Michael Jackson Theft Of Unreleased Songs Confirmed By Sony

Remember those tracks Michael Jackson was said to have recorded with late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the early 1980s? Turns out they may (or may not) have fallen into the hands of hackers. Sony, which owns the rights to the King Of Pop’s remaining material, has admitted that its website was hacked, and a number of MJ’s tracks have been stolen. The label has declined to comment on how many songs or which ones were snatched. Other unreleased Michael Jackson material is said to include recordings with will.i.am. BBC News reports that the Jackson song theft happened shortly after April last year, following a hack on Sony’s Playstation Network where information on 70 million users was stolen.

Two men from the UK, James Marks, 26, and James McCormick, 25, were arrested last May in connection with the online thievery and are due to stand trial next year in January. The men appeared in court to deny computer misuse and copyright offenses, notes the BBC.

Sony reportedly paid $250 million in 2010 for the rights to Jackson’s remaining unreleased material. (That’s a pretty steep price tag, considering half of posthumous collection Michael was good for one or two listens, at best.)

And as far as the Freddie Mercury collaborations, Brian May and the rest of Queen supposedly needed to finish the tracks, anyway. “The Michael Jackson estate are happy for us to go ahead with the music,” May said in the fall. “But it’s not something that we can rush.”

Hopefully someone backed up the original recordings up on a hard drive.