studio executive friends considered it an awful investment at the time, and essentially told the King of Pop that he should stick to moonwalking and leave the music publishing deals to the suits
“I was sued for sounding like myself”
Erik Devaney

Which is, after all, how studio executives end up with the song rights in the first place, no? “Just sing and let us take care of business.” I had a lot of admiration for someone smart enough to see through all this and ignore the advice.