Michael Jackson Estate & Sony Settle Lawsuit Over Alleged Fake Vocals

Jim Ruyman-Pool/Getty Images

Michael Jackson Estate & Sony Settle Lawsuit Over Alleged Fake Vocals

Jim Ruyman-Pool/Getty Images

A long-running controversy over the authenticity of vocals on a posthumous Michael Jackson album is over, legally speaking. As Billboard reports, Jackson’s estate and Sony settled a class-action lawsuit claiming that three songs on 2010’s Michael were performed by an impostor.

Ever since Michael’s release, some listeners have questioned whether those songs — “Breaking News,” “Keep Your Head Up,” and the 50 Cent collaboration “Monster” — were truly sung by Jackson. The theory was that the voice on those tracks belongs to session singer Jason Malachi, who supposedly admitted as much in a since-deleted 2011 Facebook post. Way back in 2014, Jackson fan Vera Serova filed the aforementioned class-action lawsuit. In 2018, an appeals court ruled that it didn’t matter if Jackson actually sang on the tracks, but the case did not end there. Xavier Becerra, then California’s Attorney General, wrote a brief in support of Serova’s lawsuit. Before settling, the sides were awaiting a decision by the California Supreme Court.

The settlement comes a month after Sony removed the three disputed tracks from Michael. At the time, Sony reps said removing the songs was tantamount to removing a distraction. Sony and the estate repeated similar sentiments in a new joint statement to Billboard. “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,” the statement reads. They add that removing the songs was “the simplest and best way to move beyond the conversation associated with these tracks once and for all.”

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