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Jackson Industry Can't Get Enough


In the shadow of Michael Jackson's public memorial in Los Angeles, the value of Jackson's legacy seems to be growing.

Already, t-shirt and memorabilia entrepreneurs are on the move outside the venue where the memorial is taking place. Jimmy Jam of Jimmy's Jam T-Shirts in South Los Angeles says he's received orders from across the country for custom silkscreen designs in the king of pop's honor. Most of the customers want to turn around and sell the tops, he says.

"These are people who don't normally do that kind of thing," Jam told Los Angeles television station KTLA. "There's so much economic activity being generated from Jackson. It's feeding people. It's keeping a lot of youth who might be out trying to sell drugs or doing gang banging to be diverted. It's allowing people to have a decent, honest hustle."

Jam said he would be outside barricades erected around Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to hawk his own Jackson memorial designs for $10 to $20 a piece.

Meanwhile, merchandise intended to be sold in conjunction with the star's 50-stop showcase in London is being sold online, with t-shirts going for as much as $40. Concert promoter AEG Live has already found a way to save its own shirt: Fans who purchased tickets to the sold-out series can opt to receive special souvenir tickets instead of refunds. Most of them have.

The promoter, in fact, seems likely to recoup if not profit. It owns footage of Jackson's last rehearsals -- footage that could be fodder for a DVD. And it's still unlcear what AEG will do with the all-star content on display at today's memorial.

The business of Jackson's memorial has also been a minor shot in the arm for the city of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reports that memorial-related tourism could bring in $4 million in extra spending in the area this week.

In the New York Times this week author Bob Greene opines that, like Elvis Presley, Jackson's best days, economically, may be ahead. "Presley, in death, became an enormous earner," he writes.

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