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Thread: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story? [MERGED]

   
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    Default The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story? [MERGED]

    I did an advance search of the forums on this topic and I didn't find anything, so forgive me if I missed it. If there is already a whole thread on this, please direct me to it.

    If not, I would like to know: What is the true story behind how Michael won the Beatles' catalog as well as his relationship with McCartney afterwards? I ask because I've heard so many different stories about this and I don't know which is the true story. It leaves me wondering what really happened.

    What's the real, whole story about this? And what happened between Michael and Paul after? From my understanding the catalog didn't just contain Beatles songs but Elvis songs as well as other artists, correct? What else was included in the catalog?
    Last edited by Courtney; 11-03-2013 at 12:28 AM.
    He had an incredible amount of love to give and not enough people to give it to.
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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    I have a couple good articles i can post .
    As far as MJ and Pauls relationship it wasn't a huge blowout. Paul made a few remarks. but still said he respected Michael. I'm not even sure why Paul was miffed, being he didn't even bid on the Catalog when offered the chance. Plus he still received the same owner royalties from his songs as he did when Northern publishing owned the publishing rights . Even Yoko Ono supported Michael buying it because she felt Michael could do the greater good in promoting it and help keeping it's value. She too would reap the benefits of the royalties from the songs. Michael didn't out right own the Beatles songs just owned the publishing rights to them.



    Music Publishing and How Michael Jackson Came to Own The Beatles Songs


    by Keith Hatschek on November 13, 2012


    In 2009 I traveled to Liverpool for a conference and in some free time took the “Magical Mystery [Bus] Tour” which visits many of the historic spots where the lads from Liverpool spent their formative years. One house in particular stuck in my memory. It was the boyhood home of Paul McCartney, an attached row house at 20 Forthlin Road in a nicer working class area of the city.

    Our tour guide mentioned that just behind the window was the sitting room where John would come over in the evening and he and Paul would play their favorite songs together and start experimenting with creating some of their own. I could imagine the two teens sitting together dreaming of some day having their songs played around the world on the wireless.

    Skip ahead to the early 1960s, when the group first caught the attention of Parlophone Records producer, George Martin, and they recorded their historic demo for him. Martin heard the polished vocals and musicianship and decided that with some care, the group now known as The Beatles might have a chance at making the charts. He signed them to Parlophone and within months the group had risen up the charts in the UK and soon after would take the rest of the world by storm.

    One little known aspect of the band’s early history was that they were offered a music publishing deal shortly after the release of their first single, “Love Me Do,” with an established music publisher, Dick James Music. As was standard in the day – and remains largely the same today – the songwriting members of the band were offered a 50-50 deal under a new publishing company called Northern Songs, Ltd. To minimize the Beatles tax liability, the company was set up as a corporation.

    For every pound sterling that a song earned in songwriting royalties, the writers would receive half, and the publisher would retain the other half. (The group’s manager, Brian Epstein, shared in the writer’s half of the song royalties.) Nothing out of the ordinary so far, other than the fact that Dick James Music charged Northern Songs a 10% administrative fee on all income. Their contract also must have included a clause that allowed it to be sold or transferred, another standard deal point in many publishing deals.

    Things got interesting after the group had already sold tens of millions of records and achieved exceptional worldwide radio airplay. In 1967, Beatles manger Epstein died suddenly, and this provided the impetus for Dick James to retire and cash out of his music publishing holdings. Enter ATV, the British television broadcasting company that successfully bid more than any other suitor and acquired the Northern Songs catalog in 1968. Ironically, it was reported that Lennon and McCartney entered the bidding arena themselves to acquire the publisher’s rights to their songs, but they were unsuccessful. This pattern would be repeated again later in this story.

    Fast forward to 1982. ATV is struggling as a company and now has amassed a catalog of 4,000 song copyrights of which by far the most popular are the 250+ composed by the Beatles. They decided to cash out of the music publishing business and sold the catalog to an Australian investor, Rupert Holmes á Court. ATV’s catalog had been offered to Yoko Ono and McCartney in 1981, but they agreed the $40 million asking price was too high. Holmes á Court’s strategy was to strip the company of its assets and sell them off to the highest bidders.

    At about the same time, Michael Jackson had traveled to London to contribute to McCartney’s Pipes of Pan album that yielded the U.S. Number 1 hit, “Say, Say, Say.” They would head over to McCartney’s estate each night after working all day in the studio for dinner and conversations. One night Paul brought out a thick notebook that had copies of all the songs he had begun to acquire through his own post-Beatles publishing company. Jackson was floored by the concept that one could own song copyrights as an investment. Taking the idea back home, he told his attorney, John Branca, to be on the lookout for song catalogs to purchase. Soon after, one of his first acquisitions was a number of songs written by Sly Stewart of Sly and the Family Stone.

    In 1984 news reached Jackson that the Beatles catalog was going up for sale as part of the assets of ATV Music. He instructed his attorneys to purchase the songs if possible. After more than ten months of difficult negotiations, four other high powered bidders, and spending more than one million dollars in legal and accounting fees to do due diligence on the catalog and its earnings, the deal was finally closed and Michael Jackson become the owner of the publishing rights to what is arguably the most revered song catalog in popular music. The purchase price was $47.5 million, as well as a personal appearance by Jackson in Australia on behalf of Holmes á Court. McCartney and Lennon’s estate still received their songwriter’s shares, regardless of who the owner of the publishing was.

    The Beatles catalog started to show immediate return, as the songs remained very active throughout the 80s and into the 90s. In 1995, Sony, which had begun to acquire U.S.-based Columbia Records and Pictures, offered Jackson $90 million to split ownership of his ATV Publishing. The new firm was christened Sony/ATV Music and continued to grow, acquiring not only additional back catalogs of songs, but actively signing many new songwriters. When Jackson died in 2009, his share in Sony/ATV went to his family, who continue to hold their interest in the mega music publishing firm. In 2010, the Jackson estate entered into a publishing administration deal for Mijac Music, Jackson’s own publishing firm, that included all his own songs as well as those he acquired prior to the purchasing ATV Music.

    What Does It All Mean?
    McCartney and Jackson were not the first musicians to recognize the value of song copyrights. One of the first and most successful musician-turned-music publisher was fiddler Roy Acuff. A star on the Grand Ole Opry in the late 1930s, he saw first-hand how many talented songwriters were taken advantage of by unscrupulous managers, agents, or publishers with regard to song copyright ownership shares. In 1942, he co-founded Acuff-Rose Music, the first Nashville-based music publisher. Their guiding principle was “taking care of the songwriters.” Known for their fairness, Acuff and partner Fred Rose eventually published the catalogs of Hank Williams, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, as well as Acuff’s own songs and those of many other hit songwriters.

    But what of the issue of Michael Jackson’s ownership of ATV Music and its subsidiary, Northern Songs? It’s really much ado about nothing from the perspective of the music publishing world. Catalogs are developed, exploited, valued, and sold on a regular basis. The 2012 sale of the EMI Music Publishing catalog to Sony/ATV Music, a deal valued at $2.2 billion dollars, is just the latest example. As part of this deal, Michael Jackson’s estate now owns their half of 38% of the 1.3 million-song EMI Publishing catalog, which further highlights the long-reaching positive effects of his initial shrewd $47.5 million investment back in 1985.

    As for Sir Paul McCartney, USA Today estimated that the Beatles songs generate between $30-45 million each year in royalties. He and John Lennon’s heirs thus are still profiting today. However, in the book Beatles for Sale, author John Blaney explains how Lennon and McCartney ended up selling a substantial portion of their songwriter’s shares in the mid-1960s due to bad advice from Epstein and an effort to reduce the nearly 90% tax burden they carried as newly minted millionaires. (George Harrison’s biting song “Taxman” is an angry diatribe about that rate of taxation.) Still the shares for McCartney and Lennon’s estate, though less than the normal 50% writer’s share, must still amount to millions a year for each.

    In 1968, after his failed efforts to purchase Northern Songs post-Beatles breakup, McCartney founded his own publishing company, MPL Music Publishing, in 1971. It now is one of the most successful independent music publishers in the world. In addition to publishing all of McCartney’s post-Beatles songs, MPL has acquired the song catalogs of Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Fats Waller, Jules Styne, and Meredith Wilson. MPL also administers the songs from some of the most successful Broadway musicals including A Chorus Line, Hello Dolly!, Annie, Grease, Guys and Dolls and The Music Man.

    The moral of the story is that as an emerging songwriter, you will most likely gain more overall songwriting income by entering into a contract with an experienced and reputable music publisher. While it may not be practical to try to retain 100% of the rights to songs you compose, do your best to retain the greatest percentage of ownership and always do your homework (due diligence) before signing any type of publishing rights agreement. Invest in your own success and have an experienced music attorney review any potential publishing contract before you sign.

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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    Here is another good Article from Snopes

    Did Michael Jackson own the rights to the Beatles catalog?

    This is one of those items which is primarily true, but the answer needs to be heavily qualified in order to avoid being misleading


    When we talk about someone owning the "rights" to songs, what we're discussing are publishing rights. Typically, songwriters assign the publishing rights for their songs to music publishing companies, who perform a number of marketing and promotional services to generate revenue for the songwriters they represent:


    Exploitation: One of the more important functions of song publishers is "plugging" songs & getting artists interested in recording a songwriter's work. Your song doesn't make any money if nobody uses it, and song plugging was an especially important aspect of the publishing business prior to the 1960s, when many songwriters were not also performers and primarily supplied tunes for other singers.

    Licensing: Music publishers also administer the granting and collection of royalties for various types of licenses:


    • Mechanical licenses: Songwriters receive royalties whenever someone sells recorded versions of their songs. If a songwriter records his own work, he receives royalties from his record label; if someone else records a cover version of his song, the songwriter receives royalties from that artist's record label.


    • Synchronization licenses: Songwriters receive royalties when their songs are synchronized to visual images, typically for use in films, television programs, and commercials.


    • Print licenses: Songwriters receive royalties for the sale of their songs in printed form, generally either as sheet music or entries in songbooks. Publishers who wish to quote or include song lyrics in a printed work must also obtain permission (and negotiate fees) with whoever holds the publishing rights to those songs.


    • Performing rights licenses: Songwriters receive royalties when their songs are performed live for profit or broadcast on the radio, although these licenses are usually administered by performing rights societies such as ASCAP or BMI rather than publishing companies themselves.



    The key point here is that holding the publishing rights to songs doesn't really give the rightsholder much "power" over those songs. The rightsholder has some latitude in negotiating royalty rates and determining who may use a song in film or print its lyrics, but that's about it. The chief benefit to owning the publishing rights of songs is that standard publishing agreements call for royalties to be split 50-50 between the publisher and the songwriter(s), so owning the publishing rights to popular songs can be a lucrative form of income.


    The Beatles assigned their publishing rights to Northern Songs, a company created by Beatles manager Brian Epstein and music publisher Dick James in 1963. The Beatles (particularly John Lennon and Paul McCartney) were soon earning so much money from songwriting royalties, record sales, concert performances, and merchandise licensing that they were losing over 90% of their income in taxes, and they were advised to find a way of receiving their revenue in the form of capital gains rather than income (the former being taxed at a much lower rate), such as selling their song rights or putting their money into a public company. The Beatles opted for the latter route, and Northern Songs went public on the London Stock Exchange in 1965. Initially, Lennon and McCartney each retained 15% of the shares, George Harrison and Ringo Starr held 1.6% between them, Brian Epstein's NEMS company was assigned 7.5%, and Dick James and Charles Silver (Northern Songs' chairman) retained a total of 37.5%. In 1969, however, the Beatles lost a buyout bid for control of Northern Songs when Dick James and Charles Silver sold their share of the company to Sir Lew Grade, head of Associated Television Corporation (ATV).


    In 1984, ATV's 4,000-song music catalog was put up for sale, and Michael Jackson (who had coincidentally been introduced to the benefits of song ownership by Paul McCartney himself) eventually outbid all other prospective buyers for it, Paul McCartney, was unable or unwilling to raise enough money to pay for the thousands of other songs in the ATV catalog as well. So, for $47.5 million, Jackson acquired the publishing rights to most of the Beatles songs. (The four songs issued on the Beatles' first two singles — "Love Me Do" "P.S. I Love You" and "Please Please Me" b/w "Ask Me Why" — were not part of the package since they were published before the formation of Northern Songs, and the rights to those songs are now controlled by McCartney's MPL Communications. ATV also did not own the rights to George Harrison songs published after Harrison's songwriting contract with Northern Songs expired in 1968, but they did hold the rights to various other Lennon-McCartney songs not recorded by the Beatles.)


    Another key point here is that although Michael Jackson receives 50% of the royalties generated by Beatles songs by virtue of his ownership of the publishing rights, Paul McCartney and John Lennon (and Lennon's estate, now that he's dead) have always received their 50% songwriter's share of the royalties for all Lennon-McCartney songs. Neither ATV's nor Michael Jackson's acquisition of Northern Songs changed that, and Michael Jackson did not receive royalties that would otherwise be going to the Beatles had he not acquired the publishing rights to their songs (except that, obviously, if Paul McCartney had bid for the publishing rights to the ATV Catalog, he and Lennon's estate would be splitting 100% of the royalties rather than 50%).


    As a closing note, we should mention that Sony Corp. paid Michael Jackson $95 million in 1995 to merge ATV with Sony and form Sony/ATV Music Publishing, a 50-50 joint venture, so it's probably more correct to say that Jackson owned half the rights
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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    Two very GREAT finds. Thank you SO much for these!


    So basically, people make this whole thing out to be more than it really is. The articles really helped with my understanding how all the royalties work. Somebody owned the catalog, not McCartney or Lennon, before Michael and Paul didn't bid on it. Michael had every right to do so. I don't see the big deal if the Beatles still earn their fair share. Not much really changed except the owner. If it weren't Michael who won the bid, I feel like this wouldn't be as big of deal as it has been made to be. I also find it interesting that Ono supported it.

    Thanking you for clearing this up for me! I really appreciate it!
    He had an incredible amount of love to give and not enough people to give it to.
    I love you, Michael.
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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    Paul was offered first buyer's rights, but he didn't want it as he felt it was unfair to spend so much on his own songs, he didn't want the other songs in the catalog, and he didn't want to have to go into a partnership with Yoko Ono in order to get them.

    Paul owns other people's catalogs too, like Buddy Holly's music, which he has licensed out to adverts in the past.

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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    I always get the feeling that Beatles fans are more pissed than Paul himself that Michael owns the Beatles songs.

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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    Quote Originally Posted by la_cienega View Post

    Paul owns other people's catalogs too, like Buddy Holly's music, which he has licensed out to adverts in the past.
    But no one is pissed with Paul like people were eith Michael when he authorized the Revolution song for the Nike commer, that's not fair! and I don't like Paul himself lies how Michael got the catalogue.

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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snow White luvs Peter Pan View Post
    But no one is pissed with Paul like people were eith Michael when he authorized the Revolution song for the Nike commer, that's not fair! and I don't like Paul himself lies how Michael got the catalogue.
    Paul gets a pass because he's a Beatle and as we all know The Beatles are media darlings.

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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    As much as it pisses me off despite the "we're are more popular than Jesus fiasco," (I'm a non believer but John Lennon said that on purpose) media wordships them.

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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    What's funny about the whole ''Bigger than Jesus'' thing is that the media as pretty much forgiven John Lennon for that comment but can you imagine if Michael said that? The media would bring that up every chance they got in articles and news reportings

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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    Quote Originally Posted by analogue View Post
    What's funny about the whole ''Bigger than Jesus'' thing is that the media as pretty much forgiven John Lennon for that comment but can you imagine if Michael said that? The media would bring that up every chance they got in articles and news reportings
    "Self proclaimed Bigger Than Jesus popstar John Lennon who posed naked with his wife on this weird album cover as if he needed to prove his sexuality and who beat his first wife and neglected his sons and was a heroin addict, recently said..."

    "Elvis Presley who owned a chimpanzee named Scatter he used to wrestle women and once reportedly said black people were only good to spit shine his shoes and who had sexual relations with his wife while she was 14, the self professed "King" who's music sales have been exaggerated by his record label recently was found to have...."

    It'd be interesting to try rewriting articles about other celebrities using the same trashy things to say about them as they do with MJ.

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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    Actually, I really enjoyed researching abouy this a while ago and now reading it here. It's written as if it's a fiction story(I'm weird i know). It's really cool to read what Michael did, and that attorny's even offered the Beatles the cataloge, without Michael "snatching" it away cause he's after the money.

    I really liked that.

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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    Those quoted articles la cienega posted are absolutely nasty (I don't know how much of then are true) but we all know they've been even nastier to Michael.

    I still don't get why people who are Beatles' fans only are still so pissed with Michael if Paul owns other catalogues as well. I haven't seen Buddy Holly's fans being pissed with Paul about it. Racism!

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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    Quote Originally Posted by la_cienega View Post
    "Self proclaimed Bigger Than Jesus popstar John Lennon who posed naked with his wife on this weird album cover as if he needed to prove his sexuality and who beat his first wife and neglected his sons and was a heroin addict, recently said..." "Elvis Presley who owned a chimpanzee named Scatter he used to wrestle women and once reportedly said black people were only good to spit shine his shoes and who had sexual relations with his wife while she was 14, the self professed "King" who's music sales have been exaggerated by his record label recently was found to have...." It'd be interesting to try rewriting articles about other celebrities using the same trashy things to say about them as they do with MJ.
    LOL. Also Sullivan should write a book about Elvis lamenting if he died as a virgin (he could ignore LMP - like he does ignore her in MJ's story as well), since many of Elvis' girlfriends claimed they never had sex with him - he only liked to talk while they were in bed.... One even claimed she thought he was impotent because of the drugs.

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    Default Re: The Michael/Paul McCartney/Beatles Catalog Story - What's the real story?

    Quote Originally Posted by respect77 View Post
    LOL. Also Sullivan should write a book about Elvis lamenting if he died as a virgin (he could ignore LMP - like he does ignore her in MJ's story as well), since many of Elvis' girlfriends claimed they never had sex with him - he only liked to talk while they were in bed.... One even claimed she thought he was impotent because of the drugs.
    I'm stunned the world has ignored this fact, well, I'm convinced now. I mean, all we need is one person for a story to be definitive and then we can ignore everyone else who just doesn't really do enough for us and not research anymore about the person who said it or what else they've said or any other comments, because that should be enough really.

    I also remember a kiss and tell from a model who slept with Leonardo DiCaprio in the late 90s after Titanic - she said all they did was hold each other in bed for one night. I remember it because even as a kid I was like, "This is a pointless kiss and tell." I guess we can also tell he'd never been with a woman at that point, if ever. Anyone notice how many women Leo dates and how few ever speak about him sexually? How he likes hanging out with his male buddies?

    Honestly, it would be really funny to start rewriting stories in the same angle they choose to write about MJ. Just putting those Lennon/Elvis stories together made me think about how jarring it would be to read anything like that in an introduction to any of them, or inserted flippantly throughout the article like it's necessary. I remember the AV Club reviewing Bad 25 and throughout they mentioned how MJ slept with chimps and to quote "(or worse)", or how we're unlikely to ever know if the "disturbing" stories about him were true - the media LOVES this angle on the allegations, some critics for Cirque made comments about how suggesting Neverland was a nice place to sleep in probably wasn't a good idea or something like that, even when the Cirque show had nothing to do with that, another comment about The Way You Make Me Feel video as something like, "the video's unconvincing now as we know Jackson would never want to be with a woman like that, or any woman," - just constant comments whose entire intent is to undermine and reinforce the stereotypes about him.

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