146: Cascio Tracks Removal Roundtable

On November 8, 2010, Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson unveiled the first song from their new Michael Jackson album in a worldwide premiere via michaeljackson.com. The song, called “Breaking News,” was said to have been written and produced by Eddie Cascio, James Porte and Michael Jackson. But there was one problem… The Jackson family, several of Michael’s former collaborators, and thousands of fans around the world believed the track was fake, with vocals sung by an impostor.

Five weeks after the premiere, “Breaking News” and two other songs also believed to be fakes were commercially released on the album, simply titled “Michael”. Despite the ongoing protests of fans around the world (including The MJCast), the album would remain commercially available in music stores, via online retailers and on streaming platforms for nearly twelve years. One fan in particular, Vera Serova, filed a class action lawsuit against the Estate, Sony, Cascio, Porte and their production company in 2014, which remains unresolved to this day.

Finally, in 2022, the three tracks in question have been removed from digital platforms.

In this conversation, host Jamon Bull is joined by author and Cascio track expert Damien Shields, studio engineer Dan Villalobos, award-winning journalist Charles Thomson, and Friends of the Show James Alay and Samar Habib. The panel discusses the impact of the Cascio Tracks, the long-running lawsuit to have them removed, emerging news that the songs have been removed, and also a statement from the Michael Jackson Estate’s online team that they have removed the songs from sale not because of their legitimacy, but because they have been distracting fans from buying more posthumous products.

This episode was edited by Charlie Carter.

Participants
• Jamon Bull
• Damien Shields
• Dan Villalobos
• James Alay
• Charles Thomson
• Samar Habib

Additional Links
• The MJCast’s Remove the Cascio Tracks Now campaign
• #TheMJCast067: Joseph Vogel Special
• Damien Shields’s website, with a section dedicated to the Cascio Tracks.
• Damien’s upcoming Faking Michael podcast
• Damien’s book, Michael Jackson: Songs & Stories From The Vault

Connect with us
• TheMJCast.com
• Facebook
• Twitter
• Instagram
• YouTube

If you have feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.com. Keep Michaeling!

3 Replies to “146: Cascio Tracks Removal Roundtable”

  1. Kerry Hennigan

    Good episode which I’ve happily shared. I was one of the fans who didn’t question the origins of the songs until much later, when the reports from insiders started coming from people who I’d met and and/or whose opinions I respect, following which I couldn’t deny the validity of the claims any longer. I was not enough of an expert in Michael’s vocals to be able to make a judgement, to be honest. The removal of the tracks, as I see it, is an admission of their status as non-MJ tracks without officially stating as much. I suspect this was done at least in part for legal reasons. However, if there were no issues about their authenticity there would be no reason to remove them. So my congratulations to all the work put in by people on the MJCast and beyond who have fought this battle for so many years because they believed it was the right thing to do. It’s a major victory for the fans, and I am not inclined to segregate them in terms of race or their being ‘new’ or ‘old’ fans, since this has also caused divisions in fan circles. I can respect the feelings others may have about Michael’s estate, whereas my own are mixed mainly because I’d spoken to a couple of the people involved at top level at events in the US and found them very personable. I certainly don’t think they’re heartless, but I acknowledge they are focused on what they see their role, which is to build a financially secure legacy for Michael’s children when the time comes to hand things over to them (I don’t know the terms of Michael’s will in that regard). However, I don’t think Prince’s majoring in business management at college was a coincidence, and I can’t imagine anyone, certainly given his age, being able to better guide creative and corporate decisions when the time comes. His focus is obviously on his father as a Humanitarian, and that’s certainly to be applauded, and one of the best aspects of Michael’s legacy to promote. In terms of the projects the Estate has put out to date, it has, for me, depended largely on the projects themselves – e.g. I’ve loved This Is It and both collaborations with Cirque du Soleil which I saw many times (both shows) and Bad 25, and I have both the posthumous albums, the Diamond Celebration picture discs and attended the party in Las Vegas that year, went to the Thriller 3D and Ghosts screening at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood the year before (2017). I’m sure there’s other stuff that I’ve forgotten. I was nervous about the Broadway musical, but people (other mature fans) whose opinions I respect, have loved it. I can share good stories relating to it without expressing a personal opinion, except to wish the production well. I’m very nervous about the bio movie. But, I don’t have to love every official project, or buy it. I DO question some of the decisions the Estate have made, which mostly seem to rely on the marketing/money-making potential more than anything else, but that is their job after all. I don’t care to judge the feelings of these individuals or their actual love for Michael as they actually knew him, whereas I didn’t. I agree there is a “disconnect” between the Estate and the fans on many matters, and I can’t suggest as to how that could be avoided – except for them to listen more and don’t discount what is said. However, the different factions and opinions within the fan community(ies) is a problem that I don’t see ever being overcome. Hopefully we will reach a stage when our differences will pale in comparison to our mutual preferences.

    Reply
  2. Des

    My respect to every one of you for standing up for what’s right standing up for the truth and justice for Michael, and a big thank for never gave up for so long.

    Reply

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