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Michael Jackson, Inc.: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of a Billion-Dollar Empire Hardcover – June 3, 2014
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"In his meticulously researched Michael Jackson, Inc, Zack O'Malley Greenburg has brilliantly shown us a side of the late King of Pop we've never seen before: The mercurial but oh-so-canny businessman who made hundreds of millions in his lifetime and is on his way to making even more after his untimely death." (William D. Cohan, New York Times bestselling author of Money and Power and The Price of Silence)
"A fascinating, fresh, detailed account of how Michael Jackson changed the game for artists in the entertainment industry. Packed with new angles and insights, Greenburg avoids cheap sensationalism in favor of real, research-based reporting. The result is at once a story of Jackson's remarkable business acumen, as well as a cautionary tale about the price of the ticket. While Jackson's success came at a great cost, reading this book makes clear how he paved the way for generations of artists to come." (Joseph Vogel, author of Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson)
"Zack follows every step of the way as the King of Pop becomes the Citizen Kane of Pop, creating an empire so strong that even Jackson’s most mind-boggling excesses couldn't bring it down. Michael Jackson Inc. is the deepest examination and most resounding proof yet that Jackson was as pioneering in business as he was in music -- a pathfinder in the establishment of Artist as Brand." (Jem Aswad, editor-in-chief of SPIN)
"Jackson was crazy like a fox, and could be as cold in business as he was hot onstage and in the studio. I'm crazy for this gripping, beautifully-reported book." (Michael Gross, author of House of Outrageous Fortune)
“The King of Pop is perfectly captured by Zack O'Malley Greenburg, who has a journalist’s eye for detail with Michael Jackson, Inc. The words dance across the page, the mark of a writer with vivid, natural storytelling talent. Bravo, Zack!” (Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for the Rolling Stones)
“What a story Zack Greenburg tells well, one that is as absorbing and exciting as Michael Jackson on stage in his prime. It’s a modern, pop version of Citizen Kane.” (Steve Forbes)
"We know the circus that Michael Jackson's personal life became in the media, yet Zack found the stories of who he became in the business world, which was starkly different and industry influencing. Jackson went hard in the vocal booth and even harder in the boardroom. Artist-entrepreneurs like Jay Z, Diddy and Lady Gaga owe him the world; we're indebted to Zack for shedding light on Jackson's business acumen." (Datwon Thomas, contributing editor at Ozy.com)
“We all know Michael Jackson worked hard to become the undisputed King of Pop. Zack Greenburg’s well researched Michael Jackson, Inc. follows the money and shows us how he learned from the best, defied the odds, and turns out to have been just as good at business—making this a fun, compelling read and one of the most incisive looks at the business of show business at its highest level.” (Fab 5 Freddy, hip-hop pioneer and longtime host of Yo! MTV Raps)
“Greenburg explores the brilliance and business acumen of Michael Jackson. He intricately carves the truth behind the man who went from rags to revolutionizing—and paving the way for artists to ultimately become business moguls.” (David Banner, Grammy-winning musician, actor and entrepreneur)
"Greenburg adroitly reviews Jackson's artistic growth and achievements not with pecuniary jargon or obsequious praise, but as a narrative of the fruitful relationships the artist established with others. He includes surprising facts about Jackson's recording breakthroughs as well as his ambitious, and very expensive, long-form music videos, which became the industry standard... A useful, informative examination of this important artist’s career." (Kirkus)
About the Author
Zack O’Malley Greenburg is a senior editor at Forbes and his work has also appeared in The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, Vibe, and McSweeney’s, among others. His first book, the Jay Z biography Empire State of Mind, was published in 2011. A child star, he played the title role in the film Lorenzo’s Oil. He lives in New York.
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It is also a cautionary tale about the unanticipated effects of corporate mergers & acquisitions - in this case, Jackson, ended up owning half of the Sony/ATV music catalog (worth billions) but also having a separate relationship with Sony as a recording artist (when his label, CBS/Epic, was eventually acquired by Sony). This dual relationship of being co-owner and contractor seems to me to be at the root of the disputes and frustrations that soured a previously good business arrangement between Jackson & Sony. He had several albums still to deliver under his recording contract, but when he became unhappy with them, couldn't afford to legally dispute and/or walk away, because the rest of his fortune was too attached to the same company.
The book is well written and well-documented with numerous interviews and little reliance on third party reports. What it doesn't do is explain the 'why" of some of Jackson's later decisions. There are several clues, however. For example, at one point after Jackson's acquittal & return to the Unites States, he strongly considered selling his stake in the Sony/ATV catalog in order to liquidate and pay off debts. But he was advised not to do so.
From a financial/business standpoint that was probably good advice, but I doubt that it was the right advice (on a personal level) for someone who had just been through the most devastating personal wringer. Going back to work was the solution Jackson chose (rather than sell) and we know how that worked out. It makes you wish someone would have said, 'you've been working since you were six. It's OK to cash in and just enjoy.' Unfortunately, Michael been trained that 'the show must go on.'
There are few angles of the Michael Jackson story that have been left unexplored. This was one of them, and this book looks at it spectacularly.
Every Michael Jackson fan should read it but actually, it will probably be as interesting or more interesting to general business readers who can only name one or two Michael Jackson songs.
Most recent customer reviews
All of MJ's genius was glossed over - how he figured out his dance moves, how he...Read more
wasn't sure what to think exactly.Read more