The laboratory of list makers at Forbes has just released its ninth annual 'Top-Earning Dead Celebrities' recap. Iconic pop musicians (see Elvis and John Lennon) have long been standbys on the list, but this year marks the emergence of Michael Jackson at the number three spot.

Since Jackson passed away in June, his estate has earned roughly $90 million -- a staggering sum even with all the media and public attention surrounding his death. In the past four months, Jackson has sold nearly nine million albums worldwide and yielded almost six million digital downloads.

"Sony shelled out $60 million for the rights to produce 'This is It,' the highly anticipated movie featuring rehearsal footage of what was to be a 50-date concert engagement at London's O2 area," wrote Lacey Rose and Dorothy Pomerantz on Forbes' website this morning. "The $60 million advance will be split between Jackson's estate and concert promoter AEG. The estate, AEG and Sony will divvy up any profits from the movie."

Forbes notes that the road to earnings should remain open to the King of Pop for quite some time. Jackson still maintains an endlessly valuable stake in his music and image. Like other icons before him, he is likely to continue making money with a combination of new entertainment ventures, advertising and a whole lot of merchandise.

Check out the list and recap here.