Roger Friedman back from 2005:

Jackson Must Make Beatles Sale

Thursday , April 14, 2005

...
I'm told Jackson will likely be presented with a deal sculpted by what I call his "permanent government" of lawyers and advisers, not the many shady characters who've come and gone over the years.
This "government" includes music publisher Charles Koppelman (who's also on the boards of Martha Stewart and Steve Madden's companies), attorneys John Branca and Al Malnik, Jane Heller of Bank of America and private investors represented by Goldman Sachs.
First, the deal: Sources say Jackson will be selling most of his 50 percent interest in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, aka the Beatles catalog.
....


I am told there is some urgency to Jackson signing this deal.
Bank of America has, according to sources, lost its patience over his mounting debt. If for some reason he doesn't accept this latest proposal, I am told that he will really be in a dire situation.
Jackson, mind you, is not likely to sign this deal. Insiders tell me that he's encouraged his fans to spread the word that he's the victim of a "conspiracy."
"Michael doesn't want people to think he lost the Beatles," says a longtime friend. "He wants his fans to think it was stolen from him. He has to be the victim."
My sources also say that Jackson considers Branca one of the "conspirators," since his former attorney would reap a 5 percent commission on this sale — almost three times as much money as Jackson will make.
....


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,153414,00.html

...so Branca would get 5% commission on the sale....turn Mike down: 'anything for money'


Michael could be manipulative (everyone can be... even the attracting flies with honey method).

What I take away from what I believe to be the erroneous conclusion drawn is that it is deliberately misleading. Whoever handled the sale would have made 5% and the reason it was more than Michael would have made is because the lawyer handling the transaction hadn't BORROWED HUGE AMOUNTS against the catalogue. So yes Branca would have made more than Michael because Michael owed sooo much that his net proceeds would be small. Fact of life.

We have NEVER heard Michael or his management/business associates say that BRANCA ENCOURAGED or tried to sway Michael to sell the catalogue. Not one person has come forward to say that. If that had been Branca's intent he would have never set up the Trust to be so unassailable and TOO MAXIMZIE tax benefits. He would have maximized Michael's tax burden to WEAKEN HIM FURTHER.

Anyway... those are some of my thoughts lovelies!

Renee
02-15-2010, 04:47 PM
I'm confused about this...Tommy Mattola and Thalia were married in Dec 2000 (per Wikipedia and some other places). Wasn't MJ's feud well after that - in late 2001 and early 2002? TM didn't get fired from Sony until 2003... I grabbed a small break at work and don't have time to look stuff up.



Thought I'd throw this into the mix when considering how long Mottola and Michael were estranged. Not sure if this belongs in the tabloid section and I cannot verify the media source other than it was an interview format television show in Mexico.

If this account is true--and Michael accepted Tommy Mottola's apology-- it raises questions about the level of animosity between them.

Thalia, Mottola's wife, was on a Latin American show talking about Michael since the show was a tribute and many Latin artists were invited to talk about Michael's influence in the Latin community. She said that, way before she was Tommy's wife, she was a huge fan. She said that she went to his Dangerous Tour 92' when he went to Mexico and that he was the most amazing thing she had ever seen.

They started asking her simple questions like her favorite song, and favorite outfits and things like that. But then, the reporter couldn't hold it any longer and asked her about the Michael/Mottola Feud.

She was very classy about the entire situation, and she answered every single question asked.

They asked her if the Feud continued up until the day of his death?

... She replied... "First of all, the fued did not continue with Tommy till the day of his death. Tommy is no longer President of Sony and if Michael had any difference with Sony, it was the company itself. Because Tommy left 2 years after Invincible. Michael and Tommy were on better terms.

... She then added.... "The fued ended a few weeks before I married Tommy. Tommy knew I was such a big fan of Michael, and I told him it was dispicable of him to have this ongoing problem with Michael."

"And with that, Tommy inivited him to our home. At first, Michael declined the inivitation, but then he said yes because I asked him personally. Once he arrived to our home, he began to walk around the house and look at all the pictures. Tommy had gone out and I was the hostess for Michael until Tommy got home. I was so nervous, but I tried to keep it casual, I didn't want him to think I was a crazy fan. He looked at the pictures quietly and then saw one of myself with a white rose on my ear. He picked it up and smiled at it and told me that I looked beautiful. I started shaking."

... She continued... "After about an hour, Tommy and Michael began to talk to each other when Tommy got home. I told Tommy personally, a day before, for him to apologize and that's exactly what he did. Michael hesitated, but he accepted his apology like a true gentleman. Micheal has such a beautiful soul. And after this, I handed Michael an invitation to our wedding with Tommy. But, he looked at it and quickly said he wouldn't be able to make it and said thank you anyways."

At the end, she spoke about her wedding day and she said that that entire night was amazing. They had several parties, but the last reception was at Mottola's house.

Thalia was greeting her guests as she then noticed a bunch of "big black suits" coming through the door and in between them, was Michael. She said she was so happy, that she felt her stomach drop. Michael walked up to her, congrtulated her, and gave her a small yellow box with a white ribbon on it. She said her eyes were glowing. And when she opened the box, it was a white rose.

He said, "Like in the picture."

She said she would never forget that day and she feels blessed to have met him on a personal account.

Renee
02-15-2010, 04:51 PM
We have NEVER heard Michael or his management/business associates say that BRANCA ENCOURAGED or tried to sway Michael to sell the catalogue. Not one person has come forward to say that. If that had been Branca's intent he would have never set up the Trust to be so unassailable and TOO MAXIMZIE tax benefits. He would have maximized Michael's tax burden to WEAKEN HIM FURTHER.

Can you share some of the details on the trust side of things? I'm familiar with the Sony/ATV company side of things but am not sure how the trust fits into the picture. My business law is hazy, lol.

crillon
02-15-2010, 05:18 PM
I'm confused about this...Tommy Mattola and Thalia were married in Dec 2000 (per Wikipedia and some other places). Wasn't MJ's feud well after that - in late 2001 and early 2002? TM didn't get fired from Sony until 2003... I grabbed a small break at work and don't have time to look stuff up.

The timing doesn't match up to this alleged account by Thalia, which must be bogus...Mottola and Thalia were married in 2000; Michael's "devilish" press conference with Al Sharpton was July, 2002; and Mottola left Sony in 2003.

MJOneGoodMan
02-15-2010, 07:11 PM
Just catching up on the thread, so I'm going back a bit...


At any rate, the Vanity Fair excerpts do not make Mattola look good AT ALL. They make him seem like a crooked, thug-dealing, Mafia-tied boss who rose to the top by literally getting rid of anyone that stood in his way, whether personally or professionally. I could completely see that type of person being VERY upset at losing 50% of the assets of the Sony/ATV catalog. VERY UPSET.

If you look at it the opposite way, when the deal was made, Sony gained 50% of ATV, which Michael had owned solely. Which would have been more the more valuable before the deal was made? The Sony catalog or the ATV catalog containing most of the Beatles' music? The amount of money Sony paid for the ATV catalog, which was twice what Michael bought it for plus giving Michael 50% of the merged Sony ATV catalogs, seems to show the value Sony placed on Michael's ATV catalog.


I've searched and cannot find a confirmation one way or the other. The masters were scheduled (by contract) to be returned to MJ between 2008-2011. Branca and DiLeo (who sits on the Sony/Jackson Catalog BOD) know for sure.

I don't know about DiLeo but Branca would know for sure.

crillon
02-15-2010, 08:33 PM
Just catching up on the thread, so I'm going back a bit...



If you look at it the opposite way, when the deal was made, Sony gained 50% of ATV, which Michael had owned solely. Which would have been more the more valuable before the deal was made? The Sony catalog or the ATV catalog containing most of the Beatles' music? The amount of money Sony paid for the ATV catalog, which was twice what Michael bought it for plus giving Michael 50% of the merged Sony ATV catalogs, seems to show the value Sony placed on Michael's ATV catalog.



I don't know about DiLeo but Branca would know for sure.

DiLeo sits on the Sony/ATV Board of Directors.

http://www.mj-upbeat.com/FrankDiLeoInterview.htm

crillon
02-15-2010, 09:46 PM
You have to remember, he was betrayed in his negotiations with Sony when he re-signed in the early 90's. There was an attorney who worked both sides of the deal, Grubman, maybe. And John Branca was mixed up in things somehow too. It came out during the trial in 2005.

As far as the m.olestation mention in the article, it comes from an unnamed aide, and is refuted directly by Mottola, so you're right, you can't put much weight into it.



If Mottola was still at Sony, I would definitely feel ill at ease about him. But he's been long gone. He no longer has any ties to Sony, or Sony ATV (the joint company that owns the catalogue), so what would he stand to gain by killing MJ?

Now I could believe he was involved in the 2003 allegations (he was still at Sony as things were going in motion), which led to MJ surrendering more [/B[B]]control of the catalogue to Sony in 2006.

Renee, what is your source? Interested in knowing if there was another unreported deal at that time...

My understanding is that Michael retained his 50% ownership of the Sony/ATV catalogue (with loans of $220 million against it) until his death. Here's what transpired in 2005, according to Business Week, when Michael was living in Bahrain and he was about the default on his Fortress (hedge fund) publishing loan. (By this time, Bank of America had already sold the loans it held against MJ's interests in the Sony/ATV catalogue, MiJac and Neverland to Fortress Investments.)

In late 2005, Jackson received a fax from Robert Wiesenthal, the chief financial officer of Sony's U.S. business. Wiesenthal understood that Jackson was days from defaulting on his Fortress publishing loan and offered to meet to discuss ways to help.

Besides aiding a partner, Sony was concerned that Jackson's half of Sony/ATV could end up in bankruptcy court -- or in the hands of an outsider like Burkle or Fortress. (Burkle declined to be interviewed, and Fortress did not respond to an interview request.)

Howard Stringer, Sony Corp.'s chairman, dispatched Wiesenthal to Dubai. In a gilded hotel suite, Wiesenthal met with Jackson and several of the sheikh's advisers and explained that Sony had lined up bankers from Citi who were willing to refinance Jackson's ATV debt on much better terms. And Sony agreed to a dividend policy from the publishing company that would help cover interest payments on the ATV loan.

In exchange, Sony received a freer hand to make investment decisions without Jackson's approval; a right of refusal on his stake; and an option to buy half of Jackson's half for around $250 million. To everyone else's surprise, Fortress exercised a right it held to match any financing terms and held onto its Jackson loans, though only for a short term.

MJOneGoodMan
02-16-2010, 12:29 AM
DiLeo sits on the Sony/ATV Board of Directors.

http://www.mj-upbeat.com/FrankDiLeoInterview.htm

That's right! I forgot about that when I was writing the post.

This is an excerpt from a very interesting article, which talks about the rights to Michael's music, past and future recordings. The link is below.

"At this point, however, all roads seem to go through Sony, at least according to a former executive at Sony Music Entertainment, who believes that Sony has already catalogued Jackson's new music and would have first call on what it wants for a new album. Tommy Mottola, a former chairman and CEO of Sony Music, agrees. "Sony is in an ideal position right now to sell tons of Michael Jackson catalog, collector's sets, unreleased music, and packaged music," he says. Sony executives would not comment on what rights they possess or their plans for releasing any Michael Jackson material."

http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/jul2009/db20090714_960673.htm

Renee
02-16-2010, 10:00 AM
Renee, what is your source? Interested in knowing if there was another unreported deal at that time...

It was some type of deal he made in Dubai in 2006. I'll have to find it.

Edit: We are talking about the same deal. The deal was in December 2005 but the NY Times didn't cover it until May 2006.

What Happened to the Fortune Michael Jackson Made?
By TIMOTHY L. O'BRIEN
Published: May 14, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/14/business/yourmoney/14michael.html

SEATED in a $9,000-a-night luxury suite in the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, Michael Jackson played the role of a wealthy pop star as he met with two senior executives of the Sony Corporation last December. From the opulent setting to Mr. Jackson's retinue of advisers, there was little indication that Sony's troops were paying a visit because they were concerned that he was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy proceedings.

Sony was worried because Mr. Jackson was the company's partner in a lucrative music publishing business that included songs by the Beatles and other musicians. If Mr. Jackson became insolvent, his 50 percent share of that $1 billion business would be up for grabs to the highest bidder, leaving Sony to confront the uncomfortable possibility that it would be forced into a new, unpredictable partnership not of its own choosing.

With the waters of the Persian Gulf and a teeming, prosperous emirate splayed out far beneath them, the group got down to business. According to those who attended the meeting and requested anonymity because confidential financial matters were discussed, Mr. Jackson was pensive and cooperative, seemingly well aware of the gravity of his situation despite the grandeur of his surroundings. He only chirped up occasionally to remark on what a wonderful investment the catalog had been.

After listening to Mr. Jackson, Robert S. Wiesenthal, a senior Sony executive, eventually proposed that Sony would help the singer find a bank to lend him more than $300 million to pay off his debts. In exchange, Mr. Jackson would possibly forfeit a portion of his half of the Beatles catalog.

Just last month, Mr. Jackson — still swamped in debt, with his musical career in stasis and his personal life limned by scandal — agreed to that financial overhaul. It is likely to strip him of about half of his remaining stake in the catalog, which he has relied on as a financial lifeline for about a decade. According to executives involved in the restructuring talks, Mr. Jackson used the catalog, as well as copyrights to his own songs, as collateral for roughly $270 million in bank loans he took out to fund a spending spree that includes upkeep for his sprawling California ranch, Neverland, and other exotic luxuries.

Given how precarious Mr. Jackson's financial situation appears to be, it is unclear how long he will be able to retain his remaining stake in his prized music catalog. A reckoning appears near, and Mr. Jackson's ability to hold onto his fortune has proven to be as fleeting as stardom itself.

The arc of Mr. Jackson's career, and his management of his business and financial affairs, tracks some of the timeworn truisms about the realities of the entertainment industry and those who inhabit its upper tiers: a child star unwittingly beholden to others who control his bank account; a more mature adult who is savvy about packaging and marketing himself but who grows increasingly undisciplined about his spending; and, finally, a reclusive caricature locked inside a financial and emotional fantasyland of his own making.

For those without access to Mr. Jackson's personal accounts, assessing exactly how much money has passed through his hands over a career that spans decades is impossible. Sales of his recordings through Sony's music unit have generated more than $300 million in royalties for Mr. Jackson since the early 1980's, according to three individuals with direct knowledge of the singer's business affairs. Revenues from concerts and music publishing — including the creation of a venture with Sony that controls the Beatles catalog — as well as from endorsements, merchandising and music videos added, perhaps, $400 million more to that amount, these people believe.

WHATEVER portion of those earnings actually ended up in Mr. Jackson's wallet is also difficult to assess because it would have to account for hefty costs like recording and production expenses, taxes and the like that would have reduced income from his business endeavors. Mr. Jackson could not be reached for comment.

(There's more, this is just page 1, but it gets into MJ's career).

Renee
02-16-2010, 10:14 AM
On Friday, Roger Friedman ran a blurb on the remake of "We Are the World" and included some of the history between MJ and Tommy Mottola, leading to "What More Can I Give?" being shelved:


Irony for Michael Jackson: ‘We Are the World’ at 25
By: Roger Friedman // Friday February 12, 2010

Tonight everyone will get to hear the new edition of “We Are the World,” 25 years after Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Quincy Jones made history.

It’s an ironic moment for Michael Jackson, whose alleged murderer was arraigned this week. It’s ironic especially since it features Celine Dion.

Dion was one of the singers whom Jackson enlisted in October 2001 for his “What More Can I Give” single. With a panoply of stars, Jackson tried to re-create the “We Are The World” vibe for the people who’d been affected by Sept. 11.

It didn’t work. Sony’s Tommy Mottola didn’t want Michael’s charitable efforts interfering with the release then of his first album since the mid ’90s, “Invincible.” He wouldn’t let Jackson release it on Sony and stopped “What More Can I Give” from coming out elsewhere.

The tug-of-war went on forever. After Hurricane Rita (which followed Katrina) in 2005, Jackson again tried to release “What More Can I Give.” Again, he had no luck.

Michael did use the song to some effect just once. With his producing partner Marc Schaffel, Jackson gathered together a bunch of stars and performed the song live on the Washington DC ABC special for 9-11 in October 2001. But it was a lost cause. Mottola pounced on the fact the Schaffel had a porn business on the side. The song was never heard again.

http://showbiz411.blogs.thr.com/2010/02/12/michael-jackson-we-are-the-world-at-25/


The rest of the article is not favorable to MJ, so I'll just leave it at that.

crillon
02-16-2010, 12:08 PM
It was some type of deal he made in Dubai in 2006. I'll have to find it.

Edit: We are talking about the same deal. The deal was in December 2005 but the NY Times didn't cover it until May 2006.

What Happened to the Fortune Michael Jackson Made?
By TIMOTHY L. O'BRIEN
Published: May 14, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/14/business/yourmoney/14michael.html

SEATED in a $9,000-a-night luxury suite in the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, Michael Jackson played the role of a wealthy pop star as he met with two senior executives of the Sony Corporation last December. From the opulent setting to Mr. Jackson's retinue of advisers, there was little indication that Sony's troops were paying a visit because they were concerned that he was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy proceedings.

Sony was worried because Mr. Jackson was the company's partner in a lucrative music publishing business that included songs by the Beatles and other musicians. If Mr. Jackson became insolvent, his 50 percent share of that $1 billion business would be up for grabs to the highest bidder, leaving Sony to confront the uncomfortable possibility that it would be forced into a new, unpredictable partnership not of its own choosing.

With the waters of the Persian Gulf and a teeming, prosperous emirate splayed out far beneath them, the group got down to business. According to those who attended the meeting and requested anonymity because confidential financial matters were discussed, Mr. Jackson was pensive and cooperative, seemingly well aware of the gravity of his situation despite the grandeur of his surroundings. He only chirped up occasionally to remark on what a wonderful investment the catalog had been.

After listening to Mr. Jackson, Robert S. Wiesenthal, a senior Sony executive, eventually proposed that Sony would help the singer find a bank to lend him more than $300 million to pay off his debts. In exchange, Mr. Jackson would possibly forfeit a portion of his half of the Beatles catalog.

Just last month, Mr. Jackson — still swamped in debt, with his musical career in stasis and his personal life limned by scandal — agreed to that financial overhaul. It is likely to strip him of about half of his remaining stake in the catalog, which he has relied on as a financial lifeline for about a decade. According to executives involved in the restructuring talks, Mr. Jackson used the catalog, as well as copyrights to his own songs, as collateral for roughly $270 million in bank loans he took out to fund a spending spree that includes upkeep for his sprawling California ranch, Neverland, and other exotic luxuries.

Given how precarious Mr. Jackson's financial situation appears to be, it is unclear how long he will be able to retain his remaining stake in his prized music catalog. A reckoning appears near, and Mr. Jackson's ability to hold onto his fortune has proven to be as fleeting as stardom itself.

The arc of Mr. Jackson's career, and his management of his business and financial affairs, tracks some of the timeworn truisms about the realities of the entertainment industry and those who inhabit its upper tiers: a child star unwittingly beholden to others who control his bank account; a more mature adult who is savvy about packaging and marketing himself but who grows increasingly undisciplined about his spending; and, finally, a reclusive caricature locked inside a financial and emotional fantasyland of his own making.

For those without access to Mr. Jackson's personal accounts, assessing exactly how much money has passed through his hands over a career that spans decades is impossible. Sales of his recordings through Sony's music unit have generated more than $300 million in royalties for Mr. Jackson since the early 1980's, according to three individuals with direct knowledge of the singer's business affairs. Revenues from concerts and music publishing — including the creation of a venture with Sony that controls the Beatles catalog — as well as from endorsements, merchandising and music videos added, perhaps, $400 million more to that amount, these people believe.

WHATEVER portion of those earnings actually ended up in Mr. Jackson's wallet is also difficult to assess because it would have to account for hefty costs like recording and production expenses, taxes and the like that would have reduced income from his business endeavors. Mr. Jackson could not be reached for comment.

(There's more, this is just page 1, but it gets into MJ's career).

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see anything in this article that indicates Sony took more control over Michael's remaining stake in the Sony/ATV catalogue.

In fact, although Sony came to the table with a restructured deal for Michael with Citi, the current holder of the debts at that time, Fortress Investments, matched the deal. So, nothing changed, except MJ got better terms.

Renee
02-16-2010, 12:56 PM
Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see anything in this article that indicates Sony took more control over Michael's remaining stake in the Sony/ATV catalogue.

In fact, although Sony came to the table with a restructured deal for Michael with Citi, the current holder of the debts at that time, Fortress Investments, matched the deal. So, nothing changed, except MJ got better terms.

I'll come up with the details in a second but you yourself quoted "Sony received a freer hand to make investment decisions without Jackson's approval."

I recall reading that MJ's nomadic lifestyle was causing problems with Sony/ATV. Like decisions had to be made 50-50, but it was a problem getting MJ or his representatives to the table for some things, and it was holding up the publishing side of the business.

Edit: Furthermore, the deal gave Sony an option to buy his half of the catalogue, which alone gives them more leverage. Both sides walked away with something, for MJ, it was avoaiding bankruptcy, for Sony it was getting more administrative and publishing control of the joint company.

crillon
02-16-2010, 01:08 PM
I'll come up with the details in a second but you yourself quoted "Sony received a freer hand to make investment decisions without Jackson's approval."

I recall reading that MJ's nomadic lifestyle was causing problems with Sony/ATV. Like decisions had to be made 50-50, but it was a problem getting MJ or his representatives to the table for some things, and it was holding up the publishing side of the business.

I think we need to define the terms...there's a big difference between making investment decisions w/o Jackson's approval (but with the approval of the Sony/ATV Board of Directors, incl MJ's representative) and taking more control (implied ownership) of the Sony/ATV catalogues.

The way the ownership was structured, Sony could not independently make decisions about Michael's 50% ownership without Michael either signing off or delegating it. Michael always retained control over his 50%.

Renee
02-16-2010, 01:15 PM
http://www.sonyatv.com/index.php/news/549

MJ and The Beatles

Jackson acquired ATV, including the Northern Songs catalog of 250 Beatles compositions, in 1985 for $47.5 million, merging it with Sony Music Publishing in 1995. Under the latter deal, Sony paid Jackson $110 million and gave him a 50% stake in the merged company, which at the time was valued at about $500 million, according to the 2007 book 'Northern Songs: The True Story of the Beatles' Song Publishing Empire' by Brian Southall with Rupert Perry. Sources estimate that Sony/ATV is now valued at about $1.7 billion.

Despite media reports of investor interest in Jackson's half of Sony/ATV, Sony Corp. remains in the driver's seat. When a cash-strapped Jackson refinanced his debt with the Fortress Investment Group in 2007, Sony Corp. helped facilitate the deal and in return secured the right to purchase half of his share in Sony/ATV at a predetermined price; it also became managing partner of the publishing company, giving it operational control. Sony also obtained the right to match any future offers on Jackson's remaining 25% stake. Separately, sources say that Sony/ATV also gets a first look at purchasing Jackson's own Mijac catalog upon the expiration of its administration deal with Warner/Chappell.

Since it made that deal, Sony Corp. has already laid out some $900 million in cash to Bertelsmann as part of a deal to assume complete ownership of Sony BMG, which it renamed Sony Music Entertainment.

Sony executives declined to comment on the status of the Jackson estate's Sony/ATV stake or Mijac. Despite media speculation that the estate's tax and debt obligations might force a sale of its Sony/ATV stake, a spokesman for the Jackson estate said that it has been the estate's position that its stake in Sony/ATV isn't for sale. The spokesman didn't respond to a request for further comment.

Renee
02-16-2010, 01:16 PM
I think we need to define the terms...there's a big difference between making investment decisions w/o Jackson's approval (but with the approval of the Sony/ATV Board of Directors, incl MJ's representative) and taking more control (implied ownership) of the Sony/ATV catalogues.

The way the ownership was structured, Sony could not independently make decisions about Michael's 50% ownership without Michael either signing off or delegating it. Michael always retained control over his 50%.

Yes, I was not talking about ownership, though I just posted something from Sony which seems to indicate MJ's ownership went dow nto 25%.

crillon
02-16-2010, 01:27 PM
Yes, I was not talking about ownership, though I just posted something from Sony which seems to indicate MJ's ownership went dow nto 25%.

Michael's Estate retains 50% ownership of the Sony/ATV Catalogues, even though a portion of the 50% is leveraged with roughly $245 million in loans. Once the Estate pays off the loans, the Jackson Estate will own the 50% outright. (Because 25% of Michael's share was leveraged with loans -- that Sony apparently assumed from Fortress Investments shortly after the 2007 deal--Sony retained management rights over that 25% and has the option (first right of refusal) on any bid for the remaining 25% that is not leveraged with loans, assuming it is up for sale).

Michael retained his 50% ownership, even though he lost management control over 25% (because it was leveraged with loans). Once the loans are paid, the Jackson Estate will own the 50% and can chose to keep it, or sell it, with Sony in first position.

Renee
02-16-2010, 01:40 PM
Yes, I was not talking about ownership, though I just posted something from Sony which seems to indicate MJ's ownership went dow nto 25%.

And I would like to add that just because you don't have ownership over 51% of a company, doesn't mean you don't have control of the company. All that means is that some decisions (as defined in the company's bylaws) require a shareholder or BoD vote. But if you are able to limit those voting circumstances, then you in essence, have control over the company. i.e. – look at all the things Sony/ATV has expanded into since their December 2005 deal with MJ.

crillon
02-16-2010, 01:58 PM
And I would like to add that just because you don't have ownership over 51% of a company, doesn't mean you don't have control of the company. All that means is that some decisions (as defined in the company's bylaws) require a shareholder or BoD vote. But if you are able to limit those voting circumstances, then you in essence, have control over the company. i.e. – look at all the things Sony/ATV has expanded into since their December 2005 deal with MJ.

Based on your post...it appears that Michael lost operational control over the 25% he leveraged with loans, although he retained ownership. I can understand why Sony brokered that deal because Michael was unsettled during this time period--post-trial, MJ living in Bahrain, Ireland, etc. and if it hadn't been for Sony, the Fortress loans (Sony/ATV, MiJac, Neverland) would have defaulted.

Since forming the partnership with Michael in 1995, Sony added significant value (hundreds of millions of dollars) to the Sony/ATV Music Publishing Catalogues, through song publishing acquisitions. The catalog is estimated to be worth between $1.5 and $5 billion. Royalties from Sony and MiJac publishing could generate more than $50 million in 2010.

Renee
02-16-2010, 02:02 PM
Based on your post...it appears that Michael lost operational control over the 25% he leveraged with loans, although he retained ownership. I can understand why Sony brokered that deal because Michael was unsettled during this time period--post-trial, MJ living in Bahrain, Ireland, etc. and if it hadn't been for Sony, the Fortress loans (Sony/ATV, MiJac, Neverland) would have defaulted.

Since forming the partnership with Michael in 1995, Sony added significant value (hundreds of millions of dollars) to the Sony/ATV Music Publishing Catalogues, through song publishing acquisitions. The catalog is estimated to be worth between $1.5 and $5 billion. Royalties from Sony and MiJac publishing could generate more than $50 million in 2010.

Ok, I think we're on the same page now. You were talking ownership based control, I was talking operational based cotnrol.

Renee
02-16-2010, 02:10 PM
I'll come up with the details in a second but you yourself quoted "Sony received a freer hand to make investment decisions without Jackson's approval."

I recall reading that MJ's nomadic lifestyle was causing problems with Sony/ATV. Like decisions had to be made 50-50, but it was a problem getting MJ or his representatives to the table for some things, and it was holding up the publishing side of the business.

Edit: Furthermore, the deal gave Sony an option to buy his half of the catalogue, which alone gives them more leverage. Both sides walked away with something, for MJ, it was avoiding bankruptcy, for Sony it was getting more administrative and publishing control of the joint company.

It'a little late, since we got everything cleared up but I FINALLY found the article I was talking about (this is where I got the 2006 date from):


http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/23/news/companies/michael_jackson_assets.fortune/index.htm

Fortune magazine
Behind Michael Jackson's mad money
Was the King of Pop smart, lucky, or a little off about how he conducted his finances? Turns out, he managed to be all at the same time.

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- We all know that Michael Jackson was one of the greatest entertainers who ever lived. But when it came to how he conducted his business and financial affairs, was he smart, lucky, or mad? As depicted in the Fight Over Michael's Millions , he managed to be all at the same time.

Repeatedly, people who worked with Jackson told me that although he had a shrewd sense of business, he had no appreciation of -- or concern about -- the value of money. He came into an unfathomable amount of it during the 1980s at the apex of his success, and he hit a double-home run when he parlayed $47.5 million into his half-interest in what is today Sony/ATV Publishing, which is now worth more than 10 times that.

It's interesting that despite leaving his famed Neverland Ranch nearly five years ago and vowing never to return, Jackson never bought another home. My impression is that is because he only believed in doing things on an ever grander scale and he was biding his time till he could come back bigger than ever.

This explains the apparent lunacy of Jackson, despite the crippling loans he carried, this year planning to buy a house in Las Vegas for close to $50 million and even having a $15 million advance for the house built into his contract with AEG, the promoter of his comeback concerts.

According to Jackson's recent manager Tohme Tohme, Jackson's largesse extended to people he cared for -- he says Jackson agreed to buy a $600,000 motor home for his mother Katherine and asked that a $400,000 bracelet that he liked be bought and sent to one of his celebrity pals -- both in the past couple of years when he was on the brink of financial ruin.

Yet, Jackson understood that he needed to make money to get out of hock. One of the many ironies in Jackson's tragedy is that he was poised to sell a warehouse full of his vast possessions at an auction in Los Angeles this past April. He called that off at the last minute and now, given the interest in Jackson since his death, his stuff is undoubtedly worth far more.

Plus, some pieces are now about to start earning his estate money as part of a touring exhibition of his memorabilia slated to begin in London next week. (Go here if you want to see the catalogue from the aborted auction.) Whether the Jackson provenance is a plus or minus for the real estate value of Neverland when it is eventually sold remains to be seen.

When it came to negotiating deals (which he often reneged on), Jackson could be sly. He understood that he had assets people coveted -- including proximity to himself -- and that he could find ways to moonwalk around financial disaster.

Sony/ATV was a calling card that separated him from being a mere musical megastar. By following Paul McCartney's advice and buying up music catalogues, Jackson bet wisely on a segment of the music business that has actually grown over the past few years, as music gets licensed for new uses, like ring tones and advertising and TV shows like "American Idol" and video games like Rock Band.

And whether he intended to or not, Jackson picked a business that did just fine -- if not better -- without him involved day to day. During the years Jackson was in the figurative wilderness, he was also an absentee partner at Sony/ATV. Until Sony secured more control over business decisions when it helped Jackson hold onto his stake in the company in 2006, it was apparently impossible to track down Jackson and get him to agree to things.

With a freer hand, Sony was more easily able to make more than $500 million of acquisitions and bring in Martin Bandier, a music industry veteran, to build and run the Sony/ATV in early 2007. Last year, the company made around $65 million in operating profit on revenue of close to $500 million, insiders claim, and the business won an internal award at Sony (SNE) for its rich margins.

Jackson cherished his association with the business and appreciated how Sony had helped him in his pinch, but he was also mistrustful of the Japanese conglomerate after falling out with his record label there a few years ago. It probably didn't help that the partners didn't hold a single board meeting between 2002 and 2007, and Jackson never bothered to meet Bandier in person.

When he agreed to the comeback shows in London, Jackson wanted it known that he was going back to work for the benefit of his three children -- he and his youngest son, Prince Michael II (also known as "Blanket") even showed up in matching black suits when he went to meet Phillip Anschutz, the tycoon whose company, AEG, was to stage the concerts.

Jackson explained that, more than the money, he wanted to show his kids what he had done in his heyday. But at the same time, his advisors say, he mused about a future when he would somehow buy back the other half of Sony/ATV and live off publishing riches in his big mansion in Las Vegas while making movies and doing other things.

It was an impossible dream.

It's nice to know I'm not crazy. Sorry for the confusion, I am swamped at work and trying to post while doing like 4 or 5 other things, lol.

crillon
02-16-2010, 03:10 PM
It'a little late, since we got everything cleared up but I FINALLY found the article I was talking about (this is where I got the 2006 date from):


http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/23/news/companies/michael_jackson_assets.fortune/index.htm

Fortune magazine
Behind Michael Jackson's mad money
Was the King of Pop smart, lucky, or a little off about how he conducted his finances? Turns out, he managed to be all at the same time.

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- We all know that Michael Jackson was one of the greatest entertainers who ever lived. But when it came to how he conducted his business and financial affairs, was he smart, lucky, or mad? As depicted in the Fight Over Michael's Millions , he managed to be all at the same time.

Repeatedly, people who worked with Jackson told me that although he had a shrewd sense of business, he had no appreciation of -- or concern about -- the value of money. He came into an unfathomable amount of it during the 1980s at the apex of his success, and he hit a double-home run when he parlayed $47.5 million into his half-interest in what is today Sony/ATV Publishing, which is now worth more than 10 times that.

It's interesting that despite leaving his famed Neverland Ranch nearly five years ago and vowing never to return, Jackson never bought another home. My impression is that is because he only believed in doing things on an ever grander scale and he was biding his time till he could come back bigger than ever.

This explains the apparent lunacy of Jackson, despite the crippling loans he carried, this year planning to buy a house in Las Vegas for close to $50 million and even having a $15 million advance for the house built into his contract with AEG, the promoter of his comeback concerts.

According to Jackson's recent manager Tohme Tohme, Jackson's largesse extended to people he cared for -- he says Jackson agreed to buy a $600,000 motor home for his mother Katherine and asked that a $400,000 bracelet that he liked be bought and sent to one of his celebrity pals -- both in the past couple of years when he was on the brink of financial ruin.

Yet, Jackson understood that he needed to make money to get out of hock. One of the many ironies in Jackson's tragedy is that he was poised to sell a warehouse full of his vast possessions at an auction in Los Angeles this past April. He called that off at the last minute and now, given the interest in Jackson since his death, his stuff is undoubtedly worth far more.

Plus, some pieces are now about to start earning his estate money as part of a touring exhibition of his memorabilia slated to begin in London next week. (Go here if you want to see the catalogue from the aborted auction.) Whether the Jackson provenance is a plus or minus for the real estate value of Neverland when it is eventually sold remains to be seen.

When it came to negotiating deals (which he often reneged on), Jackson could be sly. He understood that he had assets people coveted -- including proximity to himself -- and that he could find ways to moonwalk around financial disaster.

Sony/ATV was a calling card that separated him from being a mere musical megastar. By following Paul McCartney's advice and buying up music catalogues, Jackson bet wisely on a segment of the music business that has actually grown over the past few years, as music gets licensed for new uses, like ring tones and advertising and TV shows like "American Idol" and video games like Rock Band.

And whether he intended to or not, Jackson picked a business that did just fine -- if not better -- without him involved day to day. During the years Jackson was in the figurative wilderness, he was also an absentee partner at Sony/ATV. Until Sony secured more control over business decisions when it helped Jackson hold onto his stake in the company in 2006, it was apparently impossible to track down Jackson and get him to agree to things.

With a freer hand, Sony was more easily able to make more than $500 million of acquisitions and bring in Martin Bandier, a music industry veteran, to build and run the Sony/ATV in early 2007. Last year, the company made around $65 million in operating profit on revenue of close to $500 million, insiders claim, and the business won an internal award at Sony (SNE) for its rich margins.

Jackson cherished his association with the business and appreciated how Sony had helped him in his pinch, but he was also mistrustful of the Japanese conglomerate after falling out with his record label there a few years ago. It probably didn't help that the partners didn't hold a single board meeting between 2002 and 2007, and Jackson never bothered to meet Bandier in person.

When he agreed to the comeback shows in London, Jackson wanted it known that he was going back to work for the benefit of his three children -- he and his youngest son, Prince Michael II (also known as "Blanket") even showed up in matching black suits when he went to meet Phillip Anschutz, the tycoon whose company, AEG, was to stage the concerts.

Jackson explained that, more than the money, he wanted to show his kids what he had done in his heyday. But at the same time, his advisors say, he mused about a future when he would somehow buy back the other half of Sony/ATV and live off publishing riches in his big mansion in Las Vegas while making movies and doing other things.

It was an impossible dream.

It's nice to know I'm not crazy. Sorry for the confusion, I am swamped at work and trying to post while doing like 4 or 5 other things, lol.

Yes, I've read this one--great summary of the financial chronology...

crillon
02-16-2010, 03:21 PM
Ok, I think we're on the same page now. You were talking ownership based control, I was talking operational based cotnrol.

Yes, we are on the same page...thanks for digging up all the articles.

It's interesting with all the claims about Sony wanting to take advantage of Michael re/the catalog that this 2007 deal was Sony's opportunity, if they had nefarious motives. Michael was out of the country reeling from the trial, depressed, deeply in debt & unaware that the Fortress Investment loans were about to default...If Sony were unethical, they could have worked a deal with Fortress behind the scenes to get control of Michael's share that was leveraged (25%) and then restructured the loan to include tapping the remaining 25% to cover the default amount. When all was said and done, they could have wrangled 75%-100% ownership of the catalogue.

Renee
02-16-2010, 04:14 PM
The timing doesn't match up to this alleged account by Thalia, which must be bogus...Mottola and Thalia were married in 2000; Michael's "devilish" press conference with Al Sharpton was July, 2002; and Mottola left Sony in 2003.

I just thought of something, is it possible that MJ and Tommoy Mottola had more than one feud? And the latter was the big public one, but the one referred to in the article was more of a private matter, that Thalia knew about, but was earlier, prior to their wedding? Maybe the interviewer was confused or something got lost in translation?

Renee
02-16-2010, 04:17 PM
It's interesting with all the claims about Sony wanting to take advantage of Michael re/the catalog that this 2007 deal was Sony's opportunity, if they had nefarious motives. Michael was out of the country reeling from the trial, depressed, deeply in debt & unaware that the Fortress Investment loans were about to default...If Sony were unethical, they could have worked a deal with Fortress behind the scenes to get control of Michael's share that was leveraged (25%) and then restructured the loan to include tapping the remaining 25% to cover the default amount. When all was said and done, they could have wrangled 75%-100% ownership of the catalogue.

YES! This is why I have been saying, for the longest, that it makes no sense for Sony to murder MJ over the catalog. They could have gotten it years back if they were sneaky enough to murder someone and wanted it that badly, but they were able to get what they wanted during the negotiations with him over his debt issues.

teambranca
02-16-2010, 09:40 PM
It's interesting with all the claims about Sony wanting to take advantage of Michael re/the catalog that this 2007 deal was Sony's opportunity, if they had nefarious motives. Michael was out of the country reeling from the trial, depressed, deeply in debt & unaware that the Fortress Investment loans were about to default...If Sony were unethical, they could have worked a deal with Fortress behind the scenes to get control of Michael's share that was leveraged (25%) and then restructured the loan to include tapping the remaining 25% to cover the default amount. When all was said and done, they could have wrangled 75%-100% ownership of the catalogue.


YES! This is why I have been saying, for the longest, that it makes no sense for Sony to murder MJ over the catalog. They could have gotten it years back if they were sneaky enough to murder someone and wanted it that badly, but they were able to get what they wanted during the negotiations with him over his debt issues.


GREAT JOB GUYS

ok...the investigation is now closed ;)

GlitterySocks
02-17-2010, 12:07 AM
GREAT JOB GUYS

ok...the investigation is now closed ;)

lol....nice try, teambranca!!!

teambranca
02-17-2010, 02:28 AM
lol....nice try, teambranca!!!

;) heh heh

crillon
02-21-2010, 03:54 AM
I just thought of something, is it possible that MJ and Tommoy Mottola had more than one feud? And the latter was the big public one, but the one referred to in the article was more of a private matter, that Thalia knew about, but was earlier, prior to their wedding? Maybe the interviewer was confused or something got lost in translation?

I suppose anything is possible...But, it sounded like the interviewer was asking about the public battle between Tommy & Michael. I think if this interview happened before Michael's death, I would give it more credence.


YES! This is why I have been saying, for the longest, that it makes no sense for Sony to murder MJ over the catalog. They could have gotten it years back if they were sneaky enough to murder someone and wanted it that badly, but they were able to get what they wanted during the negotiations with him over his debt issues.

Yes, I agree with you. Sony had so many opportunities throughout their 20 year relationship with Michael. Like any business relationship, there were disagreements, bad news (Michael's personal troubles) and bad chemistry (Mottola) to work through, but they largely had a mutually successful relationship.

MJsPYT777
02-21-2010, 01:46 PM
Ok, can someone explain to me who owns the Catalog now? Is it Michael's estate, Sony, etc? I just hope that with every piece of merchandise is sold it goes to Michael's children, not the greedy hands of Sony. I know they probably have some profit gain from this..

crillon
02-21-2010, 03:12 PM
Ok, can someone explain to me who owns the Catalog now? Is it Michael's estate, Sony, etc? I just hope that with every piece of merchandise is sold it goes to Michael's children, not the greedy hands of Sony. I know they probably have some profit gain from this..

Michael's Estate owns 50% and Sony owns 50%. As for TII, 90% of the profits go to Michael's Estate. Other deals--unpublished songs, etc.--are being negotiated by the Estate's Executors.

Michael's Estate is estimated to be worth nearly $5 billion over the next 5-8 years.

MJsPYT777
02-21-2010, 10:38 PM
Michael's Estate owns 50% and Sony owns 50%. As for TII, 90% of the profits go to Michael's Estate. Other deals--unpublished songs, etc.--are being negotiated by the Estate's Executors.

Michael's Estate is estimated to be worth nearly $5 billion over the next 5-8 years.

Thanks, bb! Now I wonder if the estate could legally try to buy out Sony's portion?

crillon
02-21-2010, 10:43 PM
Thanks, bb! Now I wonder if the estate could legally try to buy out Sony's portion?

Only if it was for sale...and I doubt Sony will ever sell their 50%, which they've held since Michael originally merged with them to form Sony/ATV Music Publishing in 1995.

MJsPYT777
02-21-2010, 10:49 PM
Only if it was for sale...and I doubt Sony will ever sell their 50%, which they've held since Michael originally merged with them to form Sony/ATV Music Publishing in 1995.

How about if we hold Sony hostage ask them polietly?

SevenInches
02-21-2010, 10:50 PM
How about if we hold Sony hostage ask them polietly?

I'll get the rope I doubt that'll happen.

MJsPYT777
02-21-2010, 10:53 PM
I'll get the rope I doubt that'll happen.

Screw rope, we're doing this Set It Off style, yeah I agree it wouldn't happen.