According to American Songwriter, Sony Music owns the rights to Michael Jackson catalog, and has removed three of the late singer’s songs from streaming services.
The songs in question, “Monster” featuring 50 Cent, “Keep Your Head Up,” and “Breaking News,” were all included on Michael, Jackson’s 2010 posthumous album. As a result, only seven of the album’s ten songs are now available on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music.
According to a spokesperson for Jackson’s official website, the move “had nothing to do with their authenticity.”
“I should emphasize that the removal of these three songs has nothing to do with their authenticity,” said the spokesperson. “The Estate and Sony Music believe that the ongoing discussion about the tracks is diverting the attention of Michael Jackson fans and casual listeners away from where it should be – on Michael’s legendary and deep music catalog.”
“Nothing should be read into this action concerning the authenticity of the tracks – it is simply time to move beyond the distraction surrounding them,” Jackson’s estate and Sony Music said in a statement to USA Today.
The announcement comes eight years after a fan sued Jackson’s estate and Sony Music for allegedly using fake vocals on the aforementioned tracks. A judge ruled in 2018 that while neither party knew for certain whether Jackson sang on the songs in question, they were not liable for the fan’s charges.
“Because Sony Music, MJJ Productions, and the Jackson estate lacked actual knowledge of the identity of the lead singer on Breaking News, Monster, and Keep Your Head Up,” court documents stated, “they could only draw a conclusion about that issue based on their own research and the available evidence.”