Kalos & Eidos & Scope

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In loving memory of Michael Jackson, forever missed and loved!

300px-Jackson_Michael.svg_3Magical Child

Once there was a child and he was free
Deep inside he felt the laughter
The mirth and play of nature’s glee
He was not troubled by thoughts of hereafter
Beauty, love was all he’d see

He knew his power was the power of God
He was so sure, they considered him odd
This power of innocence, of compassion, of light
Threatened the priests and created a fright
In endless ways they sought to dismantle
This mysterious force which they could not handle

300px-Jackson_Michael.svg_3In endless ways they tried to destroy 
His simple trust, his boundless joy
His invincible armor was a shield of bliss
Nothing could touch it, no venom, no hiss
The child remained in a state of grace
He wasn’t confined in time or place
In Technicolor dreams, he frolicked and played
While acting his part, in Eternity he stayed

Soothsayers came and fortunes were told
Some were vehement, others were bold
In denouncing this child, this perplexing creature
With the rest of the world he shared no feature
Is he real? He is so strange
His unpredictable nature knows no range
He puzzles us so, is he straight?
What’s his destiny? What’s his fate?

And while they whispered and conspired
Through endless rumors to get him tired
To kill his wonder, trample him near
Burn his courage, fuel his fear
The child remained just simple, sincere

All he wanted was the mountain high
Color the clouds, paint the sky
Beyond these boundaries, he wanted to fly
In nature’s scheme, never to die

Don’t stop this child, he’s the father of man
Don’t cross his way, he´s part of the plan
I am that child, but so are you
You’ve just forgotten, just lost the clue

Inside your heart sits a Seer
Between his thoughts, he can hear
A melody simple but wondrously clear
The music of life, so precious, so dear

If you could for one moment know
This spark of creation, this exquisite glow
You would come and dance with me
Kindle this fire so we could see
All the children of the Earth
Weave their magic and give new birth
To a world of freedom with no pain
A world of joy, much more sane

Deep inside, you know it’s true
Just find that child, it’s hiding in you

Dancing the dream, Michael Jackson

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Posted in Michael's Passing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Michael Jackson, Captain EO and the business of conquering the world- Part 8b- “This Is It”

By The Last Tear (Lou)

Section 2

Section 2 or Jackson and Sony or perhaps Jackson and Japan! As we know Japan loved and still loves Michael Jackson. During his career, MJ had business partnerships with the Japanese companies. For example, in 1982, MJ did several commercials for Suzuki. 

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Besides his huge fan base in this country that has always supported him, Jackson hoped to launch different projects in Japan; in 1998, when he was thinking about theme parks in different countries, he had an especial plan for Japan. The following paragraph is from the site The Silenced Truth:

July 31, 1998:

Michael announced Tuesday (July 28) that he has created a new company, Michael Jackson Japan Co Ltd. which will build theme parks and sell toys throughout the world [] “The first project of the company will be the creation of a unique concept of large theme parks around the world,” Michael announced. A spokesperson of Michael’s specified about the parks, “Each park will include a course of golf, residences, and hotels. Parks will be opened in Japan and in other countries; we have already examined various sites.”
No dates were given, nor were any more details surrounding the parks.

However, Michael Jackson Japan Co Ltd. will launch a chain of toy stores called “Wonder World – Land Of Toys” in September 1999. “The first store will open in Japan. Michael Jackson Japan will organize operations in order to help the needy ones, particularly the children,” Michael announced at the press conference.
The company cost 5 million Yen ($35,000 US) and employs 11 people. In the next 5 years it hopes to have annual increases up to 200 Billion Yen ($1.4 billion US). The second Wonder World – Land Of Toys Store is expected to open in Guam, an American Pacific Island.

Let us now talk about Sony and repeat rapidly its history from the beginning.

The two founders of Sony were Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka. Morita was a businessman with a degree in physics from the Osaka Imperial University; he was a rich and influential aristocrat how joined the military. Ibuka was an electrical engineer from a modest family. He was civilian but worked for the military. He was a big dreamer who used to surprise people with his big ideas and plans. The two men met in 1944 in the Imperial Navy. It was the end of the Second World War and Japan was demolished and defeated.

When the war was over, Morita and Ibuka, like many other Japanese’s businessmen decided to help to rebuild Japan. They also wanted to do business with their war enemy, the US and to establish their products and their companies in the American soil and the market. But first they needed to catch up with American technology. 

Morita and Ibuka launched their company in 1946 in Tokyo with the name Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Company ltd.  
They were established in the Japanese market only in 1957 after several years of hard work and when they succeeded to produce the first “pocketable” transistor. In 1958, they changed the company’s name to Sony and headed tothe US to become a serious actor in the American business and the market.

In 1960, Sony’s first subsidiary was established in the US. At that time the western world considered the Japanese products as “bad and sloppy” – like the reputation of Chinese products some years ago. Morita, who was aware of this general conception of the Japanese trademark decided to change it by using high quality and durable materials. The company’s expansion in the US and the world began in the mid 60’s.

When we approach a complex subject like Sony, we need to consider the matter from different point of view. The Americans, who worked with Morita to establish Sony in the US, wanted mostly to do a profitable business; many of them wished to have a foot in the Japanese market as well. But not all of them got enough to be satisfied; consequently, a few of them turned against the company.

On the other hand, the belief that Sony was/is “a foreign” business coming from the Far East – the usual East-West conflict – had/has its shadowy existence, just enough to trouble the water. Some would manipulate this belief for their own interest.

We should not forget the conflicts between the companies and the moguls in different businesses. Since Sony is in several branches, the confrontations are unavoidable.

When it comes to the music industry, the economic crises have simplified the equation. Only two large companies are out and the number of bosses has reduced significantly. Nevertheless, their conflicts might be bloodier than ever!     

Please check now some pictures which tell us an important part of the story!

(All the pictures are from John Nathan’s book Sony: The Private Life)

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In his book Sony The Private Life, John Nathan writes the following paragraph (page 74):

[] In 1968, after failing repeatedly to find a new partner for its giant record business inside the industry, Goddard Lieberson of CBS turned to Morita, who quickly saw the merit in a record company and rushed Sony into a joint venture, the first step in the direction that would lead to Hollywood [].

Several years later during which Sony became also Epic’ and Colombia’s partner, the joint venture CBS/Sony Group was sold to Sony:

http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/CorporateInfo/History/SonyHistory/2-22.html

[] In January 1988, the company had acquired CBS Records Inc. and in November of 1989, Sony purchased Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc., one of the largest motion picture companies in the world. These two major acquisitions generated mixed media coverage throughout the United States and Japan.

The acquisition of CBS Records was the result of more than a year of negotiations. At the end of 1986, under instructions from Morita and Ohga, Michael Schulhof who was then vice chairman of SONAM, began discussions with CBS Chairman William S. Paley, CBS President Laurence A. Tisch, and CBS Records President Walter R. Yetnikoff. The negotiations, which covered such issues as the price of the acquisition, continued for almost a year before their conclusion in 1987 [].

JN7

JN6

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Among all the people mentioned above, four are the most important actors when it comes to the matter of CBS and Sony, Morita, Ohga,Schulhof and Yetnikoff.

Morita, who was a traditional Japanese person wished to run his business in a Japanese way and wanted a Japanese successor – as well as Sony’s establishment in Tokyo. For his successor, Morita chose Norio Ohga. Ohga, musician, opera singer and conductor, was graduated from the Berlin University of Arts, also the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. During several years, Sony used him as a consultant until he was hired by Morita. Ohga mostly followed Morita’s wishes and advices.

While Morita was around (he retired more and more from 93), he and Ohga worked both with Yetnikoff. There was also Michael Schulhof who did Yetnikoff’s work after he was fired by Ohga in 1990.

In 1994-5, Ohga became the head of Sony’s board in the US and left the CEO job to another Japanese man, Nobuyuki Idei who began his job in April 1995 and retired in 2002. Idei was an academician with degree in global economics. He had worked mostly at Sony Europe. According to John Nathan (in his book Sony The Private Life) Idei  was known to be a naysayer with a biting tongue. He did not like Morita and Ohga’s way of running the business. He wanted to be a “professional”. He gave an American-European chief and staff to the Sony US and let them run the company independently from Tokyo.

Idei built joint venture with Rupert Murdoch and consulted business matters with Michael Eisner, Michael Ovitz, David Geffen and Barry Diller. One of his successes was Sony Pictures.

Idei did not approve Schulhof. He (but also Norio Ohga) let Schulhof go in 1995. Tomas Mottola was chosen to replace Schulhof later in 1998.

Mottola at Sony:

President, CBS Records/Sony Music (U.S.), 1988-93;

President and chief operating officer, Sony Music Entertainment Inc. (SME), 1993-98;

Chairman and chief executive officer, 1998– 7 January 2003;

In spring 1997, Idei hired Howard Stringer, a television broadcast executive as president of the Sony America. A year later, in 98, Idei made Stringer chairman and CEO of the Sony US.

On February 1, 2012, Sony announced that Stringer would step down as President and CEO, effective April 1, to be replaced by Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President and Chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment.

Now we have learned the history, let us look at the interaction between Jackson and these people.

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We have heard about the warm relationship between Jackson and Morita. The best witness in this subject is Mrs. Yoshiko Morita. Please read Mrs. Morita’s memories of Michael after MJ’s passing (fromhttp://akiomorita.net/en/contents/episode/005.html).

Memories of Michael Jackson

25 June 2009—Michael Jackson Passes Away

The first time my husband Akio saw Michael was at Yokohama Stadium in 1987. We traveled from our house in Tokyo to Yokohama and were going on to our villa in Hakone for the weekend. We were simply enthralled by his music and incredible dancing.

Unlike today, there were no cell phones and the road conditions were bad, so it was very late when we arrived at the villa. On arrival we received a call from the house in Tokyo saying that Michael’s manager had been calling again and again because Michael was anxious to meet with Mr. Morita, so Akio hurriedly called his hotel.

Michael thanked Akio for coming to the show and apologized as he felt his performance was not 100%. His voice has not been at its best and he invited us to come again when he promised an even better performance.
For artists there is no peak—they constantly strive to do better—to a point that might even be called self-indulgent.

Subsequently, Michael was in Japan at the time of my birthday and he came to a party being held at my home, where this picture was taken.
As a vegetarian he avoided meat and fish and as you see we prepared a large plate of Twenty Century (Asian) pears, which were in season. I don’t remember anyone else eating them except him, and that day remains a topic of conversation in our house to this day.

He found some of Akio’s toys, such as a mechanical piano, music box, miniature street organ and a record from the Edison Museum, and spent the evening playing with them like a child [].

As promised we were invited to see him perform again at Tokyo Dome in 1992. The studio always arranged for an official photo to be taken backstage and we have many lovely photos that were later signed by the artist.

The History Tour came to Tokyo Dome in December 1996. Akio had already fallen ill by that time and I don’t remember the details, but I went to the Capitol Tokyu where Michael was staying and rode to the Dome in the same car. Many fans surrounded the car and others followed in taxis. When we stopped at red lights people would pass him paper or handkerchiefs. He would sign them quickly and my job was to hand them back. He gave autographs to so many people between the hotel and the Tokyo Dome, but he never once made a face. He happily signed them, and as I sat next to him helping, I thought what a truly kind person he was.

He genuinely looked forward to meeting Akio. In 1995 he released History and at that time had a special shield made to present to Akio, as well as a signed album.

On the shield it said:
“THIS ALBUM OF MY MUSIC WARMLY DEDICATED TO AKIO MORITA… FOR OUR EVERLASTING FRIENDSHIP. WE ARE LIVING IN THE SAME DREAM FOREVER… WITH ALL MY LOVE”

After Akio fell ill in October 1993, the first message of support we received from abroad was from Michael Jackson.
It was a healing tape that he had made himself on which he had recorded his own voices saying “Mr. Morita…Mr. Morita” many times, as well as phrases such as “You will get better…you will speak again”, and a gentle song that he had chosen.

He also included a handwritten letter that said, “Play 3 times a day right before awaking before sleeping and mid day. Michael Jackson.”

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I played it every morning for 10 minutes before Akio got up and every night when I put him to bed for the six years until he passed away.

In 1998 Michael performed in Honolulu, Hawaii. Pushing Akio in a wheelchair, we went to see the show at Aloha Stadium, and the next day Michael visited us at our villa. I can’t say how delighted Akio was and to this day I cannot forget his kindness at that time.

It is 10 years since Akio passed away. Michael treated Akio as a respected teacher and friend. Many times he asked questions such as “How can I better engage young people?”, “What can I do to be more respected?” and “Who should I trust?”

Michael couldn’t trust anyone and he found comfort in children and animals. Now he can rest in the comfort and peace of heaven, unbothered by others.

Many times he called me to say “I need your help”. This was 10 years ago and I regret that at the time, when Akio’s condition was at its worst, I wasn’t able to respond. I am so sorry to Michael for that. But now I believe he is resting peacefully in a happy place.

7 July 2009 Yoshiko Morita

Please read first some short quotes on Ohga and Jackson. Then some quotes from a LAT article. As we know, in 1991 Sony signed a mega contract with MJ. We have already read about this contract in part 7.

http://articles.latimes.com/1992-05-31/entertainment/ca-1659_1_norio-ohga/2

[] In 1989, Sony paid $3.4 billion for Columbia Pictures, and Ohga authorized hundreds of millions more to recruit and then rapidly retire or buy out a string of colorful executives, including producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber. He also committed another $1 billion to secure the services of superstar Michael Jackson [].

http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/23/business/stalking-the-next-walkman.html?src=pm&pagewanted=1

Since Sony dived into Hollywood in 1989, Mr. Ohga told the gathering, it has seized 20 percent of the American box office, “an all-time high for any one movie company in the past 10 years.” He waxed on about the success of Steven Spielberg’s “Hook” and the critical praise for Barbra Streisand’s “Prince of Tides.” Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” album, boasted Mr. Ohga, a former opera singer who admits that Mr. Jackson’s music was an acquired taste, “has sold over 10 million copies.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/technology-obituaries/8471343/Norio-Ohga.html

His [Ohga’s] intuition that CD sales would outstrip vinyl was proved correct within a few years of the digital format’s introduction in 1982 – the year that he became Sony’s president and chairman. But consumers were not always ready for his other electronic leaps forward. Ohga poured resources into high-definition televisions 20 years ago; only now are they becoming standard.

His boldest move, however, was to transform Sony from a producer of music and video players into a global media brand with the capacity to deliver its own content for these machines. This was effected by hugely expensive acquisitions of a Hollywood studio, Columbia Pictures, and by promotion deals with music stars from Herbert von Karajan to Michael Jackson.

http://www.latimes.com/la-me-jacksontimeline-sony-story.html#page=1

Michael Jackson Agrees to Huge Contract With Sony

ALAN CITRON and CHUCK PHILIPS,Los Angeles Times Staff Writers March 21, 1991

In a thriller of a deal, pop icon Michael Jackson has signed a long-term contract with Sony Corp. that guarantees him an unprecedented share of the profits from his next six albums, his own record label, a role in developing video software products and a shot at movie stardom.

The contract, the biggest ever awarded an entertainer, is expected to return hundreds of millions of dollars to Jackson. It also cements Sony’s relationship with its biggest star, who reportedly had threatened to move to another label in a contract dispute last year.

“We’re married to him now,” Sony Software President Michael P. Schulhof said Wednesday [] []

“If he continues to sell records like he has in the past, he will earn more money than any other person in the history of the record business,” said one person familiar with the deal []

“A great entertainer stays ahead of the public tastes and helps shape them,” Schulhof said. “I am confident that, no matter what his age . . . he will stay ahead of the public.” []

Jackson’s much-rumored deal is the result of months of difficult negotiations between Sony executives and Jackson’s phalanx of managers and lawyers. People close to the talks said Jackson insisted on striking a bargain that bridged records, movies and video software []

The Sony deal guarantees him a presence in practically every other facet of entertainment. It is the first significant example of the cross-pollination that was supposed to result from a spate of recent media company mergers–including Sony’s deals for CBS and Columbia Pictures, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.’s $6.6-billion purchase of MCA Inc. and the mega-merger that created Time Warner Inc.[]

The agreement gives Jackson full authority to sign acts to the label. Sony executives predicted that “new and established artists” would become part of Nation Records. []

Jackson is not the first star to get his own record label. Frank Sinatra started Reprise before selling it to Warner Bros. The Beatles had Apple Records, and more recently labels have been established by such performers as Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and M.C. Hammer. []

In 1995, Michael Jackson merged his ATV catalog with Sony. Sony/ATV was born and gave MJ power to run businesses alongside Sony as a partner. Rarely, I quote from Wikipedia; since Sony/ATV page is well written, I have chosen some paragraphs just to refresh our memory:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony/ATV_Music_Publishing

In December 1995, Michael Jackson agreed to merge ATV Music Publishing with Sony Music Publishing, a division of Sony Corporation, to form Sony/ATV Music Publishing

The Japanese corporation, since it wanted to diversify in the media, offered Jackson $90 million for a 50% stake in the ATV catalogue via a merger with Sony Music. Through the agreement, Jackson would become one of the most important shareholders in Sony. Jackson gladly accepted; he had essentially acquired half ownership of the Beatles’ songs for a large profit. Jackson’s own songs were not included in the deal.

Sony and ATV having merged, the new company was named Sony/ATV Music Publishing and became the second largest music publisher in the world Michael P. Schulhof, President and CEO of Sony Corporation of America, 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.”He added that Jackson recognizes Sony’s “leadership in developing and realizing new technologies that serve to expand the creative horizon of artists such as himself”.

Administrative expertise was provided by Sony, who installed Paul Russell as chairman. Jackson was a company director and attended board meetings regularly. 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 decision, they would not be implemented.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing continued to acquire song catalogues in the 21st century. In November 2001, the company signed country singer Tony Martin to an exclusive songwriting and co-publishing deal. Through the deal, they acquired Martin’s Baby Mae Music catalog of 600 songs [].

In July 2002, Sony/ATV Music Publishing bought veteran country music publisher Acuff-Rose for $157 million. The venture included music publishing rights to 55,000 country music songs [].

 Sony/ATV revived Hickory Records as the in-house record labelimprint in 2007, with distribution handled by Sony Music’s RED Distribution. Sony/ATV also owns the masters of Dial Records, Four Star Records and Challenge Records [].

Digital sheet music provider Musicnotes.com announced in June 2006 that it had signed a long-term distribution agreement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Musicnotes.com would produce and sell digital sheet music and guitartablature for songs from Sony/ATV’s extensive catalog [].

Another company acquisition was made in 2007, when Sony/ATV purchased Famous Music, a music publishing business with song catalogue of more than 125,000 songs including “Moon River” and “Footloose” [] With this acquisition, Sony/ATV acquired the rights to publish music from films released by Viacom’s Paramount Pictures subsidiary, which had founded Famous Music in 1928 to publish music from its films. This also included films released by DreamWorks, which Viacom acquired in 2006.

In November 2011, Citigroup announced a tentative deal to sell EMI, with the recorded music arm going to Vivendi’s Universal Music Group for $1.9 billion and the publishing business going to a Sony/ATV-led consortium for around $2.2 billion. Other members of the Sony consortium include Blackstone and Abu Dhabi-owned investment fund Mubadala.

In March 2012, concessions were offered to the European Union to help win approval of the consortium’s purchase. The deal won European Union approval on April 19, 2012. As part of the deal, Sony/EMI divested the publishing rights for Famous Music UK and Virgin Music. These catalogues were acquired by BMG Rights Management in December 2012 for $150 million.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing is now the largest music publishing company in the world with over 2 million songs under management.

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(Pic. from the book The True Story of The Beatles Song Publishing Empire written by Brian Southall and Rupert Perry)

After Schulhof’s departure from Sony, the reign of Thomas Mottola begun! As we saw above, he was in charge between 98 and 2003 and could act independently. In his protest actions in 2002, Jackson described Mottola as devilish and racist who had sabotaged the star, especially his album Invincible.

It is known that Nobuyuki Idei liked very much Jackson – from the J5 era and beyond – and wished keep MJ at Sony. Apparently, Idei had planned to design a video game based on Invincible but the fight between Mottola and Jackson put an end to the idea. Idei was not pleased.

There were mixed reactions to Jackson’s public protests against Mottola and Sony in 2002. Some people were surprised by MJ’s speeches and actions; some did not approve it. Mottola’s sabotage was hidden from the public eyes and perhaps even from Jackson himself. It must have affected Jackson gradually until the day the star realized what was going on. Since MJ exposed Mottola’s acts suddenly and without all the details, some people could not follow. When all the details will be known, the general public will understand why MJ called Mottola devilish!

Actually, Jackson’s protest actions in 02 must be seen as part of the artists’ protest actions which taken place in 2001-03 in the US. We have discussed this matter in the part 6 where we reviewed the excellent book – Unfree Masters, Recording Artists and the Politics of Work, Duke University Press, 2013 – written by Matt Dahl.

From the birth of the entertainment and the music industry, the chief executives of the big companies, the artists’ managers (especially if they are chosen from the companies) and other smaller people round the business, have built walls around the artists to separate them from each other; the competition and sometimes rivalry and jealousy have also divided the artists in the benefit of the big companies.

For the first time in 2001-03, almost the whole community of the recording artists was in uproar against all the recording companies. Like any other working categories, they acted together and fought for their cause. They had their speakers and lawyers; they sued the recording companies and succeeded to have hearings and trial. With the help of Senator Kevin Murray, there were about to change the law in the favor of the artists and entertainers.

Unfortunately, as Matt Dahl has explained in his book, the artists’ speakers could not explain and defend their demands in a convincing way. They lost their case.

Usually, the media do not talk about this social and political event because the artists’ uproar in 01-03 did not please the moguls of the industry.

However when it comes to Michael Jackson, the tabloids, the mainstream media and Jackson haters use to disconnect MJ’s protest in 2002 from its historical context and describe it as a “weird” act. Some, who had written about Jackson’s association with other artists and their uproar, have added that MJ’s move was “a selfish act”!

On the other hand, Sony haters – some of them are probably the eyes and ears of other companies – also have used Jackson’s protest against Mottola and Sony in 2002, to question Sony in general. The truth is that the partnership between Jackson and Sony was most of the time in MJ’s advantage except the years that Mottola was in charge, meaning from late 1998 to January 2003. As long as Morita, Ohga and Shulhof were around and ran the company, Michael got good deals and support. Even Idei who pushed Sony to work with different business partners, did not like Mottola’s actions.

When it comes to the accusations and the allegations against Jackson, it is clear that people in charge at Sony did not believe it. A wheelchair confined Morita and his wife ran in 1998 to Jackson’s concert to show their support while Epcot and Disney world banished MJ from its ground and projects (see part 8a)!

To refresh our memory:

http://articles.latimes.com/2002/dec/03/business/fi-music3

Music Labels Urged to Revise Royalties

A state Senate panel criticizes record firms’ accounting and threatens to take action. December 03, 2002|Chuck Philips | Times Staff Writer

The California Senate Select Committee on the Entertainment Industry issued a report Monday calling on record labels to reform accounting practices or face legislative penalties in the future.

The report was released by Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Culver City), the chairman of the committee. It follows a trio of hearings in Sacramento attended by more than a dozen music stars, including Courtney Love and Don Henley, who complained about being cheated by their record labels.

“I urge the record companies to consider … changes on their own to avoid … legislative action,” Murray says in the report.

During the hearings, representatives from the nation’s five largest record corporations — Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music Group, Bertelsmann’s Bertelsmann Music Group, Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment, AOL Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Music Group and EMI Group — denied to legislators that they gouge artists of earnings. Last month, however, BMG and Universal announced plans to revise their royalty accounting practices.

In the report, Murray chastises labels for forcing artists to reimburse them for the cost of recording albums and videos. He also criticizes record companies for compelling artists to pay back costs associated with marketing and independent radio promotion.

Above all, though, the report focuses on the problems surrounding accounting for artist royalties. Murray says that artists believe they are forced to sign agreements that favor the record company, and that acts are not even paid the royalties due under these contracts.

“In our legislative hearings, it was clear that artists feel they are being systematically cheated out of their royalties,” Murray says in the report. “The hearing showed that at the very least there is purposeful neglect on the part of the record company accounting departments.”

During the hearings, auditors said firms often capitalize on contracts that are loaded with royalty policies designed to override provisions benefiting artists. And because few artists can afford to audit their labels, the report says, these practices often result in windfalls for the record companies.

Murray also chides the labels for lacing contracts with clauses that essentially preclude any penalty for the underpayment of royalties — even if caught.

“Each recording contract contains a clause that the record company, no matter how egregious their behavior, will never be liable for more than the amount of royalties due,” the report says. Such clauses protect companies and entice labels to hide money from artists.

The report suggests two potential solutions. One is to introduce legislation defining the practice of paying royalties to an artist as a fiduciary duty. The second is to write a law designating severe penalties to those companies that engage in a pattern of underpayment.

“Government is usually loath to actually dictate the terms of contracts between private parties,” the report says, “but when the relative leverage of the parties significantly favors one party, government often steps in to protect the party with the least leverage.”

The matter of Mottola and Jackson has been discussed widely among Jackson’s fans. Recently, Mottola has published a book and he has mentioned MJ. A nasty piece of writing which shows how he treated the star!

To finish the subject of “Mottola” for now, I have chosen a New York magazine article which is Sony-phobe and avoids Jackson except once and in a mean context but it gives us some information about Mottola and the business. Please read a few paragraphs:

http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/features/n_8387/

Tommy Mottola Faces The Music

[]On January 9, Sony had faxed around a press release: The chairman and chief executive of Sony Music, Tommy Mottola (or Thomas D. Mottola, as he preferred to be known in the newspapers) would be leaving to launch a new venture. He’d been thinking about making a change for some time, it said, and while it’s true he had a couple years to go on his contract, Sony had suddenly, graciously agreed to spring him []

But the company’s numbers were down—it lost $132 million in the first six months of its current fiscal year—and industry-wide, album sales have dipped 11 percent from 2001. The music business was being hijacked by Internet file traders, and Mottola was losing sleep over Sony’s ebbing market share.

“Tommy wouldn’t kiss Stringer’s ass,” says one business associate of Mottola’s.

“I think Tommy is one of those guys who hated having anybody as his boss,” says one executive who knows them both. “Tommy didn’t want anybody messing with him.” Finally, say those who know Stringer, he found it hard to stomach a diet of constant disrespect. “Howard was having to read about developments on the music side in the newspaper,” says a source close to Sony. “That was embarrassing.”

When Mottola left Sony, Stringer was telling people that his departing squad leader’s personal overhead, including travel and expenses, was $10 million a year. Of his five full-time assistants, three were making $180,000 a year. Employees got expensive gifts for Christmas, like $550 Gucci bags.

Mottola also had a Monopoly-board hunger for real estate. A Balinese-style villa Mottola built in Miami for himself and his third wife, Thalia, a 31-year-old Mexican singer and soap-opera fixture, was the latest in a succession of sprawling homes he renovated or built for himself. The $4 million property on Star Island, a private enclave with a guarded gate, has indoor and outdoor pools, horses, and a library. Mottola’s luxe townhouse on the Upper East Side was purchased for $13.3 million from David Geffen in 1999 and was tricked out with such niceties as a perfume refrigerator for his wife. “Tommy has an addiction to buying lavish, enormous places, overpaying for them, putting millions and millions of dollars into them, most often with good taste, showing off with them,” says a friend, “and then when they’re finished, he suddenly realizes they’re too big or too expensive.”

Indeed, his townhouse went on the block in November for a blistering $27 million. He has already lined up its successor, a more modest $9.25 million, 5,000-square-foot condo in an unspectacular building whose redeeming feature seems to be its great views.

Mottola also has a customized bulletproof car with a driver on standby; he said he needed it in case there was another terrorist attack. And he usually travels with a full phalanx of bodyguards. Why the obsession with security? 

“The Tommy clique really loved power,” says one former employee. “They had this whole thing that they were untouchable.” 

On the downside, one executive who’s known Howard Stringer for years says Stringer told him Mottola ran his team like a little Mafia family. And loyalty to the dysfunctional famigliawas prized. Another insider remembers sitting with Stringer last year in the Sony Club dining room when Michele Anthony walked past the table. “Tommy will know about this lunch in fifteen seconds,” Stringer said under his breath. The senior management team were like brothers and sisters, squabbling with each other over credit, spying on each other, knifing those who might presume to trespass on their turf.

If there was an unflattering leak to the gossip columns, Mottola himself would browbeat the suspects. People in the company believed he was reviewing phone records. He would sometimes hire detectives to check up on artists who were litigious with the company—most famously Michael Jackson.

“When Tommy has it in for somebody he can be unbelievably petty. He’ll call maître d’s to make sure people aren’t given tables,” says an acquaintance. Mottola’s tactics were often brass-knuckle, but those who’ve known him for many years describe him as a gangster groupie who purposefully adopted the shiny-suited look of a Mafia lieutenant. “I think he created a persona that came back to haunt him when he needed to appear presidential,” says a source close to Sony.

After taking over as head of Warner Music in 1995, Michael Fuchs remembers being invited to lunch at Mottola’s sprawling house in Bedford. Fuchs asked Mottola who was the biggest influence on the house. “But I think he misheard the question,” says Fuchs. “ ‘The biggest influence on my life, everything,’ he said, ‘was Morris Levy.’ Morris Levy was the godfather of the music business!”

Morris Levy was a nightclub impresario and record-label founder with ties to the Genovese crime family who eventually wound up in prison for conspiracy to commit extortion. Mottola had spent some time with Levy in the seventies when they both had farms in Columbia County. A frequent house guest at Levy’s was Father Louis Gigante, a priest and the brother of the stubble-cheeked, bathrobe-wearing mobster Vinny “Chin” Gigante. Mottola says he has optioned Father Gigante’s life story for a film [].

In 2003-06 Michael Jackson faced a set-up trial and after being vindicated, he left the country. Following Mottola’s departure from Sony, the stormy relationship between Sony and Jackson cooled down. The Sony/ATV was growing (see above), The Ultimate Collection (2004) and Thriller 25 (2008) were launched.

▒░▓   ▒░▓  ▒░▓

After Jackson’s untimely death, his estate was untidy; his contesters were almost sure that his assets would be sooner or later up for sale. Five years later, most of the debts are paid; the assets are safe and many lawsuits are solved in MJ’s favor. After the album Xscape, Michael Jackson’s name is again on top of the world. It seems that we are at the end of a stage and that Jackson has won the battle!

This blog is the last part of MJ-EO study. What comes next? Only the future will tell! Or if we do as Einstein used to do: I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.

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Michael Jackson, Captain EO and the business of conquering the world- Part 8a- “This Is It”

By The Last Tear (Lou)

It seems you don’t know we reached the heightened mountain
Every time I seem to disappear
And together, we will fly, we’ll dance up in the heaven
I can really feel it when you’re near

Loving You, Michael Jackson

Section 1

In part 7- “Say, say, say”, we discussed how Michael Jackson found himself trapped in several conflicts from mid 80’s to the beginning of the 90’s. Some of the conflicts had nothing to do with Jackson himself but some had.

If you think that these conflicts and the way Jackson handled them did not impact what happened later, you are utterly mistaken. The accusations made against Jackson in 93 and 03-05 were only a way to destroy the good reputation of the star and to ruin his capacity to do business which consequently would bankrupt him and forced him to sell his assets.

Actually, it was one of Jackson’s enemies who revealed this plan for the first time. Do you remember the phone calls between Evan Chandler and David Schwartz? You find the transcripts of these phone calls on MJTruthnow.com site.

Please review a few quotes from the phone calls to refresh your memory:

[] [] MR. CHANDLER: (Simultaneous, inaudible) Michael Jackson — Michael Jackson’s career, Dave. This man is gonna be humiliated beyond belief.You’ll not believe it. He will not believe what’s going to happen to him. []

 MR. CHANDLER: Beyond his worst nightmares. [tape irregularity] not sell one more record. []

MR. CHANDLER: Then why don’t you just back me up right now and let’s get rid of Michael Jackson. []

MR. CHANDLER: — that everybody’s going to be destroyed in the process. The facts themselves are gonna — once this thing starts rolling – []

MR. CHANDLER: — the facts themselves are gonna overwhelm. It’s gonna be bigger than all of us put together, and the whole thing’s just gonna crash down on everybody and destroy everybody in its sight. That’s [tape irregularity] humiliating, believe me. []

MR. CHANDLER: — they’re automatically gonna be destroyed and I’m gonna get what I want. That’s a given [tape irregularity], so – []

MR. CHANDLER: There are other people involved that are waiting for my phone call that are intentionally going to be in certain positions – []

MR. CHANDLER: I mean the time set out. Everything is going according to a certain plan that isn’t just mine. There’s other people involved – [] [] [].

After the Chandlers’ case, Michael Jackson understood his vulnerability. The star who had hoped to live an ordinary life with ordinary people, realized how much that was impossible. He changed his day to day routines and isolated himself from people. Only a few had access to him. He got married with another celebrity and hoped be able to build his family.

Following his lawyers and advisers’ suggestion, Jackson settled with the Chandlers. After several months of silence, MJ came back (1995) stronger than before. Through his songs, his philanthropic activities and his business plans, he showed his enemies that he would not give in and that he would go his own way and fight back if necessary.

We can see the negative effect of the 93 case – when Jackson disappeared from the music world in 1994 and then came back in 95 – through these charts. To see the other years, please check the Billboard link:

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/268281/michael-jackson-king-of-billboards-pop-charts

Top 10 Billboard 200 albums:

BB2

Top 10 Billboard hot 100 singles:

BB3

Since the Chandlers’ case could not destroy entirely Jackson, other plans had to be set up. The previous gang of the tabloid vultures, Diane Dimond, Victor Gutierrez, Paul Barresi followed by Maureen Orth and others had to conspire and spread rumors of “new evidence”, “video”, “stories” and “other victims” to keep the molestation accusations alive. They called the settlement between the Chandlers and Jackson as a “proof of guilt” and trashed the star. Later Martin Bashir came along to finish the job.

Having heard that one or two moguls were after Jackson, the tabloid leeches were ready to bash MJ in every possible way to show their allegiance and obedience to the powerful men; after have done their dirty job, their reward was fame and money of course. It is crucial to understand how these tabloids operate. They only need to create DOUBTS. When the reader or the listener or the viewer begins to doubt, their job is done.

As we said before, since the 93 case did not destroy Jackson, another made-up case was needed to ruin him for good. The 03-05 case caused a deeper and greater damage to the star’s reputation and businesses but could not end him! As we know two years later in 2007, he returned and was ready to fight back.

Again we can see the negative effect of the accusations and the made-up trial on Jackson’s businesses by looking for example to the charts published by nielsen.com. The charts are based on the downloaded songs and that could have happened at any time; the time of the download is not interesting for us but the decade is:

http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/newswire/2009/jackson-journey-among-top-music-downloads-by-decade.html

Jackson dominated the 70’s and the 80’s. He was strong in the 90’s but disappeared in the 2000’s:

Top Downloaded Songs By Decade

 

 

nielsen 1

nielsen 2

nielsen 3

Let us now look closer to some business cases.

After the 93 allegations, Walt Disney World and Epcot Center which were Jackson’s business partners pulled out. Disney denied that their move was because of the 93 accusations but the timing is suspicious and Disney’s “explanation” silly:

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-02-26/business/9402260014_1_captain-eo-epcot-center-dave-herbst

So long, Michael: Pop star Michael Jackson’s relationship…

February 26, 1994

So long, Michael: Pop star Michael Jackson’s relationship with Walt Disney World and Epcot Center is coming to an end, a Disney spokesman said. Jackson’s 3-D movie, “Captain Eo,” one of the most popular attractions at Epcot Center since 1986, will be pulled in the autumn and replaced by a new show titled “Honey I Shrunk the Theater.” Disney’s move came in the wake of allegations that Jackson sexually molested a 14-year-old boy. Dave Herbst, a Disney spokesman, said there was “no relationship whatsoever” between the decision to replace Jackson’s movie and the allegations.

However, after Jackson’s passing, suddenly, the Disney parks brought “Captain EO” back and showed it months after months without any explanation. In an article we read how Epcot and Disney had treated Jackson after the 93 case:

http://www.examiner.com/article/paying-tribute-to-michael-jackson-will-disney-resurrect-captain-eo

Paying tribute to Michael Jackson: Will Disney resurrects Captain EO?

June 26, 2009

By: Peggy Macdonald-Demosthenous

… Several years before Jackson faced felony child molestation charges, he enjoyed a lucrative partnership with Disney. Jackson teamed with George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, and Angelica Huston to create the 3-D short “Captain EO,” which debuted at Epcot’s Imagination pavilion in Future World and at Disneyland California in 1986. The film ran at Epcot until 1994, and also ran through the late 1990s at Disneyland California, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland.

Epcot stopped showing Captain EO shortly after the first accusations of child abuse were made against Jackson in 1993. Disney insiders claim that Jackson, who had made regular trips to Disney World, was only permitted to stay at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin hotels after the allegations of child abuse surfaced. The Swan and Dolphin hotels are located on Disney property but are managed by separate corporations: Westin Hotels manages the Swan and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts manages the Dolphin.

Not only did Disney World restrict Jackson’s access to its resort hotels and close down Captain EO at Epcot in Disney World (years before shutting it down at the other Disney parks), it also decided against partnering with Jackson on future projects. Although Jackson’s career had started to decline by the early 1990s, his international fame remained intact [] [].

Indeed, if the information given in this article is true, Epcot and Disney have to explain their acts. Why did they bring “Captain EO” back after MJ’s death, if they believed that he was “guilty”? And if they did/do not believe him “guilty” why did they pull in the film and banished him from their ground and projects? Epcot and Disney owe Michael Jackson a big apology; as far as we know, they have not yet uttered any regret.

Now, let us review Jackson businesses with Pepsi. All the data are from these pages:

http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/news/pepsi-and-michael-jackson-a-history-in-ads/4003885.article

http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/news/pepsi-readies-michael-jackson-tv-spot/4003855.article

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/489124/pepsi-launches-new-michael-jackson-campaign

1983: New Generation

In November 1983, one year after ‘Thriller’ was released, Michael Jackson (and his brothers) struck a $5m (£3.1m) partnership with Pepsi to become the first pop stars to front campaigns for the brand. Jackson moonwalked and boogied in Pepsi’s ‘The New Generation’ TV spot, which featured a reworking of the track Billie Jean.

1984: Convention

On 27 January 1984 the pop star’s hair caught fire during a freak accident on the set of the ‘Convention’ commercial. Jackson was treated for second and third degree burns and the advert has gone on to become synonymous with the incident. The spot was part of Pepsi’s ‘New Generation’ campaign and continued to use the reworked Billie Jean track.

1988: Chase

Pepsi launched a four part campaign which saw Jackson chased down by the paparazzi and fans. The adverts differed from previous editions by ramping up the Pepsi references throughout. It was released during the same year as Jackson’s ‘Moonwalker’ movie and had several homages to the film. The advert was soundtracked to Bad and had Jackson singing about the Pepsi brand.

1991: Dreams

The advert came out in the same year as Jackson’s fourth studio album Dangerous. The advert featured various visual elements taken from his Dangerous album cover. The advert is shot like music video and was heralded at the time for being one of the most elaborates ever filmed.

1993: I’ll be there

The advert starts with a mix of old stock footage of the Jackson family. Michael then hears his younger self singing and performs a duet with himself to the Jackson 5 song ‘I’ll be there’. The commercial was not shown in the United States and was the last Pepsi commercial starring Jackson.

2012: the 25th anniversary of the ‘Bad’ album and more

Following an agreement with Mr. Jackson’s estate, the beverage and snack giant said Thursday that it will roll out a billion Pepsi cans with a silhouette of Jackson as part of its newly launched “Live For Now” global marketing campaign.

Pepsi is to launch a TV spot starring Michael Jackson to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the pop artist’s ‘Bad’ album as part of it’s global music-themed campaign ‘Live for Now’.

MK-BU082_PEPSI__DV_20120503184009

We do not know what PepsiCo thought about the 93 accusations and Jackson. But it seems that after 93 case, Pepsi did not collaborate with MJ. Roger Enrico, one of the Pepsi’s top executives worked closely with Michael and made all the commercial deals. Enrico left PepsiCo in 2004 to work as the CEO of DreamWorks. In 2012, he resigned from DreamWorks:

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/dreamworks-animation-chairman-roger-enrico-resigns-article-1.1192160

DreamWorks Animation chairman Roger Enrico resigns 

Move comes after studio inked five-year distribution deal with News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox in August

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Thursday, October 25, 2012, 2:36 PM

GLENDALE, Calif. — DreamWorks Animation SKG says Chairman Roger Enrico has resigned effective immediately.

The movie studio is replacing Enrico, a former CEO of PepsiCo Inc. who had served as chairman since DreamWorks went public in 2004, with board member Mellody Hobson.

Dreamworks did not give a reason for Enrico’s resignation in its release Thursday.

The company makes a few big-budget animated movies every year, including “Kung Fu Panda” and “Madagascar,” along with some TV specials. It signed a five-year distribution deal with News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox in August [].

One wonders if being close to the trio Spielberg-Katzenberg-Geffen who were in conflict with Michael Jackson played a role in Enrico’ and Pepsi’s withdrawal from doing business with the star. It appears that it did not work between Enrico and SKG after all. Hopefully things will become clearer in the future!

After Jackson’s untimely passing, PepsiCo corrected its mistake and restored Jackson (his Estate) as its partner.

The next chapter is a big one, Sony and Jackson or even Japan and Jackson! Since it is a heavy subject, we will study it in section 2 – part 8b which will come up in a few days. Let us now review other businesses.

Fan pages on the Internet give us some information which are not complete but still show how ambitious Michael Jackson, the businessman, was. It shows how he thought and reasoned. It is also a demonstration on how hard Jackson fought to establish himself in the business world, not only in the music business; and how his enemies sabotaged him by using the allegations when they could.

Sources: http://www.thesilencedtruth.com/ and http://mjjtimeline.blogspot.se/

1996                                                                       

On February 16, 1996, Michael Jackson performs “Earth Song” at the Brit Awards. It is Jackson’s first TV performance in England in over 20 years. The performance is interrupted when Pulp singer, Jarvis Cocker storms the stage in protest, but is soon carried off by security and later questioned by police. Jackson later expressed his discontent over the incident; however, the controversy created by the performance has led to another rise in HIStory’s sales, putting the album back in the top 10 in Europe [].

During the HIStory Tour in Warsaw, Poland, on September 20, 1996, Jackson, who had the big dream to build amusement parks the world over, is approached by a local businessman, Jacques Tourel, director of the World Trade Center in Warsaw, to consider Poland as one of the possible places to build amusement parks [].

In 1996, a new drink, “Mystery: fresh-cool-magic”, coinciding with his worldwide HIStory Tour, hit the market. The official Michael Jackson product is described as a “healthy and vitalizing isotonic mineral drink” [] [].

1997

The second leg of Jackson’s HIStory World Tour begins in Bremen, Germany on May 31, 1997and concludes on October 15 in South Africa. Jackson sells his millionth concert ticket at the Wembley Stadium and sells out four concerts in a row there. The entertainer did not tour North America, but the tour was so successful that he had played 82 concerts to 4,5 million admirers in 35 countries on 5 continents. The estimated grosses totaled more than 160 million dollars and it was the biggest concert tour of its time [].

On November 18, 1997, Michael Jackson quietly arrives in Seoul, South Korea to discuss investment in troubled underwear maker, Ssangbangwool Ltd’s Ski Resort. “Michael Jackson has come to Korea to discuss the possibility of investing in Muju Resort,” says a company spokesman. The spokesman adds that Ssangbangwool has planned to expand the resort complex to include a theme park, but says the plans had been put on hold when the company faced financial troubles.

The Kingdom Entertainment was an important event in 1996-97. Jackson knew several celebrities and powerful men and women; among them the Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. The Prince and Jackson met each other in 1995. The Prince wished to invest in the US. Jackson became his partner and both launched their company.

It was indeed a good partnership which would allow Jackson to strengthen his band with the American business world and to extend it. Unfortunately, it did not work out. It appears that Jackson’s opponents succeeded to sabotage the collaboration between the two business partners. They probably insinuated to the Prince that collaboration with the star would not be well received because of the rumors. Guess who became the Prince’s partner after that? Tom Barrack!   When you say Tom Barrack then you need to think about people like Tohme and even Jermaine Jackson. You find several articles about the Prince and Barack for example on this page.

Please read some quotes about theKingdom Entertainment (source mentioned above):

Kingdom Entertainment- 1997

In 1997 the king of pop, Michael Jackson, launched a 50/50 joint venture with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud to promote entertainment based on family values.
Kingdom Entertainment, the name of the new venture, was to develop a variety of entertainment projects such as movies, books, hotels, recordings, licensing, merchandising and theme parks. Under the new entertainment company and serving as producer, Jackson for MJJ Records (Michael Joseph Jackson) will oversee new artists, groups, music, and develop new projects.
The Jackson-Al-Waleed company also acquired 55% ownership of Landmark Entertainment Group, famous for design projects as the forum shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and the Terminator II-3d attraction at Universal Studio in Orlando Florida.

“Michael Jackson and I shared the same interests and the same essential values,” the Prince said about Jackson, whom he met 18 months ago in Paris and says also shares his “need to preserve family values.”
The megastar, who designed the project’s logo of a jeweled Excalibur style sword in a rock, said he wanted to be “actively involved in all facets of the global multimedia explosion.”
Kingdom Entertainment’s first project will be to sponsor Jackson’s HIStory world tour.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,987454-1,00.html

MICHAEL JACKSON’S ADVENTURES IN THE ARABIAN MAGIC KINGDOM

By Scott MacLeodMonday, Dec. 01, 1997

Michael Jackson’s image was in tatters. His album sales were flagging. And the tabloids were running out of space to print Jackson stories, ranging from his alleged child molestation to his bizarre marriage to–and divorce from–Lisa Marie Presley. To whom did the troubled singer turn to restart his faltering career? Desert royalty from Saudi Arabia, one of the most culturally isolated nations on earth, where even Beethoven concerts, much less Michael Jackson spectacles, are banned by the government.

Jackson and the prince may be one of the strangest pairings in show business, but Alwaleed seems to be making it work [] [].

The prince Alwaleed BinTalal and Jackson had a press conference (Paris, March 19, 1996) to announce their business collaboration:

http://anthony-king.com/blog/michael-jackson-the-history-tour-and-hrh-prince-alwaleed/

[]The Prince has recently renovated and reopened the world famous Savoy Hotel in London, is the private owner of the world’s biggest passenger plane the Airbus A380 and is generally one cool Prince! Kingdom entertainment also produced with Michael his short film “Ghosts”. Before we get on to the History world tour and the Princes involvement let’s take a look at a press conference with Prince Alwaleed and the King of pop Michael Jackson announcing a joint venture and business empire in 1997:

Here is a transcript of Michael’s speech:

“I would like to welcome all the journalists and press who are covering this historic press conference. For reasons I will soon share with you, Kingdom Entertainment represents a long awaiting dream come true.
My earliest inspiration to be actively involved in all facets of the global multi-media explosion was derived from decades of travelling throughout the world.

During these continuous concert tours, I was made privy to the heartbeats of millions of fans who willingly shared with me their hopes, loves, fears and most importantly, their desire for a better life. It was during this time that I first began to appreciate that the proper approach to global family entertainment could go a long way in addressing these concerns.

Until recently, my hectic schedule and outstanding professional commitments left me little chance to develop specific strategies for the development of a total integrated global entertainment complex. All that began to change 18 months ago when I first met my friend and partner in the Kingdom Entertainment, HRH Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal. In short order it was clear we shared the same goals and approaches on how to make global entertainment a reality.

Through Kingdom Entertainment the Prince and myself will combine human and financial resources to be successful in all phases of the multi-media revolution. As examples, we intend to be active in theme parks and hotels, feature films, animation, recordings, publishing, tours, children’s books, educational entertainment, character licensing and merchandising.

In closing, to all those millions who have encouraged me to get involved with global entertainment based on family values I can proudly say: Because of Kingdom Entertainment and my partner Prince Al Waleed, “You Are Not Alone”. “

Despite all the effort, the Prince pushed by the tabloids and other Jackson haters, had to defend himself:

“I cannot base my relationship on innuendo. I believe that all the fuss around him has no basis. I believe that he is still an underdeveloped asset. There is no other artist who can go to some countries and have the whole place come to a standstill.” -HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal

1998

It was an intense year with legal fights mostly against the tabloids. On April 9, 1998:

Michael has won the lawsuit that he filed against free lance journalist Victor Gutierrez, who claimed on Hard Copy that he had video tape of Michael Jackson molesting young boys. The lawsuit was filed against Gutierrez by Michael in 1995 for $100 million. Earlier today the Los Angeles jury ordered Gutierrez to pay $2.7 million to Michael Jackson. Michael’s lawyer Zia Modabber said to the reporters outside the courthouse, “Jurors told us they not only wanted to compensate Mr. Jackson and punish Victor Gutierrez, but to send a message that they are tired of tabloids lying about celebrities for money.”

And on May 11, 1998:

The lawsuit filed by Evan Chandler against Michael Jackson and codefendants ABC and Diane Sawyer has been held in the Court of Appeals where Evan Chandler is appealing earlier decisions in the case. The trial date that was set for June 1998 is no longer valid and there is no trial date scheduled. Thank you to MJIFC for this information.

In July, 1998:

Michael Jackson and business partner, Don Barden, announce plans for the creation of a billion-dollar entertainment complex, ‘The Majestic Kingdom’, in Detroit, Michigan, the city that launched his superstardom. The project includes a casino, a family-theme park, an aquarium and a hotel designed by Jackson himself and named “The Mansion In The Sky”.

The singer, who had been an anonymous partner in these kinds of ventures for years, says: “My mission is to just push the envelope of technology beyond its limitation and create some of the most wonderful things as humanly possible”. He also speaks to fans on microphone at Chene Park, visits Detroit’s Children’s Hospital and a downtown church.

Or these quotes:

July 4, 1998:

Michael Jackson will be visiting Detroit with his new business partner Dan Barden next Monday (July, 6). Michael is scheduled to appear at a video concert a Chene Park (HIStory tour footage will be shown), as well as visit the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, attend a benefit at the Charles Wright Museum of African American History, and attend business meetings with Barden.

Barden has said previously of him and Michael’s business partnership, “Whether it’s selling trains, building dams, or bridges, or highways, or hotels, or casinos, we’re going to be a diversified company worldwide. This is a phenomenal, historic partnership. There’s no reason we can’t be the largest African American company in the world in two years! The world is our playpen. Opportunities have been presented to us in South Korea, Vietnam, South Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, Las Vegas, and China. People are competing for our attention and our resources’.
Michael will fly into the Metro Airport on Monday, July 6, at 4:00pm. Beginning at 9am Tuesday, tickets will go on sale for the video concert through the local radio stations and the park’s ticket office. The concert will start at 5pm in Chene Park, Detroit. Please confirm these times with local media.

August 5, 1998:

While in Detroit to support his friend and business partner Dan Barden during the vote, Michael told a crowd outside a union hall to vote in favor of Barden’s proposal. Michael was quoted a saying, “We know that the person who owns the company makes the rules. When you own the business and make the rules, you can provide more than jobs. You can create a legacy like Henry Ford. So vote yes to ensure the economic development for blacks in Detroit and a legacy throughout the world.”

Unfortunately, Jackson and Barden’s plan did not work; they might have been able to save the city of Detroit and its large Black community which lived mostly in poverty.

During the years 2003-05 the tabloids and the media trashed Jackson and tore down his life. The big question was if he would sell his catalogs! Please read two “articles” to see the media’s sabotage and the joy of the Jackson’s enemies.

Please notice how they use (as usual) clichés to tag MJ. In the second tabloid article, we read that the publishing industry wanted to get into the music industry by buying music publishing rights; Jackson was their best target. As we know, MJ’s lawyers especially John Branca advised him to keep his assets.

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/02/13/1076548198709.html?from=storyrhs

Jack(son) going broke

February 13, 2004

Troubled pop star Michael Jackson is reportedly teetering on the brink of personal insolvency, but finding it hard to get new loans.

Citing close financial advisers, The New York Times reports said Jackson faced an “immediate cash crisis” over a $89 million loan that becomes due on Tuesday and which he has no money to repay.

Over the long term, the advisers said the child molestation charges leveled against Jackson, and allegations that the black separatist group Nation of Islam is helping run his affairs, were scaring off banking creditors.

At least two groups of investors have backed out of proposed business deals with Jackson because of the molestation charges, which have also hurt the singer’s ability to earn income from records or concert tours, the newspaper said.

Jackson faces a trial on seven counts of performing lewd and lascivious acts with a 13-year-old boy. Each charge carries a prison sentence of between three and eight years.

Jackson’s most valuable asset is the Beatles catalogue he owns jointly with Sony Music Entertainment as part of the ATV Music Publishing catalogue, with an estimated value of more than $1 billion.

State financial filings in California show the extent of Jackson’s debt to the Bank of America.

On top of the $89 million loan, there is another $254 million loan guaranteed by the ATV music catalogue. The Jackson advisers who spoke to the Times said the singer was leveraged for an additional $317 million to buy other music libraries by other stars.

Despite the extremely vulnerable state of his finances, the newspaper quoted close Jackson associates as saying he was spending about $2.5 million a month.

- AFP

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-351502/Will-Jacko-forced-sell-Beatles-fortune.html#ixzz2uTYCImhU

 Will Jack(son) be forced to sell his Beatles’ fortune?

Last updated at 12:56 08 June 2005

As jurors weigh Michael Jackson’s guilt in his child molestation trial, music industry executives and bankers have been weighing a separate, but related question: Will Jackson have to sell his $500million stake in the Beatles’ music catalogue?

Jackson bought the publishing rights to the catalogue for about $48million two decades ago at the height of his career.

But these days, according to testimony at his trial, the self-proclaimed King of Pop is deep in debt at a time when investment interest in the income-spinning property of his storied collection of song rights is strong, industry experts said.

Many believe that Jackson will have to sell his stake in the catalogue if he is found guilty and say even an acquittal could prove to be a catalyst for a deal.

The Beatles songs are jointly owned by Jackson and Sony Corp through Sony/ATV Music Publishing company.

Attorney John Branca and music publisher Charles Koppelman, who are among Jackson’s changing cast of advisors and lawyers, did not return calls seeking a comment.

Industry sources said Jackson had more recently looked to billionaire financier Ron Burkle for advice. Burkle declined comment.

The Sony/ATV catalogue also includes songs like Bob Dylan’s classic Blowin’ in the Wind and the works of artists such as Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks.

A spokeswoman for Sony ATV declined to comment, but many industry observers expect Sony is waiting for the opportunity to buy out Jackson.

One source close to Sony, however, said no deal appeared to be imminent.

Jackson and former Beatle Paul McCartney collaborated during the 1980s on various songs when the pop star got the idea to buy the copyrights.

Conglomerate ATV had in 1969 purchased Northern Songs, a publishing company established by the Beatles. The catalog included some 4,000 songs, including more than 200 Beatles tunes, worth an estimated two-thirds of the catalogue’s value.

ATV was then owned by the late Australian tycoon Robert Holmes a Court, whose company, Bell Group, negotiated with Jackson for 10 months before striking a deal in August 1985.

In 1995, Jackson cut his stake to 50 percent after merging ATV with Sony’s publishing. Jackson also has a 50-percent stake in new songs added to the catalogue.

“I’ve heard the rumors he’s trying to raise cash and Sony probably would have the right of first refusal and would be first in line to buy if he chose to sell,” said Owen Sloane, an entertainment lawyer who was involved in the original 1985 deal on behalf of ATV.

Accountant John Duross O’Bryan testified for the prosecution at Jackson’s trial that the 46-year-old star had steadily borrowed against his holdings and not paid his share of Sony’s continuing investment.

Jackson would have to pay off about $200million in loans securing the catalogue, he said.

Those loans, first provided by Bank of America, were sold in the past month to New York private equity fund, Fortress Investment Group, sources familiar with the matter said.

Fortress was unavailable for comment, but if Jackson defaulted on the loans, the fund would be in a position to seize control of Mijac, the company that controls copyrights to Jackson’s songs.

A source familiar with the matter said bankers at Fortress were currently renegotiating terms of the loans with Jackson to extend their expiration beyond the current deadline of December, which would give Jackson greater flexibility.

“They want to have a long-term relationship,” the source said.

While physical CD sales have been declining with the explosion of digital distribution, publishing rights have grown in value as songs are being licensed for everything from movies to cell-phone ringtones to video games.

“One of the things that is going on is that investment bankers are getting more into the field, because music publishing is one of the few assets – it is an annuity – that’s not going away and only getting more valuable with ringtones and such,” said Mike Sigman, president of Major Songs, a music publishing company.

Last part will come soon!

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Michael Jackson, Captain EO and the business of conquering the world- Part 7- “Say, say, say”!

By The Last Tear (Lou)

My masters are strange folk with

very little care for music in them.

Johann Sebastian Bach

 

Michael Jackson reached the top of the world during the years 1983-1992 and became a very powerful and popular entertainer. Some people believe that once you have climbed as high as possible, it is time to go down the hill and then disappear. This is not true!

We are not condemned by fatalism and our fate is not predetermined. In fact, we see many famous and successful people who stay on top of their career almost until their death and even beyond. And this should have been the fate of Michael Jackson too. Unfortunately, Jackson was targeted already in late 80’s.

Some people use to say that Jackson was complex and difficult to understand. They wonder how his clever and bright businessman side could get along with his humanitarian and heal the world side. Actually, it is simple; he wished that his talent in business and his wealth to be in the service of his humanitarian goals. He had a vision and wished to build a better world. To reach his goal, he hoped to bring together not only ordinary people but also politicians and other powerful persons.

There is a reason why his millions of fans miss him so much and for many years to come. Because of his enemies, Jackson never got a chance to achieve his goals; he could not show his version of the healed world. It hurts when a strong source of light is so cowardly and unjustly suffocated. The horizon is dark! On the other hand, as long as these millions of people are out there searching and asking, there is hope.  

The main reason behind the allegations against Michael Jackson in 1993 and in 2005 was to slander the good name and the impeccable reputation of the star. His enemies hoped that his career would end and his ability to sell music and art would be destroyed; they supposed that sooner or later he would lose all his assets and become bankrupt. 

“The Girl Is Mine”

Yes, it is about The Beatles, Jackson and the ATV catalog. If you want to know all about this topic and even more, just read the book The True Story of The Beatles Song Publishing Empire written by Brian Southall and Rupert Perry (2006). It is a well written and factual book.

Many of Jackson’s fans have read books/articles or have heard stories which describe in a glorious way how Michael and his team bought the prestigious ATV catalog. It was of course a big success for Jackson, no doubt about it. However, there is another side to this story which we need to not forget; we need also to know that some people were not happy to see Michael as the owner of the catalog.

To refresh your memory, let us repeat some dates:

The Australian businessman Robert Holmes à Court bought relatively cheaply ATV music publishing and Pye records in 1982. Two years later in 1984, he wanted to sell them.

John Branca, Jackson’s attorney informed his client that the catalog was up for sale in September 1984. Michael who liked very much the Beatles music and wanted to own music publishing rights asked his legal team to buy the catalog.

After several months of work, John Branca purchased the catalog on Jackson’s behalf for $47.5 million on August 10, 1985.

Michael Jackson’s note to John Branca during a meeting. “Johnson” is the wealthy African-American John Johnson who was MJ’s advisor. Picture published in the book The True Story of The Beatles Song Publishing Empire.

Michael Jackson’s note to John Branca during a meeting. “Johnson” is the wealthy African-American John Johnson who was MJ’s advisor. Picture published in the book The True Story of The Beatles Song Publishing Empire.

 

 

There is an article about Holmes à Court and how he and Rupert Murdoch were rivals. That also explains why Murdoch and his newspapers despised (still despise) Jackson after he purchased the ATV catalog:

http://www.csmonitor.com/1982/0121/012148.html/(page)/2

A new Australian media tycoon has suddenly arrived on the British scene to join Rupert Murdoch, proprietor of The Times of London.

Skip to next parHe is Robert Holmes A’Court who has taken over the giant Associated Communications Corporation (ACC) and its extensive film and television holdings.

The L7 million ($20 million) deal virtually ends the career of Lord Lew Grade , Britain’s equivalent of Sam Goldwyn, and one of the most colorful people ever to enter the entertainment world.

Into Lord Grade’s shoes steps a soft-spoken millionaire whom many see as determined to displace Murdoch as the most powerful media proprietor in Britain.

Holmes A’Court has extensive mineral interests in his native Australia, and has lately been branching out into newspaper and television ownership. He has just bid L78.5 million ($145 million) for Australia’s Herald group of newspapers.

If he is successful he would have bigger press holdings in Australia than Murdoch. Lord Grade’s ACC has been in trouble for some time. Backer of the famous ”Muppets” and other highly successful television shows, the Russian emigre sank millions into movies, hoping for success in the United States.

One of them, on raising the Titanic, was a financial disaster. Ever since, talk of takeover bids for ACC has been rife. Grade and Holmes A’Court became friendly last year, and both men say they are happy with the outcome.

As well as possessing a cinema and entertainment empire, the corporation also has big holdings in independent (commercial) television in Britain. Holmes A’Court is believed to be especially keen to develop this side of ACC.

Despite his connections with Perth, Western Australia, where last year he launched a newspaper, the Western Mail, Holmes A’Court’s family origins are largely British.

His quaint, heraldic name is inherited from 19th century English landowners. His parents traveled from Britain to Rhodesia between the wars to run a farm and later moved to Australia. Part of Holmes A’Court’s education was at a New Zealand university.

His arrival on the British scene means that three ”outsiders” now hold highly influential positions in the media world here, with Murdoch owning The Times and Sunday Times and ”Tiny Rowling,” chairman of the giant Lonro Corporation, the London Observer. Rowling is of German origin, and Lonro is powerful in Africa.

Special interest is centering on Holmes A’Court because, before his ACC bid, his name was mentioned in attempts to acquire The Times and the Observer. At Fleet Street it is believed he wants to control an influential newspaper to match his newly acquired film and TV holdings.

Associates describe Holmes A’Court as a cool, determined intellectual fond of chess. He is a lawyer by training, and a financier by instinct.

He and Murdoch regard themselves as genial rivals in Australia. The tone of their competition may change now that they both have big holdings in Britain.

Murdoch’s acquisition of The Times is causing him financial problems, although he is reported to be eager to make the paper profitable. Fleet Street insiders say that if Holmes A’Court is looking for a paper to buy, The Times is likely to be the one he tries for.

That would almost certainly produce a major battle between two Australian media tycoons, both notoriously keen on winning takeover struggles.

PMMJMJPM

Who were the unhappy people?

The first group was the Beatles members minus John Lennon who was sadly murdered in 1980. Paul McCartney has repeatedly said that Jackson got the idea of buying the music publishing rights from him. We have already discussed this matter in our blogs. Indeed, Jackson did not need McCartney’s advice because he had other advisers and other examples to follow, particularly Ray Charles and Sam Cooke. Several people have tried to take the credit for “suggesting” to Jackson to buy the ATV catalog but in truth, as we see in the letter above, Michael was the main force behind this acquisition.

The reasons that the Beatles’ members did not buy their own songs were discussed in the book The True Story of The Beatles Song Publishing Empire:

Bad advices given to the young musicians of the band in the 60s; disagreements especially between Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono about the ownership of the Beatles’ songs; McCartney’s hesitation and refusal to buy the songs despite several opportunities which showed up. He said that he did not want to pay so much money for them or he wanted only the “Northern Songs” which was not interesting for Holmes à Court who wanted to sale the whole catalog.

Probably, McCartney hoped that EMI publishing music, the Beatles’ “mother ship”, would buy the songs and keep them close. But EMI had invested their money in other businesses and could not afford to pay several millions to Holmes à Court. As we know, EMI which got later new owners was sold again and has disappeared from the music market.

There is one interesting point that the book The True Story of The Beatles Song Publishing Empire brings to our attention: by the end of the 90’s and during 2003-2005, there were talks about Michael Jackson selling his ATV catalog. McCartney has been asked if he was interested to buy his songs but he was not; once, he had only laughed and left the room. The writers of The True Story … wonder if there was another reason behind McCartney’s refusal to buy his own songs in the 90’s and later on.

Something was for sure: as long as Jackson owned The Beatles catalog, McCartney, the other Beatles, the tabloids and the mainstream media, etc. could always accuse Michael of “neglecting” and “abusing” the songs! They could blame and torment Jackson while McCartney for example used some of his catalog’s songs in commercials!   

The other group of people who disliked Jackson’s ownership of the ATV catalog was a mixture of individuals: ATV and Pye “father” Lew Grade, ATV Music’s boss Peter Phillips and the employees who were fired because of the sale; Simon Carrell who was a finance executive of ACC (Holmes à Court’s company) wondered if Jackson was aware of the value of the catalog! He also said that MJ did not really understand the deal and was pushed by his legal team!

According to the book The True Story of The Beatles Song Publishing Empire, Carrell was nostalgic and missed the “good old time” when both ATV catalog and Pye records were in the hands of UK people! In the same book, CBS and Coca Cola are mentioned among the people who lost the deal to Jackson. CBS backed off to not compete with their own star, MJ; furthermore, Walter Yetnikoff, the CEO of CBS, did not want to spend so much money!

Other unhappy people: Virgin’s boss Branson, EMI publishing music which bought Capitol in 1955 and worked with and for McCartney and The Beatles.

The last group of the unhappy people was the pair of Charles Koppelman and Martin Bandier who also had Irving Azoff ‘s blessing and money; they put a higher bid than Jackson and Holmes à Court agreed to do business with them. But it appears that Azoff cancelled his involvement in the deal and the catalog was sold to Jackson. Before looking deeper into this conflict, let us see very shortly who these three people are.

Charles Koppelman (from Songwriters, Hall of fame): an American musician, music producer, and business man. By the mid-1970’s he had stepped up to vice president of worldwide publishing for CBS. Also, in 1975, he and his friend Martin Bandier launched The Entertainment Company which administrated, promoted song catalogs and produced music for artists like Barbra Streisand, Cher, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton. In 1986, Koppelman, Bandier and their new business partner Stephen Swid formed a new company and bought 250 000 titles owned by CBS. In 1989, EMI bought their business and Koppelman had executive positions at EMI until 2000. Koppelman served at Steve Madden and then at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Currently, he serves as CEO of CAK Entertainment, his own company.

Martin Bandier: from Wikipedia: In 1984, as Bandier and Denise LeFrak divorced, Bandier and Koppelman dissolved their partnership with LeFrak and formed the Entertainment Music Company and the Entertainment Television Company. In 1986, the partners purchased the Combine Music Catalog. That same year, Bandier and Koppelman teamed with financier Stephen Swid to form SBK Entertainment World, Inc. and purchased the 250,000 title CBS songs catalog for the then-record price of $125 million. In 1989, Bandier helped engineer the sale of SBK’s song catalog to EMI Music and the creation of SBK Records. By the end of the first year at EMI, the company was named Billboard Magazine’s number one music publisher.

In 1991, EMI Music Publishing Worldwide, then the world’s largest music publisher, named Bandier – until then its vice chairman – chairman and chief executive. He was also president and chief operating officer of the SBK Records Group, a record label that EMI operated with its parent. In 1990, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2005, Bandier asked EMI to sell him its publishing unit, and when it refused he resigned in 2006. A few months later he took over as head of the music publishing entity Sony/ATV. In 2009, he was chief executive of Sony/ATV.

Irving Azoff: Randy Phillips, the ex CEO of AEG Live, called Azoff in early 2009 for some advices on how to manage TII and Michael Jackson. It was Azoff who said to Phillips: “get insurance” (for TII tour): An Americanpersonal manager, representing recording artists in the music industry such as Christina Aguilera, Journey, Jewel, the Eagles, X Japan, Bush, REO Speedwagon, Seal, David Archuleta, Alter Bridge, Van Halen, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Neil Diamond, New Kids on the Block, Steely Dan and New Edition. Azoff is chairman and founder of Azoff Music Management Group, Inc. In late 2008, he became chairman and CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment. He was Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment until his resignation on December 31, 2012. He topped Billboard’s2012 Power 100 and was named the most powerful person in the music industry.As of at least 2010, Azoff is also on the board of Clear Channel Communications (from wikipedia).

The reason that Azoff cancelled his involvement in the ATV deal in 1985 has been explained by Fredric Dannen, in his well-known book Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business (page 232). Dannen says that John Branca asked Azoff to back off and instead he hired Azoff as “a consultant” in the Victory tour. Michael Jackson must have approved this business move.

The book The True Story of The Beatles Song Publishing Empire just says that Azoff ended his involvement in the ATV business, nothing more.

The third book which talks about ATV, Azoff, Branca and Jackson is Randall Sullivan’s. Please read Sullivan’s story about this matter and judge it yourself:

sullivan1

During the purchase of the ATV catalog and after that, John Branca explained that Jackson wanted to buy music publishing rights. He named several of them even the Jobete catalog. Two quotes from John Branca about the ATV and other businesses (from The True Story of The Beatles…, pages 191 and 199):

“Michael loves music – he’s a passionate fan of The Beatles, Bread was one of his favourite artists and that’s why we bought the Bread catalogue, he’s a big fan of Elvis and that’s why I bought a host of Elvis songs for him.At the same time, it’s like everything else, great artists make music because they love making music but at the same time they would be foolish to ignore the financial aspects of it. They hire lawyers and accountants to take care of that. “

After using a Beatles’ song in a commercial, McCartney, Harrison and the media criticized Jackson; Branca explained: “It was Michael who licensed the song but it was handled with a lot more sensitivity than the media would have indicated.”

To understand the relationship between Azoff, Branca and Jackson we need to include a third person, David Geffen. In fact, the interactions between Geffen, Azoff, Branca and Jackson should be studied in combination with another group, Yetnikoff, Geffen and Azoff.

Like stranger in Moscow”

Before beginning our study, let us remember that we are in the business world where heavy deals and huge amount of money are involved. We need to open our view to understand what was going on. As usual we will look at the conflicts.

As far as I know, the interactions between the people mentioned above have been studied in several books and articles. I have read or seen these books:

Moneywood: Hollywood in Its Last Age of Excess, by William Stadiem.

Who’s the biggest Hollywood? By Fred Goodman.

Hotel California: The True-Life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young …, by Barney Hoskyns.

Sony, by John Nathan.

Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business, by Fredric Dannen.

The Trials of Michael Jackson, by Lynton Guest.

Despite all these studies, there are many unknown or unsaid facts. It seems that some more years are needed before all the information comes up to the surface.

Fredric Dannen calls the trio Yetnikoff, Geffen and Azoff “The Troika” and he adds these lines (pages 137-138):

“Yetnikoff, Azoff, and Geffen were more alike than any of them cared to admit. All three were brilliant, ruthless, and loud. They all had the dealmaker’s philosophy, which is that favors were meant to be traded. They seemed more preoccupied with the accumulation of power than any other label executives in the business. And they recognized in themselves a troika of sorts; at times vicious competitors, at other times shrewd allies.

Walter maintained an odd love-hate relationship with Geffen and Azoff, but the latter two merely hated one another. Geffen said of Azoff, “I don’t wish to have him in my life, even for a second. I set him up in business; I gave him the Eagles to manage. He’s just done so many bad things to so many people, including me, that at one point I said, Enough! Who needs this? [] [] The three-way rivalry of Walter, Irving, and David reached comedic heights in the Boston affair. Boston was a rock group created in the studio by Tom Scholz [] []”.

David Geffen : from  http://www.answers.com/topic/david-geffen

[] Geffen has fondly called himself “just a boy from Brooklyn who wishes he were six feet tall, with blond hair and blue eyes,” as quoted in Vanity Fair. Fantasizing was certainly important to the son of Russian immigrants who grew up in a three-room apartment. Geffen was born on February 21, 1943, in Brooklyn, New York. His father, a pattern maker, was often unemployed; his mother, Batya, supported the family by making corsets and brassieres and selling them from her home. Batya was so successful that she was eventually able to buy a building big enough for her store and several other tenants as well. “My mother in her own tiny, little way was entrepreneurial,” Geffen stated in the New York Times Magazine. “Everything that I’ve ever applied in my life I learned hanging around her store. … I grew up learning my mother’s ideas about integrity and business and negotiating. It never occurred to me I’d be anything but a businessman.” []

Early jobs as an usher at the CBS television studios and as a receptionist for a television production company also ended disastrously—Geffen was fired both times. In 1964 he landed a job in the mail room at the William Morris Agency. In order to be considered for the position he had to lie about his college background. He told personnel at William Morris that he had graduated from UCLA. When he discovered that the agency planned to contact UCLA to corroborate his story, the resourceful Geffen kept watch in the mailroom for four months, until he was able to retrieve the college’s reply. He steamed the letter open, took it to a printer, had the letterhead forged, and created his own academic credentials. Geffen told a New York Times reporter: “It was either give William Morris what they wanted or give up my dreams. … I just don’t believe in taking no for an answer.” []

In the early 1970s, when Geffen and partner Elliot Roberts formed a record label, Asylum Records, supported by their own management company. They produced records with such artists as Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, the Eagles, and Linda Ronstadt, all of whom enjoyed great success with the label. In 1971 Geffen sold Asylum to Warner Communications for $7 million but kept his position as director of the company. []

Geffen subsequently founded Geffen Records, an independent label promoted and distributed by Warner Communications. Artists on the starting roster at the company’s founding in 1980 included Donna Summer, Elton John, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono. []

In March 1990 Geffen sold his label to MCA [] Eight months later, MCA was sold to a Japanese company, Matsushita, for $6.1 billion. Geffen reaped a $700 million profit on the deal.

Later in the 1990s, David Geffen left the music industry to his followers and got involved in the politics. He was one of the supporters of the ex-president Bill Clinton but later he changed his mind about the Clintons family and supported President Barak Obama. Please read these quotes from a factual article:

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/05/02/magazine/david-geffen-still-hungry.html?src=pm&pagewanted=1&pagewanted=all

David Geffen, Still Hungry

By Bernard Weinraub; Published: May 2, 1993

[] [] Geffen, who is the richest man in Hollywood [] has now set his sights on a mountain more formidable than Hollywood — Washington, D.C. AT 50, WITH A $1 BILLION FORTUNE, Geffen is hardly seeking a Cabinet job; but he’s looking for an apartment in Washington and probably wouldn’t mind serving on a Presidential commission or two. Asked if he ever saw himself working for the Administration, Geffen says, a little surprisingly: “No one’s asked me. If somebody felt there was a job I could actually do I would consider it — not out of any ambition to be in Washington, but I do want to rise to the occasion of serving there if warranted.” []

Even more surprising is Geffen’s friendship with McLarty, the reserved, buttoned-down Little Rock businessman whose childhood friendship with Clinton led to his appointment as chief of staff. Like a lot of people, McLarty says that he enjoys talking to the Brooklyn-born mogul on the phone.

“We established a relationship at the economic conference in Little Rock,” McLarty says. “It’s a very easy relationship. We call each other. David’s very selective in his calls to me. He’s not aggressive or inappropriately assertive.”

McLarty adds: “When he calls, he wants to know how things are going, how he can be helpful, what are the problems. Mostly David and I talk about the economic and business side. He doesn’t really ask for anything, and doesn’t have an agenda per se. He strikes me as someone who has handled his immense success in a very exemplary manner.” []

On virtually every level, Geffen comparmentalizes his life. There is the Wall Street world of his friends Felix Rohatyn and Herbert Allen Jr. There is the art world of Larry Gagosian, his ambitious dealer, and Castelli, whose Old World elegance dazzles Geffen. There is the music world of Allen Grubman, his lawyer, and other New York buddies who gossip with him on Saturday mornings over bagels at Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side. There is the gay world of Miami and Fire Island. There is the Malibu world of the movie stars and studio chiefs who come to him for guidance. And now there is the political world of Washington.

[] Even Geffen’s personal life has taken on a monumental public dimension. His announcement that he was gay at an AIDS benefit last November (he had previously announced he was bisexual) suddenly turned him into a spokesman on gay issues, a result he never intended. []

Geffen can also be generous toward employees. Upon her retirement, he gave his longtime secretary 1 percent of the sale of his record company, which made her $5 million. Yet Geffen also has a take-no-enemies side. He has often been singled out for the Machiavellian role he played in the 1990 downfall of the temperamental Walter Yetnikoff, the former head of CBS Records. (Geffen calls the reports “Hollywood silliness.”)

“David will do anything for you if you’re his friend,” says Howard Rosenman, a movie producer and, yes, a friend. “But if you’re his enemy, well, you might as well kill yourself.”

MJDGmjdgm

Let us go back to the 80s where we left our study about “The Troika”!

As we read above about Azoff and Geffen, their relationship became more and more hostile. Azoff got involved in suspicious businesses. His collaboration with Salvator Pisello cost him a lot:

http://articles.latimes.com/1989-01-22/news/mn-1443_1_mca-executive

Prosecutor Benched After Getting His Man : He Convicted Suspected Mob Figure Twice; MCA Said Rudnick Made Unfair Accusations

January 22, 1989

For nearly four years, the case of U.S. vs. Salvatore Pisello went nowhere in the Los Angeles office of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Strike Force.

Pisello, identified by the FBI as a member of New York’s Gambino crime family, was suspected of lying on his 1979 federal income tax return and evading taxes on $50,000 he earned that year as a regional sales representative for Hillshire Farms Sausage.

Except for the organized crime allegation, “it was a run-of-the-mill tax case that had been kicking around the office for several years and that nobody really wanted to pursue,” recalled James L. Waltz, one of a series of strike force attorneys who were assigned to the case but who never followed it through to prosecution..

In the summer of 1984, however, the case was reassigned again, this time to Marvin L. Rudnick, a veteran prosecutor with a reputation for bulldog-like tenacity and a personality to match []

Rudnick did more than that. In the course of successfully prosecuting the tax case, he learned that Pisello had left the sausage company and was now working out of the executive offices of MCA Records, a division of the conglomerate that owns Universal Studios.

Familiar Face at MCA

Though he was not officially an employee of the company and had no experience in the record business, Pisello had become a familiar face around the record company, where he earned a six-figure income acting as a middleman in a series of business transactions with outside firms.

In one 1984 transaction, Rudnick learned, Pisello had arranged the sale of 60 truckloads of so-called “cutout,” or discontinued, recordings to a Philadelphia man who later was allegedly beaten up by another reputed Mafia figure for refusing to pay for the records.

Rudnick obtained Justice Department approval to open a new tax investigation of Pisello, this one probing money he may have received from MCA. [][][]

It appears that the investigation of Pisello and MCA was just stopped later in 89 and the case went never far. However, it seems that Azoff had to leave MCA Records to not harm more its reputation. In fact, Azoff left in September 1989 to be the head of Giant Records; and his departure opened the door for Geffen who sold his recording business to MCA and became the most important shareholder of the company. A few months later, the Japanese Matsushita Electrical Industrial Company bought MCA and made Geffen very rich.

Despite being fierce rivals, the music executives used to help each other to save their industry! The question is if Azoff had a bargain with Geffen when he left MCA. Whatever the case was, after leaving MCA, Azoff became a second hand player in “The Troika” and Geffen won over him.

Before reviewing the conflicts between Yetnikoff and Geffen which were intensified in 1989 and 1990, we need to talk shortly about a well-known phenomenon called the Payola. The Payola is a contraction of the words “pay” and “Victrola”, a LP record player. There are hundreds of pages written about this matter.

When the radio stations were established in the USA, broadcasting songs and music became a high potential business for these stations. Since the competition between the major music recording companies was high, they bribed some disc jockeys and some radio stations and bought their airplays; and “Payola” was born!

In the 80’s, almost all the CEOs of the music industry used the payola system. Actually, at that time it was called the New Payola. Why was that? In the 60’s, when the first cases of payola came up to the light, people were very angry. It became a social and a political matter. Even the White House had to get involved.

During the 70’s, the music industry executives found a way to revive payola in a more hidden way. Gradually, a network of people which was a link between the music industry’s CEOs and the radio stations was founded. The network had 200 members. The identity of these people was not a common knowledge.

Suddenly in 1986, a case of payola against two of the network members, Joe Isgro and Alfred Disipio, came up. Almost all the music industry’s CEOs – who used the service of the network – changed their mind, supported the government and asked for the elimination of the payola system!

Fredric Dannen mentions the name of the music companies in his book Hit Men …:

A&M, Arista, Atlantic, Capitol, Chrysalis, Elektra, Geffen (CEO David Geffen), MCA (CEO Irving Azoff), Motown, PolyGram, RCA, Warner Bros (CEO Mo Ostin). As you see, CBS and Yetnikoff were not among these names. In fact, Yetnikoff and Frank Dileo were friends with Isgro. Dileo testified and defended his friend in the court of law. Once, Isgro was released, Dileo told him to sue the CEOs; Isgro followed his friend’s advice and got some “damages” from the music executives. In early 80’s, Joe Jackson hired Isgro to be Latoya Jackson s’ manager. Isgro left her when Jack Gordon came around.

Isgro was prosecuted and jailed for a while not because of his involvement with Payola but because of tax fraud – but the network and its services survived stronger than before! According to Fredric Dannen, the CEOs’ protest was a double game. Until 86, it was the music companies which paid the payola. After the “protest action”, the CEOs took the money from the artists royalties and charged the entertainers instead! Actually, when CBS and Yetnikoff understood the real purpose of the CEOs’ “protest”, they joined them as well! It appears that the payola system is still alive and active!

It is understandable if artists in general and stars like Michael Jackson in peculiar did/do not like the payola system. Entertainers like Jackson did not need this kind of network and did not wish to pay for their “services”. In fact in 2006 during his deposition in Paris in the case Hackensack (N.J. finance company) vs Michael Jackson, the star criticized strongly the “schmucks” in the music and the entertainment industry: The entertainment industry is full of sharks, charlatans and impostors [] Because there’s a lot of money involved, there’s a bunch of schmucks in there, [] It’s the entertainment world, full of thieves and crooks. That’s not new. Everybody knows that.

Let us now go back to “The Troika” and look at Yetnikoff and Geffen conflicts. Walter Yetnikoff was the most powerful music executive in the 80’s. He had run CBS for several years. During these years he hired many people; some of them – Allen Grubman (lawyer), John Branca, Frank Dileo, Tommy Mottala – were his close collaborators.

Walter yetnikoff : One of the most storied – and controversial – executives in the history of the record industry, Walter Yetnikoff was head of CBS Records from 1975 to 1990. Over the course of his career at CBS, he oversaw an explosive growth in record sales (both by his label group and the industry at large), became embroiled in numerous feuds with artists and rival executives, and presided over the sale of the CBS label group to Sony in 1988. Along the way, he made the careers of a who’s who of modern rock and pop music – Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and Billy Joel among them. Today, Yetnikoff runs a small boutique label and is an in-demand public speaker. His memoir, Howling at the Moon: Confessions of a Music Mogul in an Age of Excess, was published in 2004 (Source )

In 1975, CBS (Epic) and Yetnikoff signed The Jacksons and later worked with Michael as a solo artist. He gave Michael high royalties and pushed him up. There are several stories about Yetnikoff and Jackson. No doubt that Yetnikoff liked Michael but he certainly liked more the money MJ brought to CBS. It is true that Yetnikoff pushed MTV to play Billie Jean and helped to break the racial barrier which had blocked the broadcasting of the black artists’ songs and music on TV; but in the dispute with MTV, Yetnikoff’s motive was mostly to gain more money, more power and fame for himself and for CBS.

http://rhythmofthetide.com/tag/walter-yetnikoff/

Walter Yetnikoff, the president of Jackson’s record label, CBS, approached MTV to play the “Billie Jean” video. He became enraged when MTV refused to play the video, and threatened to go public with MTV’s stance on black musicians. “I said to MTV, ‘I’m pulling everything we have off the air, all our product. I’m not going to give you any more videos. And I’m going to go public and fucking tell them about the fact you don’t want to play music by a black guy.’” MTV relented and played the “Billie Jean” video in heavy rotation.

There were several conflicts between Yetnikoff and Geffen. Apparently, Michael Jackson was one of them!

In an interview, David Geffen has described how he saw his relationship with Jackson; Dannen has also added his view: “ [] Geffen certainly had set the stage for making a pass at the singer. For more than a decade, Geffen had served as an unpaid business adviser to Jackson. When a reporter tried to compliment him for schmoozing Jackson in this manner, his reply was pure Geffen: “Well, wait a second, I don’t know if that’s exactly the right way to look at it. You mean, Michael Jackson’s managed to get one of the smartest guys in the entertainment business to give him free advice – it’s not exactly my schmoozing him, he’s probably schmoozing me. I’m doing him a favor, he’s not doing me a favor.” (Hit men … , page 338).

It appears that Jackson got advice from Geffen and the latter probably expected that Michael would return his favors with favors. Actually, in the relationship Geffen-Jackson, we do not know what Geffen thought about the ATV catalog. Was he among the people who advised Jackson to buy ATV? Did he want to counsel Jackson on how to manage the ATV catalog? After purchasing ATV, Jackson seemed to want to manage it himself with the help of John Branca. It has been said that Geffen and Branca disliked strongly each other. Did Jackson’s “in and out moves” between these two people, disappointed Geffen?

In 1990, Geffen asked Jackson to write a song for his film Days of Thunder. Michael refused to do so. Geffen asked instead to use one of the Beatles songs in the film. Dannen says (Hit Men …, p. 337) that Yetnikoff did not agree with that and he delivered the message in an extremely crude way to Geffen. After this incident, the two music executives were in open fight.

In his book Sony, John Nathan has given another version of this story. He says that it was Jackson who did not want Geffen to use The Beatles’ song in his film (p. 243):

sony-John Nathan 2001 p 243

 

After this incident, Geffen advised Jackson to leave CBS which had been bought by Sony at that time; Geffen wanted to manage MJ’s businesses. Dannen has given a detailed description of this event (Hit Men …, pages 338-340).

Apparently, in mid-1990, Geffen told Jackson that Yetnikoff and CBS had taken advantage of him; while Jackson had lost $16 million in making the video Moonwalker, CBS had made money. He also advised Jackson to dismiss Branca because he was too close to Yetnikoff. Jackson agreed and fired his lawyer in mid June 1990 and “moved” under Geffen’s management; he got Sandy Gallin – Geffen’s close friend – as manager, Lee Phillips and Bert fields – Geffen’s lawyers – as attorneys. But “the move” did not end well.

Under California’s seven-year law (see the part 6- “The Unfree Masters”) Jackson could leave CBS but he had to deliver four more albums to Sony or pay damages that would recover the loss of the albums. “The moving plan” to Geffen Records simply crashed and Jackson hired back some of his staff but maintained some of Geffen’s.

Being “one of the smartest guys in the entertainment business” – as Geffen described himself – also a music executive who knew the laws, it is hard to believe that Geffen could not foresee the failure of Jackson’s moving plan. One wonders if “the moving plan” was Geffen’s way to give “a lesson” to Jackson. We do not know what Jackson exactly thought about his interaction with Geffen. Did MJ feel that he was used by Geffen to get Yetnikoff? Since Geffen and Jackson never collaborated and not even spoke with each other later, it appears that their “break” was a hurtful one.

Whatever it was, Sony which was afraid to lose Jackson offered him a very advantageous deal in 1991. Perhaps, this success soured even more between Jackson and Geffen. Not to mention, this contract made some people nervous and some very jealous.

Furthermore, Michael hired back John Branca who had built his own law firm and worked for other artists. Jackson fought ardently to purchase the Jobete catalog (see the part 5- Jobete). On the other hand, he kept some of Geffen’s staff and shared the management of ATV catalog outside of the US with MCA and EMI to show to the music executives his willingness to collaborate. But that was not enough! It seems that the industry’s bosses wanted to block his way. Having already the ATV catalog and the advantageous Sony contract, he could not get the Jobete catalog!

http://articles.latimes.com/1991-03-21/news/mn-654_1_michael-jackson

Michael Jackson Agrees to Huge Contract With Sony: Entertainment: Singer is guaranteed unprecedented share of album profits and a shot at movie stardom.

March 21, 1991|ALAN CITRON and CHUCK PHILIPS | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

In a thriller of a deal, pop icon Michael Jackson has signed a long-term contract with Sony Corp. that guarantees him an unprecedented share of the profits from his next six albums, his own record label, a role in developing video software products and a shot at movie stardom.

The contract, the biggest ever awarded an entertainer, is expected to return hundreds of millions of dollars to Jackson. It also cements Sony’s relationship with its biggest star, who reportedly had threatened to move to another label in a contract dispute last year.

“We’re married to him now,” Sony Software President Michael P. Schulhof said Wednesday.

Sony, which inherited Jackson when it bought CBS Records for $2 billion in 1988, declined to discuss specific terms of the deal. But sources close to the talks said the agreement makes Jackson a significant partner in all business ventures with the Japanese electronics giant.

Jackson, 32, reportedly could receive more than $120 million per album if sales match the 40-million-plus level of his smash mid-’80s album “Thriller.” Two sources close to the talks said the reclusive singer is guaranteed an advance payment of $5 million per record plus a 25% royalty from each album based on retail sales.

“If he continues to sell records like he has in the past, he will earn more money than any other person in the history of the record business,” said one person familiar with the deal.[] [] []

The agreement gives Jackson full authority to sign acts to the label. Sony executives predicted that “new and established artists” would become part of Nation Records. “Michael Jackson is not exactly a bad magnet for attracting these people,” said Sony Music President Tommy Mottola.

Jackson is not the first star to get his own record label. Frank Sinatra started Reprise before selling it to Warner Bros. The Beatles had Apple Records, and more recently labels have been established by such performers as Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and M.C. Hammer. More often than not, the results have been disappointing.

Unlike those acts, Jackson will remain on Sony’s Epic Records label. He will also remain a ubiquitous music video presence, since the Sony deal stipulates that such acclaimed directors as Sir Richard Attenborough, David Lynch and Tim Burton will make long-form videos based on songs from Jackson’s next album. Jackson will also own 70% of the video rights.

The deal further assures that Jackson will star in his first feature since the 1978 flop “The Wiz.” People close to the talks said he will be paid at least $5 million to appear in a musical action adventure based on his own idea.

The movie deal is largely the result of Jackson’s friendship with Columbia Pictures Co-Chairman Jon Peters and his partner, Peter Guber. Company officials said further films may follow if the first, set for a 1992 release, is a success. Jackson is also supposed to be given offices on Columbia’s Culver City lot.

“The intention is that we will all live happily ever after,” said Columbia Executive Vice President Sid Ganis.

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“Michael is the pilot”

Some month ago, on September 8, 2013, John Branca had an interview with 60 minutes CBS. Please read the transcripts:

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/michael-jacksons-marketing-genius/

Pop icon Michael Jackson fired his entire team during the making of the album “Thriller,” says John Branca, an executor of Michael Jackson’s estate. Why’d he do it?

John Branca: [] [] and then in a classic Michael fashion, as soon as the second single was released, Beat It, he let everybody go from his team. There was no manager, no agent, no press agent. It was Michael and he would give me business directive to encore the label. Promotion director … 

The reporter: He fired everybody?

John Branca: Everybody.

The reporter: Why?

John Branca:  He just felt he wanted to sort of run this business himself, yah, with the help of myself and couple of others. I never forget, I got a call from Quincy Jones who said Branca we have a 747 here and there is no pilot. And I said: Quincy, Michael is the pilot and it was true. Michael had a marketing genius that sometimes people don’t understand.

On January 31, 2014, Raymone Bain who was Michael Jackson’s manager and spokesperson in the 2000s had an interview with CNN about Justin Bieber; during her talk, she shared also some information about MJ: Source

[] [] Michael Jackson was about business. He always wanted to be the best. He wanted to be the most successful. He wanted to break the records. He wanted to leave a legacy [] [] Jackson was surrounded by a team who supported him, but, as Bain asserts, he also encouraged them to tell him when he was wrong. “There is a misconception. Michael Jackson didn’t like ‘yes-men’. When we would sit at the table with him he would get angry when we did not tell him what we really thought, he really would.”

While pondering on Mrs. Bain and Mr. Branca’s talk, I saw a post published by Bob Lofsetz on November 2012. We do not have to agree with everything Bob Lefsetz has written of course but I found two passages interesting; it is almost like he gives an answer to John Branca. Lefsetz wrote his blog after seeing the film “Inventing David Geffen”. Please read first the entire article and then the two quotes:

http://wendyday.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/the-geffen-documentary-by-bob-lefsetz/

The Geffen Documentary

By, Bob Lefsetz Posted on November 21, 2012

The artists will fuck you. But without them you’re nothing.

That’s the story of Laura Nyro. That’s who made David Geffen his first million. David didn’t make Laura any more talented, but he paved the way for her to make it. He encouraged her, he believed in her, he argued for her, he made things exactly the way she wanted them to be. And in return, she fucked him.

That’s what you’ve got to know about artists. They’re desperate. They’ve only got one chance, one career, if they screw it up, they’re toast. Just ask Billy Squier…But just like the artists, David Geffen has dreams. How is he going to make them come true?

By lying, cheating and cunning. By utilizing his gifts of intelligence and negotiation to get close to people and do things for them. This is how they all do it. Geffen’s just more successful than most. If you can see his flaws, just know that those of the others are hidden. They need it. They’ll do whatever it takes to make it. Just like the artists.

Not that will is a skill. It may be necessary, along with ambition, but that’s not enough. Geffen was smart enough to align himself with Laura Nyro. It’s almost impossible to find legendary talent, it’s equally difficult to sign it. Geffen did both.

And despite his belief, her album didn’t hit. But he didn’t give up. Like a great running back, he found another hole. Cover records. Not that this was a new idea. That’s how Albert Grossman broke Dylan.

But Albert was older than the acts. He was just as ruthless as Geffen, but was not one of them. Geffen came from the same generation. He understood his acts. He knew how good they were and what they wanted. He made it happen. And I won’t say they were ungrateful, but great artists believe they can make it on their own, that they need nobody’s help, and this is patently untrue.

You not only need someone smart, you need someone with relationships. Whether it be Ahmet, Mo or even Tom Freston, who’s given credit for breaking Guns N’ Roses in this documentary. You need someone with a Rolodex, who can make things happen.

Most people can’t. But it was a different era back then. You had to listen to the music to know which way the wind blew. Top Forty radio was the Mac of its time. FM its iPod. Everybody paid attention. One record could change the world. Musicians were the most powerful people in the universe. They are no longer.

Watching Laura Nyro you think of no one so much as Lady Gaga… But she hasn’t written one track as good as “Poverty Train,” never mind “Wedding Bell Blues” or “Save The Country.” You see Gaga has the chops, but she focuses on the trappings. Once upon a time, the chops were paramount. Assuming you had a David Geffen in your corner.

And most people did not. The fat cats wanted to be in the movie business. And although the late sixties and early seventies were a legendary time in the picture business, it was music that was driving the culture. You see movies are made by committee. Music, when done right, is the vision of one soul, or a band of them. Execs cannot make the records, they can make the movies.

And one reason music took a dump is because the execs started to believe they were the acts. They got paid like them, but the more they got involved, the worse the music became. Hell, those out there Neil Young albums from the eighties, the ones Geffen sued over, they look positively mainstream today. Neil Young was a twenty first century artist thirty years ago. He realized your only hope is to follow your muse. Which is why Neil still does boffo at the b.o. And most of his contemporaries who sold out are struggling.

And I love that they point out that Geffen speaks his mind and had to learn how to be diplomatic. Dealing with people, especially those more powerful than yourself…is not something you’re born with. If you’re not learning every day, you’re dying on the vine, you’re taking yourself out of the game.

And Geffen has done great things since the seventies. Geffen Records, DreamWorks, charity… But his heyday was the seventies. When he was frustratingly subservient to the artists. Once he became the artist himself, it wasn’t so good. Ironically, Geffen needs the tension, he needs to be subsidiary to somebody, he needs to work the system, the role of king does not fit him so well. But kingmaker? That fits him like a glove. This documentary was far from three-dimensional. If you want to know more about the real Geffen, read Tom King’s “The Operator.”

But that book will never give you a feel for how it once was. When musicians were as rich as corporate titans, with even more power, while being beholden to no one. Geffen may be a billionaire, but he’s poor compared to the Wall Street fat cats. Like David Bonderman, who just paid Paul McCartney and John Fogerty to play at his seventieth birthday party? (http://nyti.ms/UD2f6n) Paul McCartney? Shouldn’t he be king? Shouldn’t he have all the money? That’s how far we’ve come.

But give Geffen credit. He straddles two worlds. He likes his fine living, but he knows the power of a t-shirt, of being a scrapper, of beating the man at his own game. This documentary fell apart when it hit the late eighties. There was no mention of the war with Robert Towne over “Personal Best.” Everyone kept saying Geffen doesn’t lose, but you never heard one of those whose every move in Hollywood was blocked by the man…and that happened. Then again, Geffen showed his vulnerability by quoting Patrick Goldstein.

You see at the end of the day, it’s still the artist who has all the power. One song, one sentence, one album, one article…can infect and change the entire world. Which is why we’re drawn to these people. Why we want to get closer. Geffen played it as well as anybody. But don’t think you can replicate his success. The hunger comes from having a non-working father, being gay, a whole soup of elements that made him him. You can only be yourself.

And this is especially true if you’re an artist. But what you really need is to be yourself and have Geffen, or his modern day equivalent, on your side. Because we all want to be taken down to the paradise city…

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/inventing-david-geffen/2146/

And the two quotes:

[] great artists believe they can make it on their own, that they need nobody’s help, and this is patently untrue.

[] But what you really need is to be yourself and have Geffen, or his modern day equivalent, on your side. Because we all want to be taken down to the paradise city…

Let us see if Lefsetz’ advice makes sense in MJ’s case. According to the first quote, we could conclude that Michael Jackson was “wrong” to believe that he could make it alone! He should have known better! He should have kept “the industry’s moguls” on his side!

And the second quote makes us wonder and ask questions like these: Did Jackson “have learnt his lesson” on the Christmas Eve of 2006, when he went back to the US? Did he know that he had to find the “modern day equivalent” of Geffen and to do business with him? If that was the case, who could this “modern day equivalent” had been? Perhaps Randy Phillips!?

Unfortunately, there was not any “paradise city” for Jackson. Why is that? Perhaps because MJ – as Lefsetz suggested – was himself, the same “headstrong stubborn” who wanted to take control of his life.  

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The years 91- 93 were difficult. “The alienation” of Latoya Jackson began at that time and it ended in her disastrous interviews on December 93; Jermaine and Michael had conflicts in 91. It was the Dangerous era and Jackson had a very busy schedule. The Black or White video was criticized and Michael had to edit it. Jackson was in a lot of pain because of his scar surgeries. Jackson sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers. The Chandlers ‘accusations came at the surface; an alliance between some tabloid journalists, a suspicious individual called Victor Gutierrez and Evan and Ray Chandler was born. Later, in 94 and beyond, Gutierrez, Diane Dimond and other tabloids turned gradually Jackson to a “living target”. More on this, in the next part!

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IRS vs Estate: A study

By The Last Tear (Lou)

After Michael Jackson’s untimely death, some people hoped that his Estate which was in debt would sell the star’s assets. As we know, this did not happen. The Estate’s executors managed to pay most of the debts and consequently secured the music catalogues and other possessions. However, recently, the interaction between the Estate and the IRS has become heated. As usual several media “ have explain” this matter in a biased and one-sided way.

Still, there is an article which sees the both sides of the fight. Erin K. Mai has published an informative study in the Estate Law Journal on February 28, 2013. This is a copy of the article. You find the original file here: http://www.estatelawjournal.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Mai.pdf

or here: http://www.estatelawjournal.org/site/2013/02/

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Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter and Advance Publications

By The Last Tear (Lou)

One of our goals on NonLocal Universe is to show how the tabloids, the half tabloids and the mainstream media and their owners who are usually rich and powerful people have targeted Michael Jackson during his life but also after his untimely death.

We have talked long about the Rolling Stone Magazine and The National Enquirer in this blog  Michael Jackson, Captain EO and the business of conquering the world – Part 4- RS

“The Mirror” were discussed in More about the “Mirror” tabloids

We also found out that the big company Goldman Sachs which owns among other things Channel Nine Australia – the channel that interviewed Conrad Murray once he was released from jail – pushed Jackson to sell his ATV catalog and gave him a very bad deal in 2002-03 (read here The”55 minutes thinking” – Part 3- Conrad Murray aka … ).

In another blog, we reviewed the tabloid film “Autopsy: Michael Jackson’s Last Hours” which was aired on Channel 5 UK in January 2014 (read here The”55 minutes …” – Part 4 – The scenario) The owner of Channel 5 UK, Richard Desmond owns also the publishing group Northern & Shell. He has competed fiercely with the News Corp and other media & publishing groups in the UK and the USA and now he wants to sell Channel 5:

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/jan/02/richard-desmond-sale-channel-5

 Richard Desmond appoints Barclays to explore sale of Channel 5

Mark Sweney

The Guardian, Thursday 2 January 2014 11.48 GMT

Richard Desmond has appointed Barclays to advise on a possible sale of Channel 5, after turning the loss making Big Brother broadcaster into a profitable operation.

The process is understood to be at a very early stage with Barclays, which was involved in evaluating the potential value of Desmond’s magazines including flagship title OK! in 2011, not yet thought to have approached potential buyers.

The most obvious buyer which would gain the biggest strategic synergy would be ITV. However, ITV, by some distance the UK’s biggest advertiser-funded broadcaster, would almost certainly run into competition issues. BSkyB could be another potential buyer, although Rupert Murdoch has in the past ruled out out bidding for the free-to-air broadcaster.

Channel 5 could be a target for a foreign buyer, such as NBC Universal or Time Warner subsidiary Turner Broadcasting, although its previous owner RTL, majority-owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, found it difficult to turn a profit from the UK’s smallest terrestrial broadcaster.

The move follows Desmond taking “soundings” among rivals, including ITV, about the potential appetite to buy Channel 5 last spring.

Desmond added Channel 5 to his Northern & Shell media empire, which includes the Express and Star national titles, in 2010 buying it from RTL for £103.5m.

Heavy cost-cutting, rejuvenating Channel 5’s TV ad sales operation, and securing Big Brother have moved the business from a £48m loss at the time of the acquisition to a £20.6m profit in the six months to the end of August last year [] [].

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In this blog, we will review Vanity Fair magazine, its editor Graydon Carter and the publishing group which owns the magazine, Advance Publications. We will also see that when it comes to Michael Jackson, some editors, TV channel’s owners, publishing groups’ owners and some “moguls” in different industries follow “a standard procedure”. This procedure consists of bashing the star, alive or dead, by using the false molestation accusations, mocking his physical appearances which were caused by vitiligo, lupus, and accidents and describing him as “an addict”.    

Advance Publications

It began with Condé Montrose Nast, an ambitious New Yorker who was a lawyer but did not want practice the law; he worked (1898-1907) as advertising manager for the magazine Collier’s Weekly which was owned by one of his classmates, Robert Collier. After a decade of successful work, Collier left but Nast stayed in the business and bought the men’s fashion magazine Dress in 1913 and renamed it Dress and Vanity Fair. Later he also bought Vogue and The New Yorker. He transformed them into America’s premier fashion and modern art magazines. Nast published books too. His publication group was born. But the Great Depression in 1930s almost ruined him.

Several years later, in 1981, the owners of Advance Publications, the Newhouse family who also owned Condé Nast publication, revived Vanity Fair and the other Nast’s magazines.

There is a page on Pop History about the Newhouse family and their publications businesses:

http://www.pophistorydig.com/?tag=samuel-i-newhouse-sr

“Empire Newhouse”
1920s-2012


If you read Wired magazine, The New Yorker, or Vanity Fair, you’re reading material produced by a company named Advance Publications.  And if you read Parade, the largest circulation Sunday supplement magazine in the U.S., or Golf Digest, or Glamour, these magazines are also published by Advance – as are Vogue, The Sporting News, Architectural Digest, and several others.  Advance owns newspapers as well, found in more than twenty-five American cities, including Newark, New Jersey; Cleveland, Ohio; Portland, Oregon; and Syracuse, New York.  Another 40 weekly titles are published by Advance through its American City Business Journals.  Cable television outlets owned by Advance serve 2.4 million customers in Florida, California, Michigan, Indiana and Alabama.  On the web, Advance Internet operates more than 100 websites, most of which serve and extend the company’s print and cable operations.  Reddit.com, the popular user-generated “social news” website, is one of Advance Internet’s properties.

Advance Publications was formed and is owned by the Newhouse family of Long Island, New York.  In recent years the Newhouse /Advance empire has ranked among the 50 largest private companies in the U.S.  The company dates to the early 1920s, and grew to fame in the heyday of the newspaper business when its founder, Samuel I. Newhouse – “Sam” – steadily went about acquiring all manner of America newspapers during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.  Today, as of September 2012, Advance Publications is run at the corporate level by Sam’s two sons — S.I. Newhouse, Jr. (84), known as “Si,” and brother Donald Newhouse (81).  Assorted other Newhouse family members assist in the management of various divisions and subsidiaries.  Si and Donald will soon turn over control of the company to the next generation of Newhouse executives.

Yet, some say the Newhouse empire is “yesterday’s media company,” and will succumb to the albatross and high-cost of print in a digital age.  Others believe the Newhouse empire will not only survive, but will thrive, continuing to be a dominant cultural force and contemporary story teller, setting trends in fashion, literature, and style as it goes. [] []

Hard Times at Newhouse

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In June 2009, New York magazine published a cover story titled, “The Last Old-Media Tycoon,” alluding to changes then assaulting the Newhouse empire.  The piece, written by Steve Fishman, focused mostly on the trendy magazine side of the business, referring to it as “Si Newhouse’s Dream Factory,” further elaborating with a subtitle that explained: “Condé Nast’s own stars compare their glossy empire to the MGM of Old Hollywood. But no one would wish it the same fate.”

Yet hard times were taking a toll on the Newhouse publications and the family fortune.  In the first three months of 2009, The New Yorker’s ad pages were down 36 percent, and at Vogue and Vanity Fair, around 30 percent.  Wired’s  were down by almost 60 percent.  Between 2007 and 2009 Newhouse had closed nearly a dozen magazines, among them: Jane, House & Garden, Men’s Vogue, Golf for Women, Domino, Portfolio, Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, Gourmet, and Cookie.  Some of these, however, retained an on-line presence.  Fishman’s New York piece explained how Si Newhouse had grown up in the magazine business and loved magazines, and how it pained him personally to close them down.  But the nature of the Newhouse business was changing, as Fishman;s piece explained.  Some 40 percent of the family fortune now came from its stake in Discovery Communications, which ran cable and satellite TV networks with programs such as Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC.

SI Newhouse, the man in the background in the picture, was ranked the 47th richest American by Forbes in 2011. His net worth has been estimated $6.6 billion. He is also an art collector who owned one of the most valuable Jackson Pollock drip painting. According to New York Times, SI Newhouse sold this painting to David Geffen.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/02/arts/design/02drip.html?_r=0

A Pollock Is Sold, Possibly for a Record Price

 By CAROL VOGEL

Published: November 2, 2006

The Hollywood entertainment magnate David Geffen has sold a classic drip painting by Jackson Pollock for about $140 million, art experts with knowledge of the transaction said yesterday.Skip to next paragraph

That price, if officially confirmed, would be the highest sum ever known to have been paid for a painting, exceeding the $135 million that the cosmetics heir Ronald S. Lauder paid in June for Gustav Klimt’s “Adele Bloch-Bauer I.”

The experts spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to be perceived as betraying the confidence of the seller or the buyer of the Pollock, “No. 5, 1948,” or jeopardize future business.

Reached by telephone, Mr. Geffen declined to comment on whether he sold the painting. Tobias Meyer of Sotheby’s is said to have brokered the deal.

The art-world experts identified the buyer as David Martinez, the Mexican financier who bought a two-floor apartment in the south building of the Time Warner Center for $54.7 million recently.

Mr. Martinez did not return calls seeking comment. Obsessively private, he has emerged as a megabuyer in modern and contemporary art in recent years, snapping up works by masters like de Kooning and Rothko both privately and at auction.

Just last month Mr. Geffen sold two other 20th-century paintings — a Jasper Johns and a Willem de Kooning — for a total of $143.5 million. Given that he is among many business figures who has expressed interest in buying The Los Angeles Times, media industry analysts speculated that he was trying to raise cash for a potential bid.

The Pollock, a densely tangled composition in browns and yellows, is unusually large, measuring about 4 by 8 feet, and was painted on fiberboard.

Like much else in Mr. Geffen’s collection, it comes with a pristine provenance. Previous owners include the painter Alfonso A. Ossorio, a major Pollock collector from East Hampton, N.Y., and S. I. Newhouse Jr., the publishing magnate, who sold it to Mr. Geffen. 

To be a “publishing magnate” means that you are a powerful person because you are capable of influencing and shaping the public opinion about any person and any subject. In the case of Newhouse family, this power went to its extreme because the family owns also a school of journalism and produces journalists and reporters. This is from the Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._I._Newhouse_School_of_Public_Communications

The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications is the communications school at Syracuse University. It has programs in print and broadcast journalism; advertising; public relations; and television and film.

The school was named for publishing magnate Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr., who provided the founding gift in 1964. The Newhouse family, now led by sons S.I. Newhouse Jr. and Donald, chairman and president, respectively, of Advance Publications, continues to support the school, most recently (in 2003) with a $15 million gift for the construction of Newhouse 3, the third building in the Newhouse School’s three-building complex [].

Wikipedia gives us a list of notable Newhouse alumni. I could not check every name on the list but two names looked familiar and both in relation to Michael Jackson! They are Jeanne Moos (CNN) and Contessa Brewer (MSNBC) who have slandered Jackson and his children in several occasions. I do not give links which will promote their pages but if you are curious, do a Google search and you will see it for yourself.

However, in the case of Contessa Brewer who “graduated magna cum laude (with high honors) from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism in 1996” I have to add the very stupid mistake she made in 2009. Even the NY Daily News laughed at her!

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/contessa-brewer-mixes-reverends-msnbc-introducing-jesse-jackson-al-sharpton-article-1.383601

Contessa Brewer mixes up her reverends on MSNBC, introducing Jesse Jackson as Al Sharpton

By Eitan Gavish / DAILY NEWS WRITER

Thursday, October 22, 2009, 11:10 AM

MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer needs to study up on her Civil Rights leaders after mistaking the Rev. Jesse Jackson for the Rev. Al Sharpton on live television.

Brewer made the slip up during a segment on homelessness that aired Wednesday, and even fired a question after the boneheaded introduction.

The unperturbed Jackson stared calmly into the Burbank, Calif. studio camera, and said “I’m Rev. Jesse Jackson.”    

Brewer immediately apologized after Jackson corrected her, blaming the teleprompter for supplying a misleading script, which said to introduce “the Rev. Al Sharpton.”

“We all know who you are, Rev. Jackson,” the anchor said. “I’m so sorry.” 

You do realize how easy the powerful people who did /do not like Michael Jackson and wished to destroy his name and reputation could gather an army of “journalists” and “reporters” doing the job! We remember the trio Diane Dimon, Maureen Orth and Victor Gutierrez in 93-96 and later the gang of Dimon, Bashir, Gutierrez, Orth, Grace, etc.

Graydon Carter and Vanity Fair

As we found out, Vanity Fair is an old magazine and has had several editors. In 1992, SI Newhouse asked Graydon Carter to take the editor job and he is still running the magazine.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3624687/A-party-throwing-Bush-bashing-dandy.html

A party-throwing, Bush-bashing dandy

28 Sep 2004

[] Born in 1949, in a middle-class suburb of Ottawa, Canada, Edward Graydon Carter always dreamt of becoming a big shot in New York City. Though he has described both his parents as rather “Barbara Pym-ish, the sort of people who wore tartan jackets for cocktails”, he paints a wonderfully anarchic portrait of his father, a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force, who died in 1991.

“There was this small movie theatre in Toronto, where they were courting back in the early Forties,” he says. “One night, the movie hadn’t quite started and, suddenly, my father farted. It was so loud – he was, like, the Toscanini of farting. So he stood up, turned to my mother and said, ‘Oh, Margaret, how could you?’ and started moving away from her. It was the cruellest, funniest thing. It was a miracle they ever got married.”

After a series of blue-collar jobs, including grave-digging, working as a lineman on the railroad and stock-checking at a local department store – and also a brief marriage to a pretty French-Canadian museum worker – 28-year-old Carter finally moved to New York in 1978.

With not one useful contact, save “an uncle in Buffalo”, he spent a month wandering around the streets of Manhattan, scrabbling for change for the subway and marveling at the skyscrapers. Eventually, he managed to get a job at Time magazine and got “invited to all these parties where nobody would talk to us, but where we could eat and drink for free”.

Four years later, he met Cynthia Williamson, a legal assistant at a law firm, and, within three weeks, had proposed. They separated in the summer of 2000 [].

His big break came in 1986 when he was invited to edit the hugely popular satirical magazine Spy. He remembers with fondness one of the magazine’s most popular stunts – mailing out 64-cent cheques to the wealthiest people in New York to find out who would actually cash them. “To the people who did cash them, we then sent out cheques for 32 cents. To the people who cashed those, we sent out cheques for 16 cents. Two of the people who cashed those cheques were Adnan Khashoggi and Donald Trump.”[] []

After his second divorce, Carter was briefly involved with Samantha Boardman and then in 2005 he married Anna Scott.

During his few years in Spy and at the beginning of his job in Vanity Fair, Carter met several people and forged many friendships; one of them was Jan Wenner the owner of the Rolling Stones Magazine and several “moguls” like Barry Diller, David Geffen, and Ron Perelman.

http://articles.latimes.com/1988-12-25/entertainment/ca-1133_1_e-graydon-carter

Taste Makers : E. Graydon Carter

December 25, 1988|BILL STEIGERWALD

[]  Along with the Spy map (a regular guide to such things as famous New York corruption sites or never-built public-works boondoggles), there are Big-Apple-o-centric features like the “The Times,” a column devoted solely to sniping at the personal foibles and purported journalistic indiscretions of the editors and owners of the New York Times. It’s Spy’s best idea, Carter said, even if it did come from his pal Jann Wenner.

http://gawker.com/5562625/graydon-carter

[] Carter is one of the highest paid editors at Condé Nast; he’s rumored to make more than $2 million a year. (Of course the perks are impossible to quantify.) While Condé Nast pays for a car and driver for Carter, sadly the gig does not come with access to a private jet. Fortunately his mogul pals, like Barry Diller, David Geffen, and Ron Perelman, are more than happy to help out: During the Christmas holidays Perelman regularly gives Carter a lift down to St. Barts aboard one of his two Gulfstreams.

In 2011, Carter and Richard Desmond have been seen in the same parties.

Vanity Fair articles targeting Michael Jackson has begun in 1984 after the 93 case. Most of them have been written by Maureen Orth. Actually, they are the most hideous, illogical and absurd of all.

This is no surprise and no coincidence that the editor of Vanity Fair has always allowed the publication of anti Michael Jackson articles. Carter did /do not wish to displease and to disappoint people who are his friends and who despise Jackson!

Some people who do not like Carter, describe him as an opportunist and a hypocrite who forged a good name for himself while he was in Spy and then as soon as he became the editor of Vanity Fair, he sold his soul and pen to the same people he criticized harshly!

Two more points before ending this blog!

If you have read the blog carefully, you must have noticed that by 2013 Advance Publications hold 31% stake in the cable entertainment company Discovery Communications. As far as I know, Aphrodite Jones works for Discovery Communications. Could this be the reason behind Jones change of mind about Jackson? Did Aphrodite Jones want to please her new boss?

If you do not know what Jones has said, let us enlighten you; Aphrodite Jones had an interview on Jordan’s radio in November 2013; while she was still confident about Jackson’s innocence in 2005, she said that she did not know about the Chandlers case. She added that June Chandler’s testimony in 2005 was “persuasive” and that made her to believe that something was “wrong”; she needs to do her own research and until then she cannot know.  However in her book, Michael Jackson Conspiracy, she does not judge June Chandler’s testimony believable. We will get back to this topic later in other blogs.

And the last one; as we read above, the Newhouse Empire like many other publication houses and the media in general suffers crises. Several Newhouse magazines have disappeared and even Vogue and Vanity Fair has issues. The Internet has been identified as one of the reasons behind the crises; nevertheless it is also used as a survival tool by all the suffering media. Graydon Carter has his own “rescue plan”:

http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2009/07/graydon200907

July 2009 Editor’s Letter

The Paper Chase

by Graydon Carter

Goodness knows, I’m not one to complain, and I’m sure you’re not the sort to, either, but aren’t you growing just a bit tired of reading about the demise of newspapers—in the papers themselves? It’s no wonder readership is down. Who has the patience to hear endless whining about someone else’s misfortune when your own fortunes are rickety? This is not to say that the health and vigor of the nation’s dailies are not vital to the intellectual health and vigor of the commonwealth as a whole, or that newspapers aren’t an essential force in keeping a watchful eye on corrupt politicians and venal corporate overlords—neither of which are in short supply these days. I would also hope you feel that the loss or even weakening of the nation’s principal daily, The New York Times, would mark an end to life as we know it. The Internet is partly to blame for all of this, and perhaps micro-pricing or gated content will be part of the solution. “Youthing” down a paper to attract 21-year-olds isn’t the answer: the only way you’re ever going to get the average 21-year-old to read a daily newspaper is to wait 9 years until he’s 30. My suggestion to newspapers everywhere is to give the public a reason to read them again. So here’s an idea: get on a big story with widespread public appeal, devote your best resources to it, say a quiet prayer, and swing for the fences [] []

Even though Carter tries hard to express his thought in an intellectual and clever way, bottom line he talks about scandals. It is enough to check out some of Vanity Fai’s moves to see that it uses the same old tricks as any tabloid: Michael Jackson “big stories”, Mike Myers case, Miley Cyrus story, Lindsy Lohan, Janet Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc. Vanity Fair’s article on B.J. Novak published on February 5, 2014, was knowingly written in a provocative way to enrage Jackson’s fans and to force them to visit VF’s site. All the traffic on the site and the comments for and against the article, were exactly what Carter was looking for. 

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