Michael Jackson and Communicating Through the Language of Music

Much has been written about the shocking and untimely death of Michael Jackson.  He was truly one of the greatest communicators of all times. There is unlikely to be anyone like him again.

As David Segal wrote in The New York Times, “On the most basic level, this is matter of business and math. Michael Jackson has sold an estimated 100 million copies worldwide of the 1982 album ‘Thriller,’ which spent more than 31 weeks at the top of the Billboard charts. It’s one of those high-water marks that nobody  will touch because record stores are vanishing, and along with them, megahit albums are vanishing, too.”

Today’s performers also are contending with the distractions of the Internet, hundreds of cable channels and social networks, which drain away potential fans.

While his passing is sad, Michael Jackson’s great legacy will be his uncanny ability to communicate through the language of music — in words, pictures and actions. The lyrics from his most famous albums resonate with passion – “The way you make me feel,” and “I just can’t stop loving you” are just two examples. In reality, these were odes to his fans. They understood that he was really talking about them. And the love was mutual.

His dancing and mesmerizing moonwalk took his music to a new level. He captured the hearts and imaginations of fans around the world. From the tips of his toes to his sweet high-pitched voice, he was communicating with everything he had. He held nothing back and his fans loved him for it.

There is a lesson here for company CEOs. As I said in an earlier post, a CEO’s honest passion and belief in the vision he has for his company will inspire people to follow. You get more people to change by showing them something that affects their feelings than with a detailed factual analysis. Michael Jackson was a shrewd businessman when it came to striking deals, but his ability to communicate his passion through the language of music will be his most enduring legacy.

Leave a Reply


  1. It seems like the only time that Michael Jackson was really permitted to be honest with himself and his fans was through his music. His authenticity on stage rang so true it reverberated around the world a million times over.