Sony Music says the removal of three Michael Jackson songs from streaming services has nothing to do with their controversial authenticity.
In a statement to the fansite Behind The Mask, a representative from the record label confirmed that three tracks from the posthumous compilation album Michael have been removed from streaming services and made unavailable to purchase digitally.
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The tracks in question—”Keep Your Head Up”, “Monster” (feat. 50 Cent) and “Breaking News”—have long been the subject of questions about whether they feature Jackson’s real vocals.
All three tracks are credited to Jackson, as well as Eddie Cascio and James Porte, and are generally referred to as the Cascio tracks.
“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,” the statement from the rep said. “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.”
Over the years, everyone from Jackson’s mother, sister La Toya, nephew Taryll, and children Prince and Paris, have all questioned the authenticity of the vocals on the Cascio tracks.
At the time of the album’s release in 2010, Sony Music Group said they 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.”
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Things escalated to a legal matter in 2014 when a fan filed a class action suit against the label and Jackson’s estate, as well as producers Cascio and Porte for violation of consumer laws, unfair competition and fraud.
A panel of appeals court judges ruled in favour of Sony and the estate in August 2018, removing both parties from complaint, though both Cascio and Porte remain in the suit, which is currently in California Supreme Court.