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Michael Jackson’s Estate Renews Deal With Sony. 20-07-'17

The Michael Jackson Estate has decided to re-up its deal with Sony/ATV to administer the music publishing rights to some of the King of Pop’s best-known songs, the publisher confirmed on Thursday.

Sony/ATV, run by Martin Bandier, won the rights to the Mijac Music catalogue in 2012 from Warner/Chappelle, which had held them since 1980.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is believed to be a long-term arrangement.

That deal expired recently, and the Mijac catalogue came up for bidding.

In a recent auction all the major music publishers — from Universal to BMG — made an attempt to acquire the rights, sources said, but Sony/ATV ultimately prevailed.

Sony/ATV
Sony buy Michael Jackson’s half of Sony/ATV for $750 Million.

The collection includes 'Bad', 'Beat It', and 'Billie Jean', among many others by the late singer/songwriter.

Sony/ATV was owned jointly by Japan’s Sony Corp. and the estate of Michael Jackson but did not house all of the Jackson song rights.

Sony bought out the Jackson estate last year for $750 million, giving the estate a rethink about where best to house the music.

John Branca and John McClain, the co-executors of the Estate, said in a statement: “The music of the greatest entertainer that ever lived, Michael Jackson, is in the hands of the number one publishing company in the world.

“We had to beat off every competitor,” Bandier told The Post.

Source: New York Post / Billie Jean


Quincy Jones Testifies Against Michael Jackson Estate: ‘I Was Cheated Out Of A Lot Of Money’. 20-07-'17

Quincy JonesQuincy Jones took the witness stand on Thursday, telling jurors he was “cheated out of a lot of money” by Michael Jackson’s estate.

Jones’ lawyers have alleged that the veteran producer is owed $30 million in revenues that have flowed to Jackson’s estate since the singer’s death in 2009. Jones, 84, has been touring in Europe for most of the trial, which has been underway in Los Angles Superior Court for two weeks. He entered the courtroom Thursday in a wheelchair.

At issue is the interpretation of two contracts for the albums 'Off The Wall', 'Thriller', and 'Bad'. Jones testified that he left such details to lawyers and never read the actual agreements.

Instead, in often rambling testimony, Jones articulated a basic principle that he deserves to be paid for any use of songs from the albums.

“If we made the record, we deserve to get paid,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

An attorney for Jackson’s estate, Howard Weitzman, tried to get Jones to concede that he is entitled to a share of album sales but not to licensing revenues for the Jackson recordings.

“That’s a joke,” Jones answered.

As Weitzman pressed him, Jones added, “I don’t care what the agreement says. If I put my heart and love into making a record, I want to get paid. I don’t care what the paper says.”

At another point, Jones asked the lawyer: “You ever made a No. 1 record?”

“No,” Weitzman said.

“I know that,” Jones replied.

Jones’ lawyers contend that his contracts entitle him to significant proceeds from 'This Is It', the backstage concert film released after Jackson’s death, as well as those from two Cirque du Soleil shows. The attorneys also contend that Jones is owed a larger share from a Sony contract that was renegotiated after Jackson’s death.

Under questioning from his own lawyer, Mike McKool, Jones gave extensive reminiscences about his music career and his collaboration with Jackson. He testified that his relationship with Jackson was founded on “love, respect, and trust,” and that financial considerations rarely surfaced.

“That never in my life crossed my mind — money and fame,” he said. “If that happens, God walks out of the room. If you try to sell Ciroc vodka, forget it.”

Under cross-examination, Weitzman played Jackson’s demo versions of 'Workin’ Day And Night', 'Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough', and 'Beat It', as well as the finished album versions of each song. Jones nodded his head in rhythm, and at one point raised his arm as if conducting musicians.

Weitzman’s point was that Jackson himself made major contributions to the sound of each song, which rankled Jones, who testified that producers often take the blame for failures while artists get credit for hits.

“I believed in Michael like my own son,” he testified. “I spent more time with him than his family. They weren’t in the studio.”

Weitzman repeatedly noted that he is representing Jackson’s three children, who are the beneficiaries of the estate, and asked if Jones would sue Jackson if he were still alive.

“I’m not suing Michael, I’m suing y’all,” Jones said, noting that the estate’s lawyers have been handsomely paid. Another attorney for the estate testified earlier that the executors have received about $50 million in fees since Jackson’s death.

When Weitzman raised the children again, Jones rebutted, “I got children, too.”

Source: MSN / Billie Jean


Quincy Jones Earned $18 Million in Royalties Since Michael Jackson's Death. 18-07-'17

Quincy JonesOn Day 6 of trial over missing royalties, Sony exec's testimony reveals producer's payout.

Since the death of pop star Michael Jackson in 2009, Quincy Jones has received nearly $18 million in royalties for his work on some of the King of Pop’s most iconic music, according to court testimony given by a high-ranking music executive on the sixth day of the trial between Jones and the Jackson estate.

Though the 84-year-old Jones, who is likely to take the stand on Thursday (July 20), claims that the Jackson estate owes him at least $30 million due to a breached contract for his work on albums 'Bad', 'Thriller', 'Off The Wall' and 'This Is It', Sony's vp of royalty audits David Moro took the stand Tuesday and spoke at length about the substantial royalties that Jones has already received from the label through the years, emphasizing payments issued since Jackson’s death 8 years ago.

Jones sued the estate and Sony Music in 2003, claiming that songs such as 'Billie Jean', 'Thriller' and 'Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough' were remixed to block him from royalties and a producer’s fee.

The legendary producer, who has been nominated 79 times for a Grammy, alleges that his contracts gave him the first option to re-edit or alter the songs, and that not having had that opportunity has hurt his reputation.

After the Jackson estate's legal team called Moro to the stand, attorney Tami Sims led Moro through series of back-to-back questions that established how much Jones has received, from smaller amounts in the range of $30,000 to much larger sums in the millions.

Moro explained that Jones was chiefly paid record royalties, not funds through a license agreement. The executive also explained that a “joint venture” agreement precluded Jones from receiving other monies.

“Mr. Jones is not a party to those agreements,” Moro said during his testimony. “Mr. Jones has never been paid under those agreements.”

When asked if Jones has previously requested audits, Moro confirmed that there had been “about 6” audits from 1981 through 1989. Additionally, there was a settlement totaling between $200,000 and $300,000 in recent years.

The jury was shown royalty summaries pertaining to Jones with one line item illustrating that Jones received nearly $18 million between 2009 and 2016.

More witnesses are expected to take the stand in Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael L. Stern’s courtroom including Jones, who this week returned from work duties in Europe.

Source: Billboard / Billie Jean


Court Readies For Quincy Jones To Take The Stand In Suit Against The Michael Jackson Estate. 17-07-'17

Quincy JonesJones’ legal team has publicly stated that their client is owned at least $30 million.

Quincy Jones is expected to take the stand this week in his case against the Michael Jackson estate as the celebrated Grammy-award-winning 84-year-old producer seeks millions of dollars in royalties for his contributions to songs from albums such as 'Off The Wall', 'Thriller', 'Bad' and 'This Is It'.

The jury for the case was excused on Monday but was told to return on Tuesday (July 18) as attorneys for both Jones and the Jackson estate spent the morning with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael L. Stern. The legal teams mostly reviewed organizational items as they inch closer to hearing Jones’ testimony, which will likely be Thursday (July 20), according to a legal representative for the producer.

During Monday’s session with legal teams from each side, Stern asked Jones’ attorney, J. Michael Hennigan, why the case had come this far considering that his star client has had some of the best representation in the business. The biggest issue, the attorney said, was not having access to “audit material” and the results of that data.

Source: Billboard / Billie Jean


In Quincy Jones Trial, Expert Critiques Pitbull's Version Of Michael Jackson's 'Bad'. 14-07-'17

Bad25Pitbull is no Michael Jackson.

That was the gist of the expert testimony that highlighted the fourth day of the trial that pits legendary producer Quincy Jones against the Michael Jackson estate, with Jones claiming that the late King of Pop’s estate breached its contract with him and owes him millions of dollars in royalties from works that include songs from the albums 'Thriller', 'Off The Wall', 'This Is It' and 'Bad'.

Jones had sued the Jackson estate and Sony Music Entertainment in 2013, alleging that songs such as 'Billie Jean', 'Thriller' and 'Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough' were re-edited to cut him out of royalties and a producer's fee. The suit also claimed that Jones’ contracts gave him the first opportunity to re-edit or alter the songs, partly to protect his reputation.

On Friday (July 14), Jones’ legal team called Michael Fremer, editor of AnalogPlanet.com, to the stand, in hopes of establishing that some of Jackson’s posthumously released remixes -- issued without Jones’ permission -- had diminished Jones' reputation due to their mediocrity.

"I like club mixes," Fremer told the court, but Afrojack’s 2012 remix of Jackson’s 'Bad', featuring Pitbull, is "inconsistent with his spirit and who he was."

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael L. Stern, though, later excluded Fremer's testimony from the case after conferring privately with both legal teams.

After his testimony, Fremer told Billboard that he was “so against” the remix featuring Pitbull.

“Whomever produced it [the Pitbull version] should have said, 'No.' Before the trial I did some research and the comments online were really negative about that song. People were outraged. It was just a mess and it should have never come out."

Fremer testified that he never met Jackson and does not know Jones. The Afrojack-Pitbull rework of 'Bad' peaked at No. 18 on Dance Club Songs and No. 45 on Dance/Electronic Digital Songs and sold 19,000 digital downloads in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. The song also generated 2.2 million on-demand streams -- audio and video combined -- in the U.S.

During Friday's trial, which concluded by mid-afternoon, the jurors consisting of mostly women and two men also got to hear and watch a clip of the film 'This Is It', on which Jones is seeking credit and royalties. The clip showed Jackson in rehearsals for the 'The Way You Make Me Feel'.

Jackson's distinctive vocals lit up the room. Jurors sat mostly stoic, but a few of them showed emotion including a male who was all smiles during the portion of the song, while another female juror closed her eyes and listened intently to the music and lyrics. Even attorney Howard Weitzman, representing Jackson’s MJJ Productions, was seen slightly bopping his head to the music.

By the session's end on Friday, Stern instructed the jurors to return on Monday and informed them that the trial, which was expected to last 3 weeks, may conclude by the end of next week, one week earlier than originally anticipated.

According to a court spokesperson, no witnesses are scheduled for Monday (July 17).

Source: Billboard / Billie Jean


Unveil New Michael Jackson Statue In Spain. 14-07-'17

Michael Jackson will be “alive” in Teatro Calderón (Madrid, Spain) with the tribute “I want you back”

A life size statue of Michael Jackson will be unveil today in Teatro Calderón, the same day of the first “I want u back” tribute show, a 2 hours concert-like show with MJ’s music performed by Spanish impersonator Sac MJJ.

The show was born as the need of having an “annual meeting point around the myth of the artist” in Madrid, as said Jose María Cámara, from Som Produce, the company that produce the show.

This first show will unveil a Michael Jackson statue, created by sculptor Juan Villa, similar to the one located in Las Vegas, inspired by the cover of 'HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book I'. This one will be life size, “now the fans can pose for pictures with their idol” said Cámara.

In the show, Sac MJJ -whose real name is Adrián Álvarez-, four dancers and a live band from Spain, will guide the audience through the Michael Jackson’s hits, “everybody will sing along” with one of the best impersonators of Michael Jackson according the producer.

The statue will be unveiled by Toni Arias (admin of Michael Jackson’s HideOut) and Laura Serrano (President of Heal The World For Children Spain charity) and will stay in the theater as a meeting point for MJ fans.

Last show for this year will coincide with the singer birthday, August 29th.

MJ Statue in Spain
We will post the pictures of the unveiling as soon as we have some…

Source: MJ Vibe / Billie Jean


Make-Up Artist Kabuki Starshine Talks Michael Jackson’s Last Photoshoots. 14-07-'17

In a recent interview for Paper Mag, make-up artist Kabuki Starshine talks about the time he worked with Michael Jackson for L’uomo Vogue photoshoot in September 2007.

How did it come about that you worked with Michael Jackson?

That was a big mystery. I didn’t realize how it came about. I thought maybe because I’d worked with Macaulay, but no. Actually, Bruce Weber, whom I’d never worked with before, thought of me for that project. It was for L’uomo Vogue, and it was the first shoot Michael had done in 10 years. They asked me to come back and do the cover of Ebony with him too. Those were his last photo shoots. He was really lovely.

I can relive it all in my mind because I was so full of adrenaline when it was going on. I had to talk to him on the phone before I met him. I was at a cash machine and the phone rang and it was his people clearing the line to make sure it was me. He was gonna call me in seven minutes, so I ran home, not wanting to be on the street with sirens and street noise. I got so nervous, I had to breathe into a ziploc bag.

I was hyperventilating. But he sounded so scared himself that I instantly calmed down. I sort of felt for him. And when I met him in person, he had dark glasses on so you couldn’t see his eyes. He seemed very shy, but when we started to work together, I guess he got my energy, and he was so sweet, quite considerate of me and my working process.

L'uomo Vogue Photoshoot
Michael Jackson and make-Up artist Kabuki Starshine on the set of the L'uomo Vogue photoshoot in New York on September 15th, 2007.

Source: MJ Vibe / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson “Cascio Songs” CD Offered For Auction For Millions, Then Mysteriously Removed.
13-07-'17

Bible CD-RFor about a minute yesterday Michael Jackson’s unreleased songs from the “Cascio” album was up for auction for a million dollars.

Then it mysteriously disappeared.

An auction house called Gotta Have Rock and Roll announced it was selling a master tape quality CD of songs obtained from a close friend of Jackson who was his personal assistant and had traveled he world with him. The track list on the CD made it clear these were the songs recorded in New Jersey in the fall of 2007 by Eddie Cascio at his parents’ home. Cascio had already recorded the songs with another artist. But when Jackson, his kids, and nanny came to stay at the Cascio home– his personal friends and surrogate family for years and years– Eddie persuaded Michael to re-rec0rd the vocals and turn the whole thing into a Michael Jackson album.

I broke the story about this album in 2010, a year after Michael died.

The result was a scandal. Jackson super fans refused to believe Michael had done any of this. (It was, however, true.) The Jackson estate and Sony made a deal for the recordings. Three of them made it onto Michael’s posthumous 'Michael' album. The rest drifted into obscurity.

The Cascio album was a surprise to everyone in the Jackson camp, which led to a discrediting of the material that killed the 'Michael' album. Co-executor John McClain didn’t like it because he wasn’t involved in it. Jackson’s nephews, a group called 3T, was sore because they didn’t have a part in it. The Jacksons in general, post-Michael’s death, weren’t so happy about the Cascio family at all. They resented them because Michael had long ago chosen them as a surrogate family. He stayed with them, lavished gifts on them, and confided in them while excluding his actual brothers, sisters, parents, etc.

Before Michael died, I’d heard all the songs recorded with a different vocalist. They were very good. When I broke the story that Michael had stayed with the Cascio's in 2007 I did not know that he’d recorded with Eddie. Indeed, everyone remained mum for a long time. When I broke the news about the recordings, the naysayers waged a campaign saying that it was a Michael Jackson imitator. This was ridiculous. Michael had left the recordings with the Cascio's as a legacy.

So what happened to the for-auction CD? Even if someone had bought it for a million dollars, the winner could not have used it for anything other than personal listening pleasure. Something tells me though that the Jackson Estate and/or Sony intervened when they saw the listing.

Source: Roger Friedman; Showbiz411 / Billie Jean


Update: Michael Jackson’s ‘Unreleased Last Album’. 13-07-'17

Update: since this article was posted, the auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll has removed the Sony CD-R with the word 'Bible' written in blue sharpie, the album features 12 mastered tracks, all with completed vocals from Jackson.

The seller (Frank Cascio) has decided to make the sale privately.

Source: Billie Jean


Tiger Shroff Trained 18 Hours A Day With Michael Jackson's Dance Troupe. 13-07-'17

Munna Michael
'Munna Michael' is a special film for Tiger Shroff.

'Munna Michael' is a special film for Tiger Shroff, who considers it his tribute to Michael Jackson. The actor, who is known for his swift moves on the dance floor, left no stone unturned in perfecting MJ's style of dancing for the film. Shroff can be seen recreating MJ's iconic moves in the recently released song, Beparwah.

Talking about the gruelling practice sessions that Shroff endured, director Sabbir Khan says, "Tiger attended a dance camp in the US. Not just that, dancers were brought in from Los Angeles. They practised with him for about 18 hours every day. Many of these dancers have accompanied MJ on his tours and danced with him. We used them in a few sequences in the film as well. Off work, they shared anecdotes on MJ's personal style, his gimmicks, et al."

Tiger Shroff has often expressed his admiration for the King of Pop and his passion for the dancing legend was evident during 'Munna Michael' shoot as well. Khan says, "He got emotional every time one of MJ's tunes was played."

In fact, it was Tiger who pushed Khan to direct the dance drama. "We were shooting a promotional number for Heropanti (2014), when I happened to discuss the idea of Munna Michael with Tiger. It was forgotten after that. In June last year, he called me saying, 'Why don't we make that film?'" recalls Khan.

The filmmaker, who is collaborating with Shroff for the third time, after Heropanti and Baaghi (2016), says he has never seen him as invested in a project. "He was bummed out after 'A Flying Jatt' (2016) didn't work, but he didn't let that dampen his spirits. He used the dejection and failure to make this a wonderful film."

The film will be in the cinema on July 21, watch the trailer of 'Mumma Michael' below:

 

Source: Mid-Day / YouTube / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson’s ‘Unreleased Last Album’ Heads To Auction. 12-07-'17

Attention, Michael Jackson fans; a piece of the King of Pop's history could soon be yours.

An album of vaulted, mostly unheard Michael Jackson recordings will be auctioned off by New York auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll later this month, along with a host of items from the personal collection of the late King of Pop.

Appearing as a blank, Sony CD-R with the word 'Bible' written in blue sharpie, the album features 12 mastered tracks, all with completed vocals from Jackson.

A handful of the songs — 'Monster', 'Breaking News' and 'Keep Your Head Up' — appeared on the album 'Michael', a collection of unreleased material cobbled from tracks the singer was crafting in his final years and released a year after his 2009 death by Sony Records and Jackson’s estate.

The album 'Michael' was marred by controversy as critics, fans and even family members questioned the project, some going as far as to suggest that some of the tracks had been completed by a Jackson impersonator.

“Unbeknownst to many fans around the world, [Jackson] was writing and recording songs continuously everywhere from a friend’s home in New Jersey to studios in Las Vegas and Los Angeles with a small group of handpicked collaborators,” the label said amid the backlash.

The album was in the possession of a “personal friend and personal assistant to Michael whose family was very close to Michael for many years, traveling all over the world with him” who wishes to remain anonymous, according to the auction house.

Bible CD-R
Appearing as a blank, Sony CD-R with the word 'Bible' written in blue sharpie, the album features 12 mastered tracks, all with completed vocals from Jackson.

Other tracks on the album are 'Black Widow', 'Water', 'Soldier Boy', 'Everything’s Just Fine', 'Let Me Fall In Love', 'All I Need', 'Stay' and 'Ready To Win'.

The starting bid on the unreleased album is $50,000. There is a catch, though. The winning bidder won’t have the rights to the music and therefore won’t be able to distribute it. But what’s a better way to impress friends at a party than by playing an unreleased MJ album?

Gotta Have Rock and Roll’s online auction opens July 19 and includes clothing Jackson wore (a ball-cap from Trump Plaza, socks and surgical scrubs are among the oddities), drawings, his personal cassette player and a “Best Daddy in the World” Oscar statuette given to him by his kids.

Source: Los Angeles Times / Billie Jean

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