Thoughts on Leaks…


By late 2002 I’d been a Michael Jackson fan for just one year. His last album of new material, Invincible, was released a year prior. Sadly, this ended up being the first and only time I had the privilege of experiencing the release of a studio album that Jackson himself had given his blessing. The recording sessions for Invincible are rumoured to have been some of the most fruitful of his career, producing dozens of musical pieces, many of which the public are still yet to hear. Due to nefarious actions that are yet to be fully uncovered, one such piece of music, a full and complete song that was not released on the album, leaked to the public. The song was titled Escape. In response, Michael Jackson issued a statement outlining his disappointment with the leak. As much as I loved hearing this masterpiece of a song, its premature release clearly hurt him.

Jump forward five years, and it’s 2008. Michael is beginning the process of working with a range of contemporary producers to potentially flesh out a new sound for his upcoming studio album. Among these producers is the R&B hit-maker Akon. Michael spent weeks in the studio with Akon crafting the sublime ballad Hold My Hand, which would end up having its own sad history despite its uplifting nature. Not only would the song suffer the same fate as Escape and prematurely leak to the public, but it would eventually go on to serve as the lead single from his ill-fated first posthumous album of new material, Michael. Jackson family members and many fans would agree that Hold My Hand was a song Michael cared deeply about. Since then, there have been many more song leaks, some when Michael was alive, but most after his death. These leaks continue to be the source of debate amongst the Michael Jackson fan community.

Today another Michael Jackson song leaked, but this time a piece that was worked on during the Dangerous sessions called Ghost of Another Lover. The leak occurred due to an attendee of a Michael Jackson convention recording the song whilst it was played for the audience by one of Michael’s studio engineers. They did this against the wishes of the convention organisers and the engineer. I won’t name the person who recorded it, the engineer who decided to play it or the event at which it was played, as I don’t think these are crucial elements of the scenario. Like times previous, rich debate is currently taking place within the Michael Jackson fan community around how leaks should be handled, and for good reason.

Seldom does widespread public debate over the ethical nature of something occur when there’s some simple, logical answer regarding the correct way that thing should be. I feel this conflict over leaks acutely as not only am I a Michael Jackson fan who desires to honour and respect Michael’s artistic privacy, but I am also a historian, who recognises the immense cultural value Jackson’s art has, at any stage of completion.

Ultimately, I do feel that if previously unreleased Michael Jackson material is to be played for a paying audience, it should first have the approval of his Estate beneficiaries with the full knowledge and understanding of the risks involved regarding potential leaks. That’s fairly black and white for me. No conflict there. But it’s after leaks happen where things get murky. Michael Jackson’s music grows legs of its own. And with good reason, because it’s usually excellent music. In the age of digital file sharing and social media, there’s no stopping how far and wide this material can reach. In an instance such as today, when a previously unheard Michael Jackson song leaks, I believe that it’s a matter of historical importance that knowledgeable fans, scholars of Michael Jackson, deconstruct and analyse the material so that a historically accurate narrative can be built. As an example, Ghost of Another Lover today leaked with completely the wrong title! A fan uploaded it as Ghost of Another Girl. Knowledgable Michael Jackson fans picked this up swiftly. Not only this, but there’s a certain inevitability to leaked material being discussed. It’s pointless to think it won’t be. Sharing and discussing leaks is inevitable, and both are very, very different behaviours to facilitating or instigating a leak.

Yet at a deeper level, it’s the ethics around actually releasing Michael’s previously unheard work at all that interests me. Earlier I opined that Michael’s estate beneficiaries should have the final say. And this is true for now, especially in our lifetimes where there are many people still alive directly connected to him. Artistic collaborators, close friends, business partners, fans and most importantly…family. Yet Michael is now gone, and it can’t be argued that his art doesn’t have immense historical value, even his unreleased material including demos which serve the purpose of teaching us how he created, flaws and all.

Ethically, at what point does it become acceptable for his unfinished work to actually come out without debate? Would anybody disagree now with an unfinished Michaelangelo piece being displayed in an art gallery for scholarly debate? I don’t think so. A lot of this debate comes from the fact that Michael has so recently passed away and many people in some way feel emotionally connected to him and naturally want to defend or protect his wishes. The MJ fan side of me certainly feels that, but as previously mentioned, the historian in me feels the importance of learning as much about his genius as possible, especially while his artistic collaborators are here to engage in dialogue around his work. Like I said, conflict. There is no easy answer.

There will be more Xscape, Hold My Hand and Ghost of Another Lover moments in the future and opinions will vary around these leaks depending on who you talk to. But suffice it to say, while people are around who are still emotionally connected to Michael Jackson as a person, the best people to judge whether his unreleased art should be seen by the public are those who were closest to him, those whom he left his Estate to, his beneficiaries.

Jamon Bull

052: Michael Prince Special

Michael Prince worked with Michael Jackson from the mid 90’s onwards, eventually becoming Jackson’s closest studio engineer, a man whom was trusted to capture the King of Pop’s most personal creative visions. From the HIStory World Tour, to the Invincible album, to the beautiful charity single What More Can I Give and right up until This Is It and the final studio songs Michael Jackson was working on, Michael Prince was involved.

Michael Prince’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
• Legs Diamond’s Facebook and iTunes
• Charles Thomson’s Facebook, Twitter and website
• James Alay’s Facebook and Instagram
• Los Lobos – La Bamba
• Damien Shields’ One Night Only article
• Michael Jackson’s HIStory World Tour live in Munich, Germany
• Michael Jackson’s Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix album
• Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary Celebration concert
• Michael Jackson’s I Am A Loser (Demo) and Damien Shields’ article
• Michael Jackson’s A Place With No Name and Damien Shields’ article
• Michael Jackson – What More Can I Give
• Michael Jackson – One More Chance
• Michael Jackson – Hollywood Tonight
• Michael Jackson – Best of Joy (Acapella)
• Michael Jackson’s Hold My Hand (feat. Akon) and Damien Shields’s article
• Michael Jackson – Xscape
• Can’t Get Your Weight Off Of Me leaked snippet
• Michael Prince and LaVelle Smith Jr. on Piers Morgan Tonight

Music Breaks & Ads
Michael Jackson – Blue Gangsta (Demo)
• Michael Jackson – One More Chance (Night & Day Uptempo R&B Remix)
• Michael Jackson – I Am A Loser (Demo)
• Michael Jackson – Hollywood Tonight (Demo)
• Michael Jackson – Best Of Joy (Acoustic) by Nick* and CMCC

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on the show, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comMichael On!

Thanks to listener Cody Covington, we now have a full transcript available for this episode. Our deepest thanks and gratitude, Cody.

Episode 037 – The Land of the Piñata

Episode 037 - The Land of the Piñata Show Art

Join The MJCast crew on Episode 037 as they launch their new sister show The MJCast en Español. Sandra De la Vega joins Jamon and Q along with returning guests Jason Garcia and Ale Huerta to introduce the world to their brand new show, a version of The MJCast for Spanish speaking listeners. To begin the show, Charles Thomson calls in to discuss Michael Jackson’s nephews filing a lawsuit against Radar Online and his experiences at the recent MJ On The Wall art exhibition in London. Following this, the team discusses a never-before-seen but recently leaked fourteen and a half minute version of Michael’s short film The Way You Make me Feel, new footage from Ghosts, new Dangerous era footage of Michael, an update on the Sony/ATV catalogue sale, Diana Walczak‘s HIStory statue being unveiled at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and finally Taryll Jackson‘s imminent solo music project. The main discussion topic for this episode is Sandra’s fan story and of course discussion around the new podcast from The MJCast, The MJCast en Español.


  • Michael Jackson’s nephews file a libel lawsuit against Radar Online. Read the complaint here.
  • A never-before-seen 14:28 version of Michael Jackson’s short film for The Way You Make Me Feel has leaked.
  • New footage from Ghosts has leaked.
  • New Dangerous era Michael Jackson footage has leaked.
  • Sony wins unconditional approval for Sony/ATV sale.
  • Diana Walczak‘s HIStory statue unveiling at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.
  • Taryll Jackson‘s new solo music project is launching on his Birthday, August 8th.

Main Discussion Topic 

Finds of the Week

Additional Links

Music Breaks & Ads

Connect with Us

If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on the show, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comMichael On!