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    Entertainment industry: Why Michael Jackson sells more in death

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    starfish

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    Entertainment industry: Why Michael Jackson sells more in death

    Post  starfish on Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:56 am

    Entertainment industry: Why Michael Jackson sells more in death

    he phenomenal financial success that Michael Jackson’s estate has recorded within one year of his death invokes concerns over the misery that befalls legacies of dead Nigerian musicians, writes AKEEM LASISI

    When he suddenly died last year, grief shot through the veins of the world. Millions wailed, even if others expressed reservations about the lifestyle that, they believed, contributed to the complications that resulted in his demise at 50. Leaving many also puzzled was the fact that the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, died broke and left some $500m debt behind.

    That was despite the fact that, among other feats, he dominated the Guinness Book of Records in terms of having unbeaten millions that his works sparked in dollars.

    But just a year after, the soul of ever adorable, creative genius and dance wizard Michael Jackson has toppled history again. His estate has yielded about $1bn, while new business plans on his works suggest that the coming years will be as rosy for his legacy.

    According to reports, Jackson’s executors have paid about $133m off his $500m debt. A staggering 24million Michael Jackson albums have been sold around the world, with nine million more in the US alone. A million more records by the Jackson Five and the Jacksons also sold, making a total of about $480m in record sales.

    For the Nigerian music industry, it is time for the mouths of stakeholders to water again. On the occasion of MJ’s death anniversary, a good number of them, starting from the President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, Dele Abiodun, have echoed the eulogy that trails Jackson in death.

    But more importantly, others such as the veteran producer, Laolu Akins, and Chairman of Evergreen Music, Femi Eso, do not want the lesson of the artiste‘s financial success in death to disappear with the wind.

    This is against the background of the fact that probably except Fela Anikulapo Kuti, none of departed Nigerian music stars has been enjoying any meaningful memorials. Besides, much of whatever their works have earned in death have gone into pirates‘ purses.

    Among such are sakara singer, Yusuf Olatunji; apala stars such as Haruna Isola and Ayinla Omowura; Highlife lords such as Bobby Benson, Osita Osadebey, Adeolu Akinsanya, and Oliver de Coque. Of course, works of dramatists such as legendary Hubert Ogunde, Duro Ladipo and Oyin Adejobi are not known to have yielded meaningful proceeds known to the public.

    According to Laolu Akins, who has produced many hit songs — including Shina Peter’s Ace — in the past three decades, a major lesson in MJ’s posthumuos breakthrough is that it is a proper and an enlightened structure that makes good sales, monitoring and feedback possible. Unfortunately, these are absent in Nigeria.

    “All the officials in charge of MJ‘s estate have been able to put the statistics together because of the structure that is in place in the US and beyond,” Akins notes.

    “What that means is that years ago, we ought to have put a similar structure in place for our own industry. Today, MJ is richer in death because the environment encourages works and achievements to grow even better than when the owner of the work is there. The industry in America has put a structure in place to know how much, how well or how badly his works are doing. The $1bn earnings is not the end of it at all. The money will keep coming in for Jackson. We too need to move fast and establish a proper structure for our industry.”

    Another area emphasised by Akins is the energy, discipline and endless creativity that the deceased pop star invested in his talent. According to him, the artiste had developed his talent to a point that it will sell anywhere and anytime.

    “Michael Jackson is richer in death because he worked at his own art. When we work at our own art too, even when the artiste is no more there, the people will have something to appreciate. MJ is legendary.

    “His achievements go beyond talent. It was talent in the beginning. But he worked hard and harder at it until he was able to record the success that the world is still celebrating and rewarding. People can‘t forget him in a hurry. Despite the issues raised on his lifestyle, millions still love him. Some even personalise their relationship with him, naming their kids after him.”

    Although Eso, who promotes highlife music across Africa, collecting evergreen works of dead and surviving highlife singers, agrees with Akins on the need to establish a structure, he believes that unless Nigerian musicians make their works culture-compliant, they cannot get any appeal in any way close to what Jackson is enjoying in death.

    Eso says, “We need to learn to adore the music that is truly ours. Many of our artistes themselves have not been able to appreciate this fact. When an artiste indulges in reggae, for instance, how many people will he be able to carry along in the real sense of it? Will he do it better than Jamaicans? When he engages in R&B, can he beat the Westerners at it? The musician that abandons his people‘s music cannot get to the kind of level we are saluting MJ for.”

    Eso laments the absence of an enabling environment for entertainment workers. ”Because government has refused to help institute an enduring structure, most of our musical icons go about in abject poverty. In death, the tragedy continues. Consider the case of Bobby Benson. At the 10th year anniversary of his death, he was not celebrated. The same thing at the 20th. Compare the cases of Michael Jackson and Bob Marley who are annually celebrated. Fela is the only dead musician that is being remembered and celebrated periodically because he has good and sensitive children in Yeni, Femi and Seun. He has also been celebrated with Fela on Broadway.”

    Beyond the right structure that supports Jackson‘s fortunes, experts also acknowledge the fact that most of the works he left behind are impeccable, irresistible, if not perfect. His videos justify this thinking. In terms of costumes, effects, clarity and overall ingenuity, MJ is the artiste to beat any day - as evident in Thriller, Earth Song, Dangerous and several other videos.

    http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art201007053133593

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