Michael Jackson’s unfortunate death on June 25 2009 is still very much an open wound for most of his fans. In March of this year, Sony Music Entertainment signed a deal, reportedly worth $250 million, to retain distribution rights of his recordings until 2017, with the aims of releasing seven posthumous albums. The first posthumous album was released on December 14th and was simply titled Michael.
Jackson started working on the album before his death in 2007, working with producers such as Akon and RedOne. The first official single “Hold My Hand“ is a collaboration with Akon, which was recorded in Las Vegas in 2007. There are also other songs featured on the album which were recorded earlier, and some which featured on Jackson’s earlier albums, that have been remixed with some added vocals.
A lawyer on behalf of Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, released a statement ahead of the album’s release, claiming Michael would not want the album to be released:
“If Michael had wanted this music released he would have done so before his death, The songs which are being released on the new Michael Jackson album were unfinished and incomplete tracks that Michael said over and over many times he never wanted released. We should honor Michael Jackson’s wishes”
To add to the controversy surrounding whether Jackson would want the album to be released, many members of his family have claimed that they do not think the vocals on one of the songs, Breaking News, are his. Following the release of these claims a spokesperson for Sony Epic Records stating:
“[the label has] 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.”
Furthermore, Will.i.am, who collaborated with Jackson on the album before his death, has criticised the release and claiming it to be “disrespectful”. Ne-Yo has also suggested that the release is distasteful being shown on camera stating “If Michael was still alive … I don’t think the album would be out yet.”
Do you think the album should have been released without the Jackson family’s consent?