George Michael's already massive estate could bring in $10 million more over the next two years, thanks to streams and downloads

By Char Adams
December 28, 2016 01:15 PM
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George Michael‘s already massive estate could stand to see up to $10 million more over the next two years as his music soars in popularity in the wake of his death.

The beloved pop legend sold about 100 million albums worldwide during his nearly 40 years of fame, and his estate value is estimated at $125 million — not including the British singer’s art ventures, according to entertainment attorney Donald David, who has represented the estates of Tupac Shakur and TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez after their deaths and currently represents the estate of deceased Wu Tang Clan member Russell “Ol’ Dirty Bastard” Jones.

Michael died of heart failure and was found in his home on Christmas Day, his rep told PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly. He was 53. Michael’s publicist confirmed that the iconic singer passed away “peacefully.”

To watch the full PEOPLE cover story on George Michael, go to or download the PEN app on your favorite devices. To read more, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.


In the days since his death, fans have been streaming and buying his songs and albums at a rate not seen in Michael’s career in years, according to Forbes. Less than 24 hours after his death, Michael’s solo discography saw more than a 3,100 percent increase in plays on Spotify globally.

And the sudden rise in popularity of his music will likely benefit the British singer’s estate in the years to come, David tells PEOPLE.

“His estate could see somewhere in the vicinity of $7 to $10 million,” he says. “The music already, in terms of streaming and downloads, has increased significantly since news of his death.”

George Michael In Concert
Credit: Frank Hoensch/Getty

Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) launched his music career in the 1980s as a band member of Wham! with childhood friend Andrew Ridgeley. The duo released hits including “Last Christmas,” “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Careless Whisper.”

In 1987, Michael released his first solo album, Faith, which sold over 25 million copies and catapulted him into success. His second album, Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 — which featured the song “Freedom ’90” — celebrated its 25th anniversary in September 2015.

To watch the full PEOPLE cover story on George Michael go to or download the PEN app on your favorite devices.

Michael had been working on releasing an album for next year with producer Naughty Boy, the BBC reported earlier this month.