He has surpassed his fellow musical icons Prince and David Bowie, who passed away earlier this year, in the list, which has been released by Forbes magazine, reported theguardian.com.
Jackson, who died in 2009, raked in a bumper $825 million in earnings for the 12 months ending October 1, the report said.
The earnings came mostly from the Jackson estate’s $750 million sale of the late singer’s remaining stake in the Sony/ATV music publishing catalog — which includes the rights to many Beatles songs — to Sony Corporation.
Forbes’s estimates were based on pre-tax income, before management and legal expenses, and were compiled through interviews with estate experts and data on record sales, touring and movie earnings.
Sales of Prince’s albums soared after the musician died because of accidental drug overdose in April. Forbes ranked him in fifth place overall with estimated earnings of $25 million, just below Elvis Presley, with $27 million.
Bowie, who died of cancer in January came days after a new album release, outsold both Presley and Jackson in albums and singles in 2016, but the British singer’s overall estimated earnings were $10.5 million, Forbes said.
Golf legend Arnold Palmer, who died in September at age 87, claimed the third spot with earnings of $40 million, mostly from licensing and endorsements of his signature Arnold Palmer iced tea and lemonade drink, leisure wear label, and golf course designs.