Michael Jackson's legacy as one of the best singers to ever live has survived the tarnishing of his public image, criminal prosecution, and a heavy debt he was burdened with upon his death in 2009. It is no secret that in the immediate aftermath of his death his catalog began selling in record amounts, with three albums reaching the top of the charts the following week. Then came the somewhat controversial posthumous releases, with the This Is It soundtrack selling over one million copies and the album Michael selling over 200,000 copies in its first week.

Michael's restored image and subsequent record sales paved the way for the singer to clear the $500 million in debt he had accrued. 60 Minutes sat down with John Branca, a co-executor of the Michael Jackson, to talk about the work the estate has done to clear the debt and raise over one billion dollars in the last four years. Branca began by selling the rights for Michael's unreleased recordings to Sony Records for $250 million. He then created the This Is It movie by compiling footage of Michael rehearsing for a comeback tour shortly before he passed away.

From there, other ventures began to present themselves, including 50-50 partnership with Cirque Du Soleil to produce a touring show based upon Michael's music and imagery. Cirque Du Soleil is now preparing to launch a second show using Michael's music.

As part of the examination into Michael Jackson's posthumous earnings and lasting legacy, 60 Minutes sat down with Zach O'Malley Greenberg, senior editor for Forbes Magazine. The show's Lara Hogan also got to take a tour of a warehouse which houses all of Michael Jackson's personal items that have not been sold. Included in this collection are a vast array of luxury vehicles, the old gate to his Neverland ranch, and clothing he wore while on tour. The collection is worth a fortune, but will remain in the warehouse until Jackson's three children come of age, at which point they will determine what is to be done.

The Michael Jackson Estate is now worth over $600 million, and is the subject of contentious debate as members of Jackson's family claim that they have a right to a portion of the money and the legacy. But in the meantime, MIchael's legacy glows brighter than it has in decades. Unfortunately, the singer is not alive to relish in it.

[via 60 Minutes]

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