Sony Music entered into a $250 million deal in 2018 for the rights to distribute Michael Jackson’s recordings.
That’s according to a report in the Wall Street Journal citing a person familiar with the agreement, which it says was to last for seven years.
As noted by the WSJ, the deal seems ‘riskier’ following the recent airing of the Dan Reed-directed Leaving Neverland documentary on HBO, which details sexual abuse allegations against the late artist.
Aired on HBO in two parts on Sunday and Monday evening, the explosive documentary that debuted at the Sundance film festival earlier this year focuses on graphic accounts from Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accuse Jackson of abusing them as children.
The Jackson estate has denied the allegations and have filed a $100m law suit against HBO for breaching a non-disparagement clause that appeared in an old contract.
The first part of Leaving Neverland drew in an audience 1.29 million viewers on Sunday night, says HBO, which was the third-largest audience for a documentary on the network in the last ten years.
Three Cogeco Media-owned stations CKOI, Rythme and The Beat in Montreal, Canada have confirmed that they would be pulling Jackson’s music from their schedules following the accusations in the film.
Major radio stations in New Zealand owned by MediaWorks and rival NZME have also removed the singer’s songs from their playlists.
At this stage, no US or UK radio stations have confirmed their intention to do so.
Jackson’s music has been with Sony since 1988 and last year sold over 1.3m album-equivalent units, according to Nielsen stats cited by the WSJ.Music Business Worldwide