We have finally seen it. Michael Jackson's death ceremony. I have seen parts of it, a bit out of curiosity, but I also enjoy his early music (Bad was actually one of the first songs that gave me the shivers) and I wanted to see other artists perform his covers (meh). I am not here to judge the ceremony, but I should mention that I was sickened by all the hypocritical people that were talking on his final event. Yesterday he was a freak, today he is a saint. That was to be expected, as we have seen it in similar situations before.
I have always been a bit of a conspiracy theorist and the idea of him staging his own death doesn't seem that far fetched for me. Today, in a world that we get live coverage of famous people going to the toilet, we didn't get even one clear picture, movie or anything that could prove the body was really his.
Michael Jackson was heavily in debt, we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. It turns out that his death could be worth in that range. Let's check a few lucrative after his death businesses:
- The O2 concerts: Michael was supposed to have some 50 concerts in the O2 arena to cover some of the debt he has produced over the years. They sold a lot of tickets, and now, when it's clear that the concerts are not going to happen, not everybody is returning the tickets. They are the ultimate fan relic, to keep or to sell on eBay.
- Music and merchandise: After his death Michael became the first artist to sell more than 1 million downloads in one week. Combine that with all other stuff people are buying and you can calculate quite an interesting figure.
- The ceremony: Hundreds of millions of people watching, infinite television stations broadcasting. That should top even the previous two.
I would like to point out again that Michael Jackson was one of the greatest pop artists of our time and I hope I didn't insult any of his fans or family with my critical thinking. If he is still alive, all I can say is good work - you got us all. But in both cases I am interested to know who benefited from this outcome and what figure are we talking about, as I am not able to make an estimate. Hopefully it will be enough to pay for all of his debts and let (him and) his family live a normal life.
UPDATE (26.10.2010): At the time of this post the movie This Is It was nowhere to be seen, supposedly grossing 260 million.