A saga that began eight years ago, when a Michael Jackson fan filed a class action lawsuit claiming that three songs from the posthumous 2010 album Michael had used fake MJ vocals, has resulted today in the three songs being pulled from Spotify and Apple Music. “Breaking News,” “Monster” and “Keep Your Head Up” had been rumored to feature vocals not of Jackson, but of singer Jason Malachi, leading to the suit.
Jackson’s estate and Sony Music won the lawsuit — largely because no one could prove that they intentionally deceived fans — but never really were able to convincingly demonstrate that the vocals on the three songs were indeed Jackson’s.
In removing the songs from streaming services, the Jackson estate and Sony do not concede that the vocals were fake. Instead, they argue that the issue has become too much of a distraction: “The Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music decided to remove the tracks ‘Breaking News,’ ‘Monster’ and ‘Keep Your Head Up’ as the simplest and best way to move beyond the conversation associated with these tracks once and for all. The focus remains where it belongs — on the exciting new and existing projects celebrating Michael Jackson’s legacy. Nothing should be read into this action concerning the authenticity of the tracks — it is just time to move beyond the distraction surrounding them.”
To all but the most die-hard MJ fans, the pulling of these songs will not be a big deal. The Michael album was perhaps his least regarded release — a rushed posthumous collection that went away as quickly as it came. And these three songs were among the weaker tracks on that album.
Our guess is that pulling these songs won’t end the discussion or the drama about the legitimacy of songs in the Jackson vault. In addition, there are dozens of other songs posted on YouTube that purport to be sung by Jackson, but are clearly being performed by others.