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BRANCA ON FUTURE MJ DEALS: "SHOCK THE WORLD"

The executors of Michael Jackson’s estate are working on releasing music from MJ’s vaults, a musical and deals that will “shock the world,” according to a Los Angeles Times story timed to what would have been Jackson’s 60th birthday.

As the piece points out, the estate has grossed north of $2b in the nine years since Jackson’s death.

Co-executor John Branca says there are several unannounced deals, including a commercial endeavor, though the top priority is the musical that has a 2020 debut on Broadway penciled in.

“We're aiming much, much higher than your standard jukebox musical,” Branca says of the show being written by Lynn Nottage and directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. “It's inspired by the life of Michael, but it’ll be more impressionistic.”

In the decade since Jackson’s death, the estate has been mining the vaults, licensing his image and creating new collaborations and packages of his music. Branca owes much of that activity to paying the estate’s bills.

“Now that we’ve paid off the debt, our biggest challenge is trying to make the right decisions,” Branca says. “In trying to manage the brand we want to do things that capture each facet of who he was. But we start by thinking: What would Michael do?”

Currently, co-executor John McClain is working on a collection of tracks with a “high-profile” producer the estate would not identify.

Sony Music Chief Executive Rob Stringer says that rather than release albums, they will put out “one-off songs” to take advantage of streaming. “There are a few gems out there that we may unearth individually over the next months and years,” Stringer says, “but we're also very, very careful to make sure the fan base doesn’t feel like they've been asked yet again to buy material they have.”

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