What AEG’s Sigh of Relief Means to the Industry
On Wednesday, October 2, 2013, a unanimous jury rejected the suit brought by Michael Jackson’s mother to hold AEG, the promotion company for her son’s “This Is It” tour, financially responsible for negligently hiring Dr. Conrad Murray as her son’s physician while on tour. Murray ‘s conviction of manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson occurred on November 7, 2011.
The defense argued against Murray being an employee of AEG because the agreement between the two was “never fully executed”. Money never changed hands between the two, and the defense pointed out that even if it had, Jackson chose Murray himself, and had it not been for Jackson, AEG would likely have never been acquainted with Murray.
In the music industry promotion companies typically hire multiple personnel on behalf of the artists, and large promoters such as LiveNation and AEG pay all the expenses, employ everyone, and split the profits with the artists. Had the jury decided in the other direction, this would have prompted a huge change in the industry. The fact that the suit alone happened still could produce some alterations in the way business occurs.
The line between who is employed by whom on tours has been blurry throughout history, but the question of liability of a promoter for a tour employee’s actions being raised in court undoubtedly will affect this line moving forward. Promoters and Producers will be more cautious about hiring personnel for tours. However, it is worth noting that most artists would not require around the clock care from a doctor, so Michael Jackson’s situation is an outlier, but nevertheless will still effect the industry in the future.