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    Michael Jackson a Bigger Recording Star Than Ever

    Michael Jackson Ebet Roberts/Getty Images

    This Is It was only the beginning.

    Michael Jackson's estate is poised to sign a seven-year, $200 million contract with the late artist's longtime label, Sony Music Entertainment, in what would be the richest recording deal in history, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

    The deal, set to be announced Tuesday, is for 10 projects, including the already released two-disc soundtrack from the concert film This Is It and an upcoming album of never-before-released Jackson music. 

    Considering the deal doesn't include touring or merchandise, this partnership dwarfs the unprecedentedly huge contracts signed in recent years by the likes of Madonna and U2 with the ever-expanding Live Nation.

    "During his life, Michael's contracts set the standard for the industry," estate administrator John Branca said in a prepared statement obtained a day early by the Associated Press. "By all objective criteria, this agreement with Sony Music demonstrates the lasting power of Michael's music by exceeding all previous industry benchmarks."

    Possible "new" efforts could include a remastered release of the King of Pop's 1979 game changer, Off the Wall, a DVD compilation of his pioneering videos and a video game, according to insiders.

    The $200 million is guaranteed, per reports, and the contract could end up being worth millions more depending on the performance of the various projects.

    Things look promising. Not only did This Is It sell more than 5 million copies, but Jackson was the biggest-selling artist of 2009. Buyers snatched up more than 31 million copies of his albums following his death in June, with two-thirds of sales occurring outside the U.S.

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    Pay tribute to the stars we've lost this year in our 2010 memorial gallery.

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