Off the wall
Michael Jackson is found not guilty, but still faces pressing problems - an accountant revealed during the trial that Jackson currently spends $20-30 million a year more than he earns. Dude, live within your means!
Nelson George on MJ...
"Is Michael Jackson's career over? I don't believe so. He's too ingrained into the cultural DNA of two generations for him to become a totally insignificant figure. Will he sell 21 million records again? No. In fact its likely that 'Thriller' (which now behind the Eagles' Greatest Hits for most single albums sold) will never be matched by any album of new material. The business is so different than it was twenty years ago that to sell those numbers today is absolutely impossible.
To reclaim his place in world Jackson should refocus on his strenghts - he's needs to do his first American tour in 15 years and help people remember how good he was. But it shouldn't be one his big budget King of Pop extravaganzas. He needs a stripped down show, that emphasizes his vocals, that plays smaller venues like Radio City Music Hall, not Madison Square Garden, where his true fans can feel close to him. This is a strategy very similar to what Prince employed in the years before his comeback with Musicology.
Taking another leaf from Prince's cap Jackson needs to use his web site to sell records directly to his fans. A new Michael Jackson album, sold directly to consumers via the web and a distribution deal with a major label, would bring in tons of cash and allow him to be viable again. A scaled back, contrite Michael Jackson can be a part of the musical fabric of this nation for another two decades. But if he tries to act like its 1984 again he'll seem ever more out of touch than he already does."
ADDED More on Jackson's finances from the Guardian... excerpts...
"For a man often portrayed by his defence team as a naive Peter Pan, unaware of the machinations of those around him, Jackson showed an extraordinary shrewdness in the way he first acquired the Beatles catalogue. In 1984, he had been collaborating with Paul McCartney, who mentioned to Jackson his plans to buy the catalogue himself from the Australian businessman Robert Holmes á Court. But before McCartney could make his next move, Jackson telephoned John Branca, his lawyer, and, for $47.5m, the deal was done.
The catalogue should have been a source of lasting economic security - but economic security, it turned out, was not to be Jackson's preferred mode of mega-celebrity. Over the next two decades, successive lawsuits brought against him would bring into the public domain the astonishing details of his spending. There were, for example, the extravagant transportation arrangements for the 1987 Bad tour: a bus, a plane and a helicopter had to be available, all at the same time. There was the video for Bad, directed by Martin Scorsese, which cost more than $2m, according to Connolly's investigations. Then there was Neverland itself, purchased for $26m in 1988, not to mention the Rolls-Royce he bought Branca as a thank-you for reaching the deal.
... Jackson is now also understood to be considering a deal to sell Neverland and various rights, perhaps including ringtones of his songs, for $35m, to investors who want to turn the ranch into a theme park. The question now is whether, with no new record contract, he will be able to generate any significant revenues again from the sale of records or tours. Despite his belief that each record will do better than the last, the opposite has held true. His most recent release, the greatest hits collection called Number Ones, has sold just 906,000. The singer last toured in 1997, when his 40 shows grossed between $80m and $90m, according to various reports - making him second only to U2 that year. It is far from clear that he would generate anything like that success if he took to the road again."
More indepth coverage on Jackson's financials from CNN here.
I fought the law and...
Boing Boing hits up the EFF 's "comprehensive, accessible guide to the law and blogging, aimed at bloggers who are worried about protecting their sources' anonymity, about libel, about copyright and trademark infringement claims, and all the other legal risks that might stop a blogger from saying their piece." Link. Based on US law, of course, but worth a look. Any lawyer-types/media know-it-alls care to comment on similarities/differences with our laws and theirs?