Everything dead is new again: UMG buys Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra

Universal Music Group recently signed deals giving it control over much of Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra's catalogs and likeness rights, Variety reports. Universal will become the official multiyear licensee for 38 albums and 14 DVDs by Ol' Blue Eyes, and the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of merchandise for the King of Pop.

In an industry always struggling to find the latest thing, UMG is exploiting an increasingly lucrative strategy. Living stars' private lives and public problems often get in the way of business, but dead artists offer a known, popular product, with no drama. And once a celebrity dies, his or her likeness and output can be endlessly manipulated for maximum financial effect.