LOS ANGELES (AP) — An expert who projected Michael Jackson could have earned more than $1 billion on his comeback concerts testified Tuesday that his analysis didn't include a breakdown of the singer's yearly earnings over his lifetime and projected a longer concert tour than the superstar had ever performed.
Arthur Erk, a certified public accountant who is an expert in musicians' royalties, said his analysis didn't take into consideration figures detailing Jackson's spending over the years.
His projection that Jackson would have earned between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion if he performed a 37-month, 260-show tour and crafted a Las Vegas show came under attack Tuesday by a lawyer for concert promoter AEG Live LLC. He said his figures were a conservative estimate of Jackson's earning potential if he had lived.
AEG Live attorney Sabrina Strong attacked Erk's projections, saying they were inconsistent with Jackson's historical spending, earnings or figures of how many sold-out shows Jackson would have performed.
"It wasn't a matter of history," Erk said. "This was going to be a final extravaganza. He was going to do a blowout tour, he would have earned a lot of money."
Erk is testifying for Jackson's mother in her lawsuit against AEG Live, claiming the company is liable for her son's death because it failed to properly investigate the doctor who administered a fatal overdose of an anesthetic propofol in June 2009. At the time of his death, Jackson was preparing for 50 comeback concerts in London called "This Is It," but there was the possibility the singer would have embarked on a worldwide tour.
The accountant based his calculations on documents prepared by AEG, but on cross-examination conceded that the company never projected the singer would earn more than $1 billion after the "This Is It" shows opened. He said he didn't have information regarding Jackson's earnings over his lifetime.