Washington/New York – A week before the worldwide Diamond Celebration of Michael Jackson’s birthday (August 29th), the popularity of the iconic artist and his extensive catalogue shows no sign of slowing down. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced that 21 different songs and three albums, spanning Michael's career, have garnered major new Gold and Platinum certifications.
Some of Michael’s more renown albums and songs are newly multi-Platinum, while other songs are earning Gold status for the first time, demonstrating the enduring interest in Jackson’s extensive catalogue. The new song awards mean that Michael Jackson enjoys 40 million cumulative digital singles certifications in the US.
“These new awards highlight the enduring legacy of Michael Jackson,” said Mitch Glazier, President, RIAA. “Michael’s music continues to be a dominant cultural force today. That’s a testament to his iconic music and to the team that astutely protects his legacy. As we celebrate 60 years of Gold and Platinum Awards this year, we are proud to recognize once again one of the program’s signature artists.”
“Michael Jackson’s music and short films continue to thrill fans and inspire artists all over the world. These new certifications are a testament to Michael’s continued legacy,” Richard Story, President CMG, Sony Music Entertainment.
“Michael’s music and spirit has proved exciting and relevant to each succeeding generation, and that is borne out by these tremendous numbers and the kinds of artists who gravitate to and are inspired by his music,“ noted John Branca and John McClain, the co-executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson.
Three songs, ‘Breaking News’, ‘Keep Your Head Up’ and ‘Monster’ appeared on Michael Jackson’s first posthumous album, Michael in 2010. It debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 228,000 units. Some fans were skeptical when Epic Records and Sony Music Entertainment released the album and claimed that some of the tracks were not performed by Michael Jackson but by an impostor. Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother, concurred.
In 2014, fan Vera Serova brought a Class Action lawsuit against Michael’s longtime friend Eddie Cascio and his brother's production company, Angelikson Productions LLC, accusing them of producing fake songs and then selling them through Michael’s estate and Sony Music Entertainment. James Porte, a supposed co-writer of twelve controversial songs of Michael’s including the three stated above, was also named in the case. Eddie and James claimed that these songs were recorded in James’ New Jersey basement in 2007 but failed to provide any concrete evidence to support it. Vera argued In a Los Angeles Superior Court that the songs were fake and performed by an impersonator, Jason Malachi. Vera claimed several inconsistencies in the manner these songs came to fruition, which is supported by a 41-page report by forensic audiologist Dr. George Papcun, who concluded by research that the songs were not sung by Michael.
Vera had several pieces of evidence based on concern from Michael’s support team that the three songs didn’t include the legendary singer’s signature foot taps and finger snaps.
Sony tried to defend itself and asked Eddie and James to provide alternate vocal takes of these songs. They stated they were deleted. Vera also said that Sony Music and Eddie had been trying to delete evidence of any wrong-doing to ensure the media didn’t notice.
In December of 2016, lawyers for Sony Music and the estate finally conceded that the songs might actually be fakes. They said that Sony and the Estate had taken Eddie and James at their word and failed to make their own investigation.
The argument was not accepted by the presiding Judge Ann I. Jones of the Los Angeles Superior Court. “What is problematic is that you are ripping people off under your admitted facts,” she said. Zia Modabber, the lawyer for Sony and the Estate, tried to shift the blame on the co-defendants Eddie and James by saying that they “failed to disclose to Sony or the Estate that Michael Jackson did not provide the lead vocals.” Judge Jones did not agree with Zia’s argument: “I think what he is saying here is. ‘We were as duped as the Plaintiffs. We didn’t know you guys were recording stuff in a basement that wasn’t recorded by Michael. You told us it was Michael. We believed it was Michael. And if there is a bad guy here, who was engaging in false commercial speech, it’s not us.’”
Sony and the Estate appealed the ruling, and on August 21, 2018 the California Court of Appeal heard the oral argument in the appeal where Sony Music conceded that the three songs ‘Breaking News’, ‘Keep Your Head Up’ and ‘Monster’ featuring 50 Cent was indeed performed by an impersonator and not Michael Jackson. They did this for the purpose of the current argument on appeal. They argued they had the right to sell the songs as Michael Jackson’s even if the iconic artist wasn’t the singer. The three judges in the case have to now decide on the matter. They have 90 days.
This stage is just an intermediate appeal of Sony and the Jackson Estate’s First Amendment defense. The Court of Appeal will decide whether they should stay as defendants in the case or should be dismissed and allowed to continue selling the album deceptively. The case against Cascio brothers is very strong but the court has to make an important decision regarding Sony’s involvement in the fraud. If the court decides Sony’s part as “non-commercial speech,” they will be let off as defendants and the case against Cascio brothers will move further.
Sony is arguing that the songs were provided to them by the Cascio Brothers and James as original Michael Jackson songs which they believed good faith.
Note: Commercial speech is the advertising of a product or service through printed materials, broadcast or the Internet. It is a commercial speech when your competitor blatantly lies in its advertising about the effectiveness of its products.
Icon Janet Jackson dropped her new song and music video "Made For Now" with Daddy Yankee, available from on August 17th.
Jackie Jackson is doing a small promo tour to introduce his artist D.B.L. from his label Critically Amused. D.B.L. from Saint Lucia just dropped his EP "Island Vibez" which is produced by Jackie Jackson. On August 14th, Jackie and D.B.L. visited a couple TV shows in Vegas such as Las Vegas Now, the MOJ show, 8 News Now and Rachel Smith for Fox5 Las Vegas.
Taryll Jackson released another EDM music solo single titled "No Limit" on iTunes. Check it out!
During the fundraiser for cancer presented by Canyon Sessions, there were performances by Austin Brown, Yashi Brown and The Soundflowers (featuring Paris Jackson). A lot of family members, such as Mrs Katherine Jackson, Rebbie Jackson, Taj Jackson and Jermaine Jackson II showed up to show their support for the special cause. Katherine Jackson, 88, who is rarely seen in public, attended her granddaughter's second-ever concert with her new acoustic rock duo The Soundflowers and Paris posted on Instagram about the experience and the support received from her grandmother
"F--k. I can't believe my grandma made it to our second live show ever," Paris, previously known for her modeling career, wrote on Instagram, alongside a slideshow of photos from the event. "And she actually liked it!?!!! I was s--tting my pants. I love you so much grandma. I'm so happy we got to play for you and to play for such an incredible cause.
On August 7th, on their day off ahead of their concert at Port Adriano in Mallorca, The Jacksons (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon) took the time to visit The Way Youth Zone where they met with kids at the performing arts studio who also danced to Tito Jackson's hit single "Get It Baby". The Way Youth Zone in Wolverhampton is a purpose built facility for young people aged 8–19 (and up to 25 for those with disabilities). The Jacksons left starstruck youngsters speechless during a show-stopping visit to the city. Hysteria swept across The Way Youth Zone when the superstars strolled into the Wolverhampton hub with their families in tow. Crowds of delighted youngsters were left in awe of the icons, swarming the quartet for selfie snaps and autographs.
Michael Jackson would have turned 60 on August. 29. Though he is no longer here, his extraordinary life and legacy will be heralded at the Michael Jackson Diamond Birthday Celebration in Las Vegas. Coordinated by the Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music, the festivities will kick off with an early evening performance of Michael Jackson One by Cirque du Soleil, followed by an exclusive after-party at Daylight Beach Club, both at Mandalay Bay. Fans are expected to flock to Las Vegas from all over the world for the festivities. Michael will be well represented by his family at the event, with children Paris and Prince expected to attend, as well as brothers Jackie, Marlon and Tito. The Daylight Beach Club party, hosted by Sway Calloway, will include interactive elements including activations inspired by Jackson's music videos. The party is for invited guests only, as well as attendees of that day’s Michael Jackson One performance.
For the event, the Michael Jackson Estate is joining forces with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation to bring health care to southern Malawi. Paris Jackson, who is an Ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, will accept the 2018 Elizabeth Taylor Legacy Award for Humanitarian Service awarded to their father posthumously. Attendees are encouraged to make donations to the Taylor's AIDS Foundation.
The party comes as Jackson’s legacy continues to grow. A previously unreleased Jackson vocal provides the hook for “Don’t Matter to Me,” a song on Drake’s Scorpion album, which is spending its fifth week atop the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Additionally, the National Portrait Gallery in London’s Michael Jackson: On The Wall exhibit runs through Oct. 21, while work continues on a Broadway musical inspired by Jackson’s life produced by the Estate and Columbia Live Stage. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lyn Nottage will author the book, while Christopher Wheeldon will direct and choreograph the musical which is expected to open in 2020.
Jackie Jackson speaks to Shilpa Ganatra for Independent.ie about his dad's death, a difficult childhood and brother Michael's legacy. On June 27 this year, after years of ailing health and a short battle with pancreatic cancer, the Jacksons' patriarch Joe Jackson passed away in his home city of Las Vegas aged 89. His family, who under his stewardship now bear the most famous surname in pop culture, were by his side.
"We knew he wasn't 100pc for a while, but he was still travelling around, doing speeches and talking to people," recalls his eldest son Jackie, with more than a touch of sadness in his voice. "Then we got the news that he was very, very sick. The doctor found out that he had cancer of the pancreas, and he had maybe three weeks to live. That's when he wanted to see his whole family."
London's prestigious British Film Institute has announced a screening of Moonwalker plus afterparty on August 29th for what would have been Michael Jackson's 60th birthday presented by music collective Amplified presents this special screening plus afterparty. Info and tickets here.