Jacko's backo. He's starting a new record label with the backing of a company that changed its name today from ID Medical Group to Opus Media.
A music business Web site, Hitsdailydouble.com, speculated that Jackson might be involved when Opus issued a press release today stating that they'd gone into business with a major pop star.
But a check by Fox 411 into the financial filings of ID Medical shows that back in May, when Jackson was freaking out about money and Tommy Mottola, he was busy making the deal with Opus Media's Robert Gordon.
From ID Medical's May SEC filing:
"The Label Agreement contemplates that ToolTrust and MJJ Ventures will form a California Limited Liability Company to operate a music label, tentatively called "Neverland Records." ...
"The Label Agreement provides recording artist Michael J. Jackson with discretion to grant or deny approval of any artist seeking to sign a recording agreement. Mr. Jackson also shall have final approval of all creative elements in connection with master recordings and videos. Ultimately, however, Mr. Jackson's level of participation with the music label (or none at all) shall be determined at his sole discretion. MJJ Ventures may "opt-out" of the Label Agreement if the music label is unable to secure a distribution deal or the music label has not substantially satisfied any material goals set forth in its business plan. Mr. Jackson may opt-out for any reason after three years. In any such case, ToolTrust is obligated to buy out MJJ venture's interest in the music label. "
What's very strange about this endeavor is that ID Medical may be risking its profitable online medical identification business if Jackson's venture proves to be a failure.
According to the same filing:
"The Company is in immediate need of funding to complete the music label venture described above and to carry out day-to-day operations, including funding of the online medical records business. If the Company does not secure financing to sufficiently fund operations, it may lose all amounts paid to MJJ Ventures. There can be no assurance that financing will be available when needed or on terms acceptable to the Company. There can be no assurance that the Company will be able to continue as a going concern, or achieve material revenues and profitable operations."
And here's another update on Michael Jackson's new label: Word is that Jackson's producer Rodney Jerkins will be in charge of the label, which may be distributed by Clive Davis's J Records.
Gordon, the CEO of Opus Media, is excited about his new endeavor with the weird King of Pop.
They met when Jackson tried to get Gordon to direct market his charity single "What More Can I Give?" last year. "Michael had the single and no one at his record company would cooperate and release it," Gordon said. "McDonald's had pledged $30 million to market it, but Sony didn't want it to interfere with Michael's album."
At last we have an answer for what happened to the infamous single. This column reported the McDonald's connection exclusively last October.
"We work with a lot of non profits," Gordon continued. "We have access to over a million people we can direct market to. One conversation led to another, and we realized we could market records to those lists ourselves."
Neverland Records will operate on two levels -- as direct marketing and in record stores, distributed by Clive Davis's J Records. Rodney Jerkins will run the label for Jackson.
Gordon has not met Jackson, by the way. All the deals were done through Jackson's agents and lawyers.
And Jacko will not be the only artist on Neverland. "We're talking to three or four platinum selling acts," Gordon said. "Established stars who want to be part of this plan."
Gordon said he didn't know much about Jackson's financial situation but it didn't matter since an investment bank has signed on to raise the $35 million capitalization.
Stay tuned, because you know it will only get more interesting.