Umair Haque considers the numbers being thrown about right now:
Let's use MJ's tragic death as a mini case-study. $300 million over, for example, 25 years? That's $12 million a year.
I'm deliberately leaving out ads, endorsements, concerts, etc., to focus on the the structural problems in one industry: music.
If the world's biggest pop star only made $12 million a year from his recordings, why would anyone make serious music? Where did the rest of the money go? Why, straight into record labels' pockets. Did they make better music with it? Nope — they made Britney and Lady GaGa. And that's how they killed themselves: by underinvesting in quality, to rake in the take.