Three Michael Jackson songs featured on the posthumous 2010 compilation Michael have been removed from multiple streaming services amid speculation that vocals not belonging to the “King of Pop” may have been included.
“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,” Sony Music said in a Tuesday statement.
The music giant insisted that the focus should instead be on future projects celebrating Jackson’s legacy. According to the statement, current and future projects include “the Tony-winning Broadway musical MJ, the immensely popular Michael Jackson — ONE show in Las Vegas, an upcoming biopic, and the campaign to celebrate the 40th anniversary in November of Thriller.”
“The album’s remaining tracks remain available,” it added, ensuring listeners that “nothing should be read into this action concerning the authenticity of the tracks — it is just time to move beyond the distraction surrounding them.”
In 2014, a class-action suit against the singer’s estate and Sony Music was filed. According to the suit, Jackson was not the lead vocalist on three of the songs. Because neither members of the estate nor Sony Music executives were present during the recording, their representation of the songs as a product of Jackson “do not fit the definition of speech” that would be regulated.
“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 wrote.
The representation of the songs was “outside the scope of an actionable unfair competition or consumer protection claim in the case,” the court claimed.