Look out for the blood stains on Sony’s carpet. The record label has taken a potentially huge blow with the hacking of their PlayStation network and the resulting illegal copying of 50,000 music files—including the entire back catalogue of one of the biggest and most commercially valuable pop stars of all-time, Michael Jackson. British paper The Sunday Times reports that the theft actually occurred all the way back in April 2011, but only came to light recently. “Everything Sony purchased from the Michael Jackson estate was compromised,” a connected source at Sony confirmed to the BBC.
That “everything” includes previously unheard duets between MJ and fellow pop superpowers Freddie Mercury and Will.i.am, as well as oodles of other unreleased material from the Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad recording sessions. The catalogue cost Sony a reported $200 million guaranteed, in return for ten projects over the course of seven years. In addition to MJ’s catalogue, there’s untold hundreds of other artists whose music could be affected by the cyberburglary, including such label roster artists as Chris Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Billy Joel and the Foo Fighters.
In truth, we’re not sure how the rest of MJ’s unreleased back catalogue was ever gonna be worth all that much—first posthumous compilation Michael didn’t exactly set the world on fire—but we hope this doesn’t hurt our chances of getting to hear “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” or “The Way You Make Me Feel” in car and fast-food commercials. That would strike us like a crescendo, certainly.