Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Michael Jackson died nine months ago. Earlier this week, Sony gave the Jackson estate a new record contract for unreleased material and licensing that ranks among the biggest deals ever signed.

Keep in mind that Jackson has been dead for almost a year.

According to the New York Times Media Decoder blog, "the deal, for about 10 recordings through 2017, will guarantee the Jackson estate up to $250 million in advances and other payments and offer an especially high royalty rate for sales both inside and outside the United States."

I'm curious about this because, as I recall, Michael Jackson hasn't released an album since 2001 (Invincible which I had to look up) and before that, he hadn't released an album since Dangerous in 1991.

That's two albums in 20 years. Neither of which were good. Dangerous had a couple hits, but after that it was a whole bunch of songs that were mediocre at best. Even by shitty 90s radio standards.

Now they're telling me that there's 10(!) albums worth of unreleased Michael Jackson material lying around somewhere? Thriller and Bad were great records, even I'll admit that, but if there was anything that might rival even one song on those albums, we would have heard it by now. Guaranteed.

Record companies release posthumous albums all the time—usually rap albums with way too many boring guest spots—but they're never good. And the reason they're never very good is because they're leftovers. They're songs that were half-assed and just not up to par. Tracks that never made it to an album are the same as the deleted scenes in movies: people get all excited for them but when they're over, you can't help but think "there's a really good reason that wasn't included with the finished product."

Of course, people will buy whatever it is Sony decides to release because once Jackson died everyone seemed to forget that he was a creepy pervert with a penchant for little kids. Now everyone loves him again.

But next time someone tries to tell you that record companies are suffering because you downloaded an album from the Internet, ask them why those same record companies are giving 250 million dollars to a dead guy for a throwaway track he recorded while high on painkillers 15 years ago.

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