A lawsuit against the Michael Jackson estate and Sony Music, that alleged the label had released songs by a Jackson impersonator, has been settled after eight years.
Back in 2014, Jackson fan Vera Serova filed a class-action lawsuit against Sony Music, the Jackson estate and producers.
They claimed that three cuts on the late singer’s posthumous 2010 album ‘Michael’ – ‘Monster’ (featuring 50 Cent), ‘Keep Your Head Up’ and ‘Breaking News’ – were sold as official Jackson recordings, despite multiple accusations that they’d been sung by someone else.
In 2010, Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson claimed that “some of the tracks on the album are fake”. His sister LaToya Jackson said: “It doesn’t sound like him.” Taryll Jackson, Jackson’s nephew, also commented on how the songs had been made in a “sneaky and sly” fashion.
Some Jackson fans have long disputed the assertion that the tracks actually feature the artist’s vocals.
Last month, ‘Monster’, ‘Keep Your Head Up’ and ‘Breaking News’ were all removed from the ‘Michael’ album on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Jackson’s official website confirmed that the songs were no longer available online, but claimed the move “had nothing to do with their authenticity” (via American Songwriter).
The message added: “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 catalogue.”
According to Rolling Stone, the lawsuit finally reached its conclusion yesterday (August 10) in the California Supreme Court. The details of the settlement were not disclosed.
In a joint statement to Billboard, Sony and the Jackson estate wrote: “Regardless of how the Supreme Court may rule, the parties to the lawsuit mutually decided to end the litigation, which would have potentially included additional appeals and a lengthy trial court process.”
They added that the recent removal of the songs from major streaming platforms was “the simplest and best way to move beyond the conversation associated with these tracks once and for all”.
Neither party confirmed whether the tracks in question had been faked.
The songs reportedly came from a 2007 recording session in New Jersey with producer Eddie Cascio. However, their authenticity was disputed prior to the release of ‘Michael’. Cascio defended the recordings, but Jackson’s son Prince said the vocal takes on the three tracks didn’t match what he’d heard his father perform.
Released in December 2010, ‘Michael’ served as the first posthumous album by Jackson following his death at 50 years old in June 2009.