Historical: Official Estate Statement About the Vault

Harun

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WHY DON’T YOU RELEASE EVERYTHING IN THE VAULT?
Eventually more music will be released but there is nothing in the vaults that is finished and ready for release. We don’t and won’t release everything in the vaults based on the choices Michael made during his life.

We agree with LA Reid’s philosophy on Xscape: we prefer to start with those recordings on which Michael sang full vocals because we know those are the ones he put the most work into. We are criticized by some fans when we don’t release unreleased material. And we are criticized by other fans when we release unreleased material using top producers, many of whom worked with Michael, to finish the recordings. If we released demos by themselves, they would not be commercially successful because they are, by definition, unfinished.

Source: https://michaeljackson.com/michael-jackson-faq/
 

Harun

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

They will Tell us that mj hasnt left any finished song in the vaults!?
 

floatingcity

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

So bottom line, commercial succes is really the deciding factor.
 

stephenvalek

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

Totally contradicting what they did for the "Michael"album....
 

Krshna28

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

Just don't remix and edit any of it. I want to hear MJ raw (and if necessary, unfinished).

Estate's definition of unfinished: not enough producers.
 

TheVisionary

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I like this part: “And rest assured, sooner or later we will get to many of the projects that we know the fans want, including anniversary albums and documentaries for Dangerous and HIStory.“
 

Galactus123

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

I would be fine with a new album like Xscape but it needs to have 2nd disc with original demos too. I remember seeing that page before. I wonder when it was made? It isn't new.
 

Robbsaber01

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

Of course there's no question/answer about Concert releases...
 

somewhereinthedark

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Well one thing we can all agree on: some fans are going to complain about WHATEVER the Estate does. Damned if they do release something, damned if they don’t. I especially like and agree with what they said about Xscape. IMO, the Estate did an excellent job with the Xscape album. We had one album with remixes/new productions and one with the originals. YET, there were still some fans not satisfied with that. What was there to complain about, when we had Michael’s original vocals and also new productions? FTR, the Estate is about making money and introducing Michael to new listeners. That’s the way it SHOULD be. Thank God for that!:clap:
 

AlwaysThere

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Okay, let's break this one down sentence by sentence.
LONG POST ALERT -- summary at the bottom.

Eventually more music will be released...

Commentary from the Estate in regards to the condition of the vault has been so inconsistent and vague that it's difficult to ascertain what's fact and what's fiction. Karen Langford told the IRS that the vault was empty (I'll address that in depth next), yet the Estate here maintains that "eventually more music will be released." Who are they lying to?

... but there is nothing in the vaults that is finished and ready for release.

Oh. They're lying to the IRS.

It is a verifiable fact that there is completed music in existence that has yet to appear on a commercial product. Beyond the 10 bootlegged tracks that have popped up online over the last two decades, both John Branca and L.A. Reid have gone on record citing a minimum of 16 finished songs that were briefly considered for Xscape. Better still, it's safe to assume that that number omits material written/produced by reluctant or abstained parties (e.g., Quincy Jones, RedOne, Rod Temperton, will.i.am). If the vault is truly void of completed material, what of those 16 tracks?

We don’t and won’t release everything in the vaults based on the choices Michael made during his life.

What is this newfound sense of righteousness? Four years ago they willingly produced a remix album in which contemporary producers completely ignored the original material and concocted new music around the pre-recorded vocals, and now suddenly they care about what Michael would've wanted done with his music?

We agree with LA Reid’s philosophy on Xscape: we prefer to start with those recordings on which Michael sang full vocals...

I assume this school of thought was only adopted following Xscape, as there are several songs in their pre-2014 catalog that Michael never put full vocals to ("Hollywood Tonight," "Don't Be Messin' 'Round," "I'm So Blue," "Free," "Al Capone"). Hell, even "Love Never Felt So Good" isn't vocally finished!

... because we know those are the ones he put the most work into.

"Earth Song" toiled through six years of infrequent purification and several dozen mixes with a scratch vocal. Conversely, he ditched the completed "Loving You" rather promptly. Similarly, the finalized "Chicago" failed to make it past the summer of 1999, while "Shut Up and Dance" was granted no vocals whatsoever yet endured right up until his death. There are several other analogous examples to pick from.

There were many fully-finished songs that held little significance to Michael. Alternatively, there were many partial demos that he treasured. It was a case-by-case basis, and a blanket concept shouldn't be attributed to every outtake.

We are criticized by some fans when we don’t release unreleased material.

What self-pitying hogwash. Yes, those of us with an appetite for music will express some level of impatience or annoyance at delays or long periods of inactivity, but that's a commonality among an artist's fans, whether living or dead. Very few flat-out criticize the Estate for spacing out projects, as most of us are rational enough to recognize that Michael is no longer here to create new music, meaning all that exists is all that will EVER exist. Complaining about lulls in action is the least of concerns, especially when taking into account everything that fans could complain about.

Moreover, it should be noted that recent critiques have not been centered on the decision to step away from the vault, but rather on the bullsh*t rationales given to justify said decision. Honesty is always the best policy; whether or not we like the truth, the Estate would be far better off giving it.

And we are criticized by other fans when we release unreleased material using top producers, many of whom worked with Michael, to finish the recordings.

A considerable percentage of fans are preservationists — they want to hear the material essentially as it was found, without embellishments or outside interference, completely organic and authentic. That is hardly an unwarranted or excessive demand.

Even under circumstances in which outside producers must come in to finish the existing music, there is a clearly defined way to go about it: (a) only use individuals who knew Michael to an intimate-enough degree to properly execute his wishes onto a given track; and (b) enhance, DON'T remix.

MICHAEL was on the right course in this respect — the predominance of producers had collaborated with Michael in the past and, while clearly imperfect, the end game was to accentuate what was there rather than create from scratch and, on the whole, they succeeded — whereas XSCAPE completely dropped the ball by welcoming producers who likely never met Michael, much less worked with him, and dismissed everything beyond the existing vocals.

If we released demos by themselves, they would not be commercially successful because they are, by definition, unfinished.

Though not a universal alibi, most fans empathize with the focus on commercial viability and understand why it is a focal point — the Estate IS a business, after all, and businesses shouldn't/can't be expected to funnel money into a project that won't make a profit.

But to discount the several avenues through which the Estate could disseminate "unfinished" material without spending an exorbitant amount of money either shows stupidity or laziness. Since Michael's existing catalog will persist as the chief source of funds, why not let current pressings go out-of-print and repackage Thriller or Dangerous with outtakes and demos, effectively forcing the public into buying them? Or why not replicate The Ultimate Fan Extras Collection and toss a parcel of music on iTunes, requiring only mixing/mastering fees? Or assume Michael's philosophy and drop a single every so often?


TL/DR; not only is the Estate's justification for going on a musical hiatus full of holes and inconsistencies, their reaction to fan criticism boils down to juvenile finger-pointing and complaints of maltreatment. Clearly those who identify as anti-Estate will complain either way, but for the bulk of us who so desperately want to see them succeed, this sort of response is equal parts ludicrious and disheartening.
 
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Annita

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

I would be fine with a new album like Xscape but it needs to have 2nd disc with original demos too. I remember seeing that page before. I wonder when it was made? It isn't new.

They did the Q&A-session in time of the Scream-release.
 

dam2040

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This is old and shouldn’t be treated as new information. The Estate stance changes constantly and might have changed in the years since this was written.
 

Korgnex

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dam2040;4225424 said:
This is old and shouldn’t be treated as new information.

Yeah, the thread title is highly misleading.
 

Mikky Dee

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

Totally contradicting what they did for the "Michael"album....

Proof that they try to listen to fans and have learnt from their mistakes.
 

Mikky Dee

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

So bottom line, commercial success is really the deciding factor.

Of course. It is a primary objective of the Estate to generate income. This was the case, from the beginning, because of the large amount of debt to pay off and after that, the creditors' claims to settle. There is still the IRS to settle with and the Thome Thome case is pending....plus the financial well-being of the four heirs does not come cheap.
 

Mikky Dee

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

They will Tell us that mj hasnt left any finished song in the vaults!?

Not necessarily no finished songs.....just songs that may not be worthy of release, viable, or commercially successful.

This has been confirmed by other people who worked with Michael for decades.....it's not just coming from the executors.
 

Dunk96

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This is really just proving my point about how much The Estate could give a rat's ass about what the fans want.
The fans: "We want a new album of unreleased Michael songs and the Triumph and Victory Tours released on DVD/Blu-Ray"
The Estate: "How about a Broadway musical about Michael?"
They're completely ignoring everything we even suggest and shooting everything down so they can come up with new asinine concepts to further f*ck with his legacy. Nobody asked for a damn Broadway musical about Michael and nobody asked for a Halloween compilation album. Nobody asked for any of the sh*t they've been releasing and they're purposely downplaying what's in Michael's archives because "it's not a viable commercial moneymaker" which is far beyond the truth. People in the general public still love The Jacksons and a DVD/Blu-Ray release of Destiny,Triumph,and Victory Tours should have been top priority besides a Bad Tour release since Michael's passed and can't accomplish that anymore. What do they do instead? Further cement Sony into his legacy (which he didn't want in the first place when he was alive yet they still choose to work with them anyways) and completely turn his career into a joke. F*ck The Estate for everything they've done to "honor Michael's legacy". They're money hungry bastards and they don't give two f*cks about what Michael or the fans would have ever wanted. It's all about money to them and this makes my point as crystal clear as possible.
 

SmoothGangsta

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somewhereinthedark;4225415 said:
Well one thing we can all agree on: some fans are going to complain about WHATEVER the Estate does. Damned if they do release something, damned if they don’t. I especially like and agree with what they said about Xscape. IMO, the Estate did an excellent job with the Xscape album. We had one album with remixes/new productions and one with the originals. YET, there were still some fans not satisfied with that. What was there to complain about, when we had Michael’s original vocals and also new productions? FTR, the Estate is about making money and introducing Michael to new listeners. That’s the way it SHOULD be. Thank God for that!:clap:

I think the fact that the demos on the disc sounded like utter crap is enough to complain about. You are trying to diminish legit complaints by saying that they don't matter. I don't see what is wrong with complaining about the zero effort that went into the demos.
 

AlwaysThere

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

Not necessarily no finished songs.....just songs that may not be worthy of release, viable, or commercially successful.

This has been confirmed by other people who worked with Michael for decades.....it's not just coming from the executors.

But who are they to decide what is release worthy? Music is incredibly subjective; what some call garbage, others call genius. Some people hate "Don't Walk Away," though Michael and a team of Sony agents clearly thought it was worth releasing.

If a song is complete, it should be considered viable for release.
 

somewhereinthedark

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SmoothGangsta;4225438 said:
I think the fact that the demos on the disc sounded like utter crap is enough to complain about. You are trying to diminish legit complaints by saying that they don't matter. I don't see what is wrong with complaining about the zero effort that went into the demos.

It goes without saying that a demo is not going to sound pristine or perfect if you release it in its original form. Zero effort went into the demos? Isn’t that what some of you are complaining about? You want the estate to release demos “as they are” with no tweeking or changing them. Again, as I previously stated, some people complain about everything. Seriously, I guess some of you will be satisfied when the Estate releases NOTHING! FTR, I have no problem calling the Estate out when they pull something shitty as in the Michael album.
Btw, I like how the Estate is trying to gain new fans for Michael’s legacy and make money for his heirs. What good would this estate be if it didn’t do projects that would bring in money? I am a LONG time fan who wants Michael’s legacy to expand and endure. I am not one of these so-called “purist” who only wants to keep Michael to myself or release things that only I like. I want quality projects that will not only appeal to long time fans like me; but, bring in a new generation of fans. I just hate when “fans” try to sabotage every project. You may not know this, you are hurting Michael, NOT the Estate. If a project fails, then it is perceived by the media, public and even the fans, that Michael fails. The ones complaining about a release will be the first ones to jump on the bandwagon, if it is successful. Disagree all you want, but stop trying to undermine every project. Give it a chance!!!
 
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SmoothCriminal1995

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

But who are they to decide what is release worthy? Music is incredibly subjective; what some call garbage, others call genius. Some people hate "Don't Walk Away," though Michael and a team of Sony agents clearly thought it was worth releasing.

If a song is complete, it should be considered viable for release.

Firstly this is a great point

On the "statement", it's old so there stance may have changed, like others said. Who knows since releasing this they may have found or acquired more unreleased Michael material, Michael Prince (I think it was), hard drives humming new MJ material is coming (something like that), Teddy may have handed Joy? I do wish they were more transparent in general, not because they owe it to us but to themselves.

More importantly than this, I can't fathom why the Estate hasn't released any kind of statement regarding Don't Matter To Me. Whether you like the feature or not, it's set to debut in the top 3 in both the UK and the US and thus far, I don't think the Estate has even acknowledged it's existence. Very strange...
 

stephenvalek

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But who are they to decide what is release worthy? Music is incredibly subjective; what some call garbage, others call genius. Some people hate "Don't Walk Away," though Michael and a team of Sony agents clearly thought it was worth releasing.

If a song is complete, it should be considered viable for release.

Then we can all agree,that this is a Pandora's Box..
Keep producers away.Release DANGEROUS DELUXE(25 has gone)and put out extras..
Do the same for each future anniversary,and go along the same lines as BAD25 and TII double disc
 

Galactus123

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Re: Official Estate Statement about the Vault

Xscape did have a demo disc???

It was only in the Deluxe Edition:
140501_xscape_deluxe.jpg


Demo versions of the songs and that Justin Timberlake duet.
 

Lil Ced

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I emailed Alicia from the estate and she said that she can't say when a statement is coming but it will be soon...(regarding Don't Matter to Me)
 

WildStyle

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AlwaysThere and Dunk96 already broke it down perfectly. But I'll say that the legacy of Michael Jackson is in the wrong hands. They wont step down, so I hope (I actually have no hope anymore) they at least hire somebody that knows what they are doing... and more so than that... someone that CARES. Somebody that knows Michael's life and work. An MJ historian.

They've done nothing but treat MJ like a pop star and not the serious artist that he was. The fairly shallow documentaries by casual fan Spike Lee (someone not known for any type of stellar documentary work in the past) have done nothing to dispel that notion. They should have taken cues from how releases have been handled for other legacy artists like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis, etc, but they certainly don't seem like they have.

Still nothing about some sort of collectors label for Michael similar to the one Elvis has had since the late 90's. An avenue to keep the fans engaged and happy while making small profits and without having to worry about commercial viability. A place to release more of the raw and unfinished pieces of audio and video that they can't find a home for on general releases (or at least haven't been smart enough to think of a way to market to general music fans). Michael left a lot more in his vaults than Elvis did, yet every single year for decades there are multiple official Elvis releases coming out with previously unheard material on them.

These boards are fairly dead for an artist as popular as Michael. And that's because there's nothing really left to discuss. Nothing to keep us engaged or excited. No hope that there is anybody coming along that is going to change things for the better.

And that's not even mentioning the Cascio songs situation!
 
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