Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Michael Jackson Facebook Concert Unplugged

Planning on spending Saturday in front of your computer, watching the Michael Jackson tribute concert stream on Facebook? Make a new plan.

Milyoni, the Bay Area company that was going to handle the payment and streaming of the show via the social network, says that’s not going to happen anymore because of “legal challenges brought by the music labels that own the rights to Michael Jackson’s lyrics.”

I’m not exactly sure what that means, but the most logical translation would be that Mijac, the company that owns the publishing rights to Jackson’s songs, has complained. Then again, since Mijac is owned by Jackson’s estate, and the concert is theoretically being produced with the estate’s blessing, that wouldn’t make any sense.

Then again, since we’re talking about the Michael Jackson estate, subject to much legal wrangling, anything might go. The “Michael Forever” concert itself has been … troubled from the start.

Not sure how much more time to devote to this, though I’m a bit interested in general about what kind of rights a Web site needs to secure to broadcast a live concert. Off the top of my head, I’m assuming that those rights vary considerably from country to country, which could be a problem for a show like this.

In any case, here’s the statement from Milyoni CEO John Corpus. If I hear from him or anyone else who can shed light, I’ll update:

Due to legal challenges brought by the music labels that own the rights to Michael Jackson’s lyrics, we have been notified by concert promoters Global Live Events and Ridgeline Entertainment that the live Facebook broadcast of the Michael Forever tribute concert has been cancelled. As the technology provider behind the live Facebook broadcast, Milyoni will fully refund all customers who prepurchased access to the concert using Facebook Credits or PayPal.

While social media presents a new opportunity for artists and concert promoters to reach global audiences, it is still a new and disruptive frontier ripe with challenges. Milyoni will continue to work closely with our music and entertainment partners to pursue this new channel of distribution, beneficial to both artists and fans worldwide.

UPDATE: I talked to Milyoni’s Corpus, who couldn’t shed much more light about the issues that killed the livestream — that’s between the concert promoters and one or more rightsholders. But he did note that Milyoni and others have in the past been able to stream concerts globally over the Web, so this stuff is doable. Milyoni says it had pre-sold “hundreds” of tickets in the two days its preconcert Web page was up and running.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald