Three Controversial Michael Jackson Songs Pulled From Streaming Services

The Michael Jackson estate and Sony Music removed three controversial songs from all streaming services. The songs were featured on the 2010 posthumous album Michael. Fans have long believed the songs were not performed by Jackson, although the estate and Sony Music insist the vocals were really recorded by the King of Pop.

Sony Music and the Jackson estate said the songs were removed from streaming services to "move beyond" the controversy, reports Variety. But this should not be seen as an admission that the vocals on "Breaking News," "Monster," and "Keep Your Head Up" were faked. "Nothing should be read into this action concerning the authenticity of the tracks," the two parties said.

"The Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music decided to remove the tracks 'Breaking News,' 'Monster' and 'Keep Your Head Up,' from the 2010 album Michael as the simplest and best way to move beyond the conversation associated with these tracks once and for all," the statement reads in full. "The album's remaining tracks remain available. Nothing should be read into this action concerning the authenticity of the tracks – it is just time to move beyond the distraction surrounding them."

The three songs have been at the center of a long legal battle between fans and the Jackson estate. The songs were allegedly recorded two years before Jackson's death in 2009 with Edward Cascio and James Porte. However, fans believed the vocals were performed by a singer named Jason Malachi. In 2011, TMZ posted a screenshot from Malachi's Facebook page in which he claimed to "confess" to recording the vocals. However, Malachi's manager denied it and claimed the Facebook post was fake.

In 2014, a fan took the estate and Sony to court, alleging that the Michael album's liner notes were a violation of California's Unfair Competition Law and the Consumers Legal Remedies Act because they listed Jackson as the singer. An appeals court ruled against the fan's class-action suit in 2018, finding that Sony and the estate did not know with 100% certainty if Jackson recorded the songs. Therefore, the album cover and promotional materials were all protected under the First Amendment.

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Sony signed a $250 million deal in 2010 to release previously unreleased music from Jackson's vaults. Michael was the first posthumous album and included seven other previously unreleased songs. Sony released a second compilation of completely unreleased songs, Xscape, in 2014. The next major Jackson release from Sony is a 40th-anniversary deluxe edition of Thriller, scheduled for Nov. 18. Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at age 50 from an overdose of propofol.