Sony Music allegedly admits to distributing fake Michael Jackson tracks.
Following the release of Michael Jackson’s first posthumous album, Michael, fans began to suspect that some of the tracks on the effort were sung by an imposter and not the King of Pop himself. Now, what many brushed off as a conspiracy theory has turned into what court documents says is an admittance on the part of Sony Music that they did indeed use someone else’s voice on at least three tracks on the album.
It all began in 2014 with a fan named Vera Serova who filed a class action lawsuit against Michael Jackson’s longtime friend Eddie Cascio, accusing him and his production company, Angelikson Productions of doctoring songs and selling them through the Jackson Estate and Sony Music.
Cascio and co-writer James Porte both claimed that the tracks were recorded by Jackson in Cascio’s New Jersey home in 2007, but a lack of evidence left holes in their claims. Serova implicated singer Jason Malachi as the impersonator and brought in forensic audiologist Dr. George Papcun to support her claims with a 41-page report that concluded that the songs in question, “Breaking News,” “Keep Your Head Up,” and “Monster,” which features 50 Cent, were not sung by Jackson. The analysis went so far to suggest that the three tracks were missing Jackson’s signature finger snaps and foot stomps.
According to Serova, the lack of media coverage on the subject is due to Sony Music and the Cascio brothers alleged efforts to delete all evidence of any wrongdoing. The only time the story got any major light of day was when Eddie Cascio appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. When the talk show host asked him about accusations that the tracks were not performed by Michael Jackson, he simple responded: “I can tell you that it is Michael’s voice.”
Initially, Michael Jackson’s family pleaded with Sony not to accept the Cascio tracks, according to Michael Jackson connoisseur Damien Shields. At the time, Sony dismissed the request, releasing a statement that they had “complete confidence” that the tracks were legit.
According to Shields, however, Sony Music conceded in December 2016 that the vocals could possibly be forgeries, noting that they didn’t do enough research to confirm before accepting the tracks.
Most recently, on Wednesday, August 22, in a new hearing the entertainment giant officially admitted that “Breaking News,” “Keep Your Head Up,” and “Monster” were all performed by an impersonator.
Originally, Sony tried to get the presiding Judge Ann I. Jones to rule out consumer protection claims and Serova alleges that Sony tricked listeners into buying a Michael Jackson album with fraudulent vocals, but Jones rejected the request, stating that it would not have “prevailed,” according to Digital Music News.