In investing, mentorship plays a significant role. After all, someone needs to teach a wanna-be investor what’s the best investment, cryptocurrency, gold, or real estate. Not everyone knows that Michael Jackson invested a lot, too, and even got a little help from his once-friend Paul McCartney from The Beatles gave him some advice. Unfortunately, McCartney would come to regret it…
A Newborn Friendship
Once upon a time, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney were good friends. Of course, it all started with music. They first met in the 1970s, when McCartney wanted Jackson to record a song he was working on at the time, “My Girlfriend.” They didn’t seal the deal right away, and McCartney released the song first. However, the King of Pop did eventually do his own cover, a few years later.
From there, the two hit-makers collaborated frequently. First, Jackson appeared on McCartney’s album Pipes Of Peace, on two different songs, “The Man” and “Say Say Say.” The latter even received a comical music video featuring both legends. Then, McCartney appeared on the track The Girl Is Mine” from the album Thriller. Believe it or not, the two of them wrote the song together while watching cartoons one day!
The Beatles’ Sacred Book
The following year, McCartney’s hosted the young icon in London. During that visit, the former Beatle revealed a secret. McCartney had a big book that tracked all of the money that he made from the Beatles music. Specifically, the money he earned from investing in proper publishing rights. Now, the Beatles didn’t just make songs from record sales, but from songs played in TV, movies, and commercials. Now, McCartney had started buying other songs as well. The book he showed Jackson contained all the songs he bought over the past ten years. He said his earnings for a year were up to $40 million! In today’s money, that’s about $96 million!
Jackson seemed genuinely interested. He even joked that he’d own The Beatles songs one day! As it turned out, he wasn’t kidding. In 1982, the King of Pop heard that the entire catalog of ATV Music, one of the biggest music publishers in the world, would go on sale. As his attorney, John Branca, informed the singer, by purchasing ATV, he would own The Beatles catalog, in addition to almost 4,000 other songs.
In 1985, ATV Music went to auction. There, the old friends found themselves at odds. Eventually, McCartney refused to buy it. Then, Jackson made several huge bids, eventually buying ATV for a whopping $45 million. “You can’t put a price on a Picasso … you can’t put a price on these songs, there’s no value on them. They’re the best songs that have ever been written,” Jackson stated after the purchase.
At first, everything seemed okay between the former Beatle and King of Pop. However, in time, Jackson started licensing the Beatles songs to more and more movies, TV shows, games, and commercials, against McCartney’s wishes. McCartney tried to sway Jackson’s mind, but to no avail. “He won’t even answer my letters, so we haven’t talked, and we don’t have that great a relationship,” he said in 2001. He also shared that he can’t just buy the songs. “The trouble is I wrote those songs for nothing and buying them back at these phenomenal sums… I just can’t do it.” But, eventually, he filed a termination notice to get them back.
Unfortunately, that could prove difficult. Jackson sold the majority of the Beatles catalog, and ATV in general, to Sony in 1995 for $95 million. In fact, many say that’s what kept the Sony Music division alive. Only time will tell if these tracks will end up in the hands of their original creators…