Michael Jackson songs removed from streaming services to 'move beyond' fake vocals controversy

·2 min read
Michael Jackson songs removed from streaming services to 'move beyond' fake vocals controversy

Three tracks from Michael Jackson's posthumous 2010 album "Michael" have been removed from streaming services amid claims that the King of Pop never sang them.

Jackson's estate and Sony Music withdrew the tracks "Breaking News," "Monster" and "Keep Your Head Up" — which fans insist use singer Jason Malachi's vocals and not Jackson's — from the album "as the simplest and best way to move beyond the  conversation associated with these tracks once and for all." The tracks are no longer accessible on Spotify or Apple Music.

"The album's remaining tracks remain available," read a statement from Jackson's estate and Sony Music to USA TODAY Wednesday. "Nothing should be read into this action concerning the authenticity of the tracks –it is just time to move beyond the distraction surrounding them."

This Feb. 1, 1993 file photo shows Pop superstar Michael Jackson performing during the halftime show at the Super Bowl in Pasadena, California.
This Feb. 1, 1993 file photo shows Pop superstar Michael Jackson performing during the halftime show at the Super Bowl in Pasadena, California.

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The latest development comes after Jackson fan Vera Serova sued Sony Music in 2014. At the time, Serova filed a class action lawsuit for violations of the Unfair Competition Law and the Consumers Legal Remedies Act due to claims that Jackson was misrepresented as the tracks' singer, according to Variety and Billboard.

Serova also claimed that producers Edward Cascio and James Porte, who allegedly recorded the songs in 2007 before Jackson's 2009 death from an accidental overdose, knew the songs were counterfeit, according to online records of the 2020 appeal. The lawsuit against Cascio and Porte is still ongoing.

The court ruled in favor of the estate and Sony Music in 2018 since both parties could not determine the identity of the vocals, they were not liable for charges.

“Under these circumstances, Appellant’s representations about the identity of the singer amounted to a statement of opinion rather than fact,” California Appellate Justice Elwood Liu said at the time.

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Sony Music obtained rights to Jackson's music catalog in a landmark $750 million deal in 2016. The deal came in huge relief to his estate which had been consolidating the singer's debts through new ventures. The deal does not give Sony Music rights to songs Jackson wrote or his master recordings. Previously, the company had struck a $250 million deal in 2010 with Jackson's estate for rights to the late singer's unreleased material, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"Michael" was Jackson's first posthumous album and consisted of unreleased tracks, though rumors surfaced surrounding the vocals on the album.

“We have complete confidence in the results of our extensive research as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael that the vocals on the new album are his own," Sony said in a November 2010 statement.

Contributing: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michael Jackson songs removed from streamers amid fake vocal claims