It was during their collaboration on 1983’s “Say Say Say” that former Beatle Paul McCartney is said to have advised Michael Jackson to invest some of his enormous wealth in music publishing.
“This is what I do. I bought the Buddy Holly catalog, a Broadway catalog,” McCartney told the young singer. “Here’s the computer printout of all the songs I own.” Jackson was fascinated." Paul McCartney to Michael Jackson
It was sound financial advice that McCartney may have come to regret giving on this day in 1985, when Michael Jackson purchased the publishing rights to the vast majority of the Beatles’ catalog for $47 million, outbidding McCartney himself.
In 1969, the British company Associated TeleVision completed a messy and contentious takeover of Northern Songs, which in turn led Lennon and McCartney to pull out of their contract for future compositions and to sell off their own shares in the company.
More than 15 years later, in 1985, as ATV prepared to sell its entire publishing catalog, Paul McCartney anticipated purchasing it himself, only to be thwarted by Michael Jackson, who was then at the peak of his financial power.
What happened to the Beatles Catalog after MJ died? Jackson had sold off some of the catalog for 95 million to Sony to subsidize his legal battles and lifestyle.
The publishing rights to most of the Beatles' biggest hits are owned by one entity, a joint venture between the late Michael Jackson and the music arm of Sony Corp. It's called Sony/ATV, and it also owns the rights to songs written by Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Taylor Swift and many more . SEE LIST
The post-script to this story is that as of 2018, Sir Paul will be able to start recouping his ‘lost’ songs in the United States. Due to the nation’s copyright laws, all songs written before 1978 can be reclaimed by its original author after 56 years, so as of 2018 the songs McCartney wrote in 1962 – including ‘Love me do’ – will be his again, with the rest of the catalog trickling back to him over the next eight years… At which point he’ll be 84.