Three songs from Michael Jackson’s first posthumous album Michael were pulled from streaming platforms on June 30th, including Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, and TIDAL. Since the LP was released in 2010, there’s been controversy over whether “Keep Your Head Up,” “Monster,” and “Breaking News” actually contain Jackson’s vocals, and since 2014 a lawsuit has accused the song’s producers of violation of consumer laws, unfair competition, and fraud.
Update — 8/10: The parties have agreed to settle the lawsuit, Billboard reports, and the three songs are going to remain unavailable. Sony and Jackson’s estate said in a joint statement that removing the songs was “the simplest and best way to move beyond the conversation associated with these tracks once and for all.” Read the original article below.
A spokesperson for the late singer’s official website said the removal “had nothing to do with their authenticity.”
“I can confirm that the three Cascio tracks on the 2010 album Michael are no longer being made available by Sony Music for purchase or streaming but I should point out that the removal of these three songs has nothing to do with their authenticity,” read the statement that was provided to the fansite Behind the Mask. “The Estate and Sony Music believe the continuing conversation about the tracks is distracting the fan community and casual Michael Jackson listeners from focusing their attention where it should be — on Michael’s legendary and deep music catalog.
The authenticity of the vocals on the removed songs has been questioned by the King of Pop’s own mother, sister La Toya, nephew Taryll, and children Prince and Paris. At the time of Michael’s release, Sony Music Group said it had “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.”
In June 2014, a fan named Vera Serova filed a class action lawsuit against Sony Music, Jackson’s estate, and the song’s producers Edward Cascio and James Porte for violation of consumer laws, unfair competition, and fraud. Three appeals court judges ruled in the estate and Sony’s favor in August 2018, removing both parties from the case. Cascio and Porte remain in the lawsuit, which is currently in California Supreme Court.
In other King of Pop news, Sonic the Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka recently appeared to confirm Jackson wrote the music for the Sonic 3 soundtrack before saying his comments may have been lost in translation. There is also an authorized biopic about the artist in the works from Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King.