Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dead Celebrities Rock On

Elvis in 1970Image via Wikipedia
The Dudes up in Rock and roll Heaven still know how to make a buck!

The Memphis Business Journal reports that for the second year in a row, the King himself, Elvis Presley has topped Forbes magazine’s list of top earning dead celebrities with $52 million made last year.

The 30th anniversary of the rock star’s death helped boost attendance and merchandise sales at Graceland, the magazine reports. It also noted new ventures such as the Elvis Sirius Satellite Radio show added new publishing and licensing deals.

It rocks that Elvis can still be a music innovator from the grave.

Forbes compared Elvis’ financial pull to living artists like fellow Memphis native Justin Timberlake, who made $44 million last year, and Madonna, who brought in $40 million.

Other dead celebrity earners from the Forbes list include:

  • “Peanuts” creator and cartoonist Charles Shultz came in just under The King with $33 million.

  • Actor Heath Ledger who joined the list in third place with $20 million, mainly made from his role as The Joker in the summer blockbuster “The Dark Knight.”

  • Scientist Albert Einstein, who brought in $18 million mostly from rights to his image and name used in the “Baby Einstein” suite of learning tools.

  • Television producer Aaron Spelling brought in $15 million last year from reruns and DVD sales of shows like “Charlie’s Angels” and “Beverly Hills: 90210.”

  • Actor Paul Newman joined the list as well. Newman will contribute $120 million in sales of his “Newman’s Own” line of food products to charity.

The Beatles are also adding to their income by agreeing to license the rights to their songs to game Rock Band 2. This is a digital first, since you can't even download a Beatles song from iTunes!

NPR and Reuters report that Viacom's MTV Networks has struck a deal to use songs by The Beatles in its popular "Rock Band" video game series, marking the band's first major plunge into the digital music world.

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