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Sony may boost output of Michael Jackson CDs

TOKYO -- Sony Corp., the owner of rights to Michael Jackson's music, said it may boost production of the late pop icon's CDs after receiving record orders today.

The company's music unit in Tokyo received orders for about 150,000 CDs related to the singer, according to Yoshikazu Takahashi, a spokesman for Sony Music Entertainment Japan Inc. “The amount is unprecedented for one day and we think we need to consider increasing the production of CDs that we plan to sell from July,” he said in a telephone interview.

Jackson's albums occupied all the Top 10 rankings for best- selling music at Amazon.com, Inc. as of 4 p.m. in Tokyo, according to the company's Web site. Jackson, 50, died yesterday in Los Angeles after what appeared to be cardiac arrest, according to UCLA medical officials.

“Michael Jackson was a brilliant troubadour for his generation, a genius whose music reflected the passion and creativity of an era,” Howard Stringer, Sony chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We have been profoundly affected by his originality, creativity and amazing body of work. The entire Sony family extends our deepest condolences to his family and to his millions of fans.”

Sony owns the rights to Jackson's “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” “Bad,” “Dangerous” and “HIStory” albums, the company said in a statement. The singer sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide and was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time, the company said.

'Amazing Talent'

Jackson and Sony also had a venture, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, that included songs by the Beatles and Bob Dylan in its catalog.

“Michael was the kind of amazing talent that comes along once in a lifetime,” Martin Bandier, chief executive officer at Sony/ATV Music Publishing, said in a statement. “He was an incredible recording artist, an insightful businessman.”

Tower Records Japan Inc. set up special sections to sell Jackson's music at its stores in Japan today, Tatsuro Yagawa, the company's spokesman in Tokyo, said by phone.

“Some of his DVDs were sold out at our flagship shop in Shinjuku, and for some of his other products, including CDs, the stock was scarce,” he said.

At the time of his death, Jackson was rehearsing for sold- out shows at London's 20,000-seat O2 arena, with the first concert set for July. In March, Jackson announced he would perform in a series of 50 London concerts promoted by Anschutz Entertainment Group to raise money.

Sony had planned before his death to start selling five of the Jackson's CD packages including “Thriller” and “Bad” from July 8 in Japan.

The company's shares fell 0.6 percent to close at 2,500 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, while its closest domestic rival, Panasonic Corp., slid 0.5 percent. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.8 percent.

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 Sony may boost output of Michael Jackson CDs 
A customer of a local music shop browses through CDs next to copies of pop star Michael Jackson's music, yesterday. Jackson, 50, died in Los Angeles on Thursday. (AP)

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