November 28, 2010



Unbeknownst to Michael, Sony started strategizing against him prior to Invincible.

After MJ announced that he was leaving Sony in 2002, the stakes had gone up. Michael was no longer perceived as a Sony artist but a business partner. Michael had the option to dissolve the LLC which would have cost Sony massive deficit.

Before the Invincible album and after Michael extracted himself from the Sony contract, a media firestorm erupted about his financial woes, catapulting into rumors that he was forced to sell his stake in Beatles Catalog.  Media quoted anonymous sources, reporting the details of Michael’s financial matters that only a few were privy to. Roger Friedman openly cited Sony insiders. 

The leaks emanated from the upper echelon of Sony, aiming to discourage investors from loaning to Michael by portraying him unviable for financial backing.

May 09, 2001 To refute the reports, Michael issued a Press Release:

                     “I want to clarify a silly rumor. The Beatles Catalog is not for sale,
                      has never been for sale and will never be for sale”

June 12, 2001 Michael meets with Sony executives at the Hit Factory Studio
to present them his next album: Invincible

Michael wants “UnBreakable” to be the first single of the album. He has an elaborate video concept. Sony declines and chooses “You Rock My World”. Sony brings in Hype Williams to propose a video concept and direct it.

July 2001 Dissatisfied with Hype Williams’ proposal, Michael hires Paul Hunter

to direct his own video concept for You Rock My World.

July 17-19, 2001 Sony sent a radio program director to an all-expenses-paid-trip

in exchange of airplay for Jennifer Lopez’s “I am Real” song

Aug 13-21 2001 Michael shoots You Rock My World music video, directed by Paul Hunter, featuring Chris Tucker and Marlon Brando.

Aug 17, 2001 "You Rock My World" was leaked to two New York radio stations.

It was first played by WJTM-FM at 6 p.m., with WKTU-FM airing it 45 min later.

Both stations played the song every 2 hours until 6 p.m. the next day but Sony called the program director for both stations, Frankie Blue, and asked him to STOP playing 'You Rock My World'

Aug 22, 2001 You Rock My World is released worldwide, except USA

American charts are calculated based on both radio play AND sales. Not releasing the single commercially adversely affected the song’s place in charts. Sony’s bogus excuse was that the single could harm the sales of the album but apparently this concern was reserved only to Invincible album

Sony released 9 singles from Michael Jackson “Dangerous” album (1991)
Sony released 6 singles from Michael Jackson “HIStory” album (1995)
Sony released 5 singles from Destiny’s Child “Survivor” album (2001)
Sony released 4 singles from Jennifer Lopez “JLO” album (2001)
Sony released 6 singles from Celion Dion “A New Day has Come” album (2002)

A #1 single is an essential, cost effective promotional tool for an album. It builds anticipation and hype for the record buying customers & the retailers. A Billboard chart analyst said “It was a huge mistake not to release the single”

At Michael’s request, Jay Z was featured in “You Rock My World Remix” .

In March 2002 VIBE magazine interview, Michael is asked about the Jay Z remix.

VIBE: Why did you choose Jay-Z for the remix of “You Rock My World“?
Michael: He’s hip, the new thing, and he’s with the kids today. They like his work. He has tapped into the nerve of popular culture. It just made good sense.

In return, Michael provided background vocals to Jay Z’s “Girls Girls Girls" which was supposed to be released as a single. Sony barred Jay Z from releasing the song with Michael Jackson vocals. So Jay Z refused Sony to release his “You Rock My World” Remix.

Jay Z released "Girls Girls Girls" as a hidden track in his "BluePrint" album. You will NOT see the song in album track listing. After the last song of the CD, there is a 25 second silence, followed by "Girls Girls Girls".

Sony had NO problems whatsoever when Brandy used Michael Jackson vocals on her song “It’s Not Worth It" on her Feb 2002 album "Full Moon".

Sony’s problem wasn’t that Jay Z used Michael’s vocals but that JayZ was featured in “Your Rock My World” remix which God forbid benefited the Invincible album sales that Sony was deliberately sabotaging.

Attorney General Elliot Spitzer investigated payola among record labels.

In layman terms, payola is when record companies pay radio stations to play specified artists and songs on the radio, regardless of their quality or popularity. This bribe came in forms of TVs, DVD Players, digital cameras, laptops, trips, car rentals, hotel stays, concert tickets, cash, etc

The investigation revealed that Sony employees concealed the bribes to radio stations, by using fictitious "contest winners" and make it appear as though the money and gifts were going to radio listeners instead of station employees.

Below are some confidential Sony emails, dating back to 2001, bribing radios to play artists like Celion Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Beyonce, etc.

One email reads “Can we say we are sending it to the radio station but just use Mike address (*Michael Saunders, program director). Because a lot of stuff gets lost when you send it to station WINK WINK"

A Sony employee wrote “What do I have to do to get AudioSlave on WKSS
this week?!!? Whatever you can dream up, I can make it happen

A program director for WKSE-FM received flight tickets in exchange for adding Jennifer Lopez's "I'm Real" song into radio playlist.

Sony even used MJ concert tickets to bribe radios to play OTHER artists!!!

Sony acknowledged the fraudulent practice of payola and settled for $10 million.

While Sony violated federal laws, bribing to promote its other artists, it went out of its way to sabotage Michael Jackson's Invincible album. While Sony was bribing radio stations to promote its other artists, it called in to STOP radio stations from playing, without any bribes, Michael Jackson’s “You Rock My World”.

When Michael and his fans accused Sony of deliberately sabotaging Invincible, media accused Michael for assigning the blame to Sony for Invincible's failure.

To date, no media outlet had the integrity to report the true extent and nature of the deliberate Sony sabotage on Michael Jackson’s Invincible album.

September 7 & 10 2001 Michael organized 2 Madison Garden Square concerts to promote Invincible. Sony sent a memo to its worldwide offices, instructing them not to participate in the promotion of the concerts. Michael requested from Sony to place an ad promoting Invincible during the televised broadcast. Sony declined. Strangely enough, Sony did place an ad promoting Jennifer Lopez’s album in her TV special that aired a week after Michael’s.

In 2001, the only times Michael sang “You Rock My World” was the only 2 times he performed it on MGS promotional concerts that he himself organized.

Sep 11, 2001 9/11 attacks

Sep 16, 2001 Michael announces that he will produce a charity song to fundraise for the families of 9/11 victims.

           “I want to do something to help those who lost their mothers and fathers.

           Those are our people. Those are our children. Those are our parents."

Sony refuses to fund the song so MJ pawned his own diamond-watch to fund it.

Sep 21, 2001 Michael records the song “You Are My Life” and he likes it so much that he decides to add it to the tracklist of Invincible, at the last minute.

Oct 21, 2001 MJ organized a benefit concert for 9/11 victims. United We Stand: What More Can I Give” was held at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.

He performed 'Man In The Mirror' and 'What More Can I Give'

Oct 22, 2001 Michael recorded Spanish version of “What More Can I Give”
Todo Para Ti

Oct 30, 2001 Invincible album is released worldwide

Nov 6, 2001 Butterfly was released in USA as radio play ONLY. It wasn't released commercially anywhere in the world.

Nov 1, 2001 MJ finished “What More Can I Give”, he wants it to be released immediately. Sony stoops to using a charity song produced out of love, to corner Michael: If he wanted to release it badly enough, Michael had to give up on his stake in Sony/ATV. Michael counter-offered to produce a Sony Playstation game and to participate in Sony movie projects for FREE. Sony declined, Michael had to give up on his charity song that he himself had to fund.

Nov 7, 2001 To promote Invincible album on his own, Michael organized his

first ever in-store signing event in New York.

Dec 03, 2001 “Cry” was released worldwide, except USA

Michael was displeased with the video concept Sony proposed. Sony won't fund HIS video concept so Michael refuses to appear in the video. Sony filmed and released the Cry video without Michael’s participation.

Jan 9 2002 Michael appears on American Music Awards to accept ‘Artist of The Century’ Award. Sony doesn’t advertise Invincible. Instead promotional material from 1995 HIStory album was shown.

Similarly, during American BandStand 50th Anniversary Special on April 20,
Michael performed “Dangerous” – 10 yr old song.

When he appeared on April 24 at Apollo Theater for "Every Vote counts" Democratic FundRaiser with Bill Clinton, Michael  performed “Dangerous,
Black or White & Heal the World”.

Why was Michael Jackson performing old songs
when his Invincible album was sinking down the charts?

Michael was forbidden by Sony to perform from his Invincible album.

February 2002 Sony intensified its financial pressure on Michael.

February 2002 Despite of his personal feelings about touring, Michael wants to
do a World Tour to settle his loan with Sony.

February 27, 2002 Michael received a Grammy nomination for 'Best Male Pop Vocal Performance' for You Rock My World. Sony informes Michael that he couldn’t perform any material from Invincible album. This restriction prevented Michael from performing the very song for which he received a Grammy nomination, as well as any other song from Invincible. Beleaguered Michael cancelled his Grammy Award appearance.

March 16, 2002 Michael attends David Gest & Liza Minnelli wedding in NY. He invites several trusted fans to his suite to explain the situation with Sony and asks fans to push the promotion of Invincible.
March 2002 After heated debates with Sony about Unbreakable video budget, Michael decides to finance & produce it himself. He hires Bret Ratner to direct it.

March 4, 2002 Roger Friedman quoted a Sony insider “Sony Music Publishing's President Richard Rowe is now in constant contact with Michael Jackson. The reason? It's time for Jackson to relinquish his half of the Beatles' catalog to Sony. Sony will either make him a cash offer for the catalog or just call the note but it's going to happen. Richard Rowe is on the phone with him all the time. Sony's fiscal year ends March 31, which is impetus for Rowe to work out the deal quickly. Sony Corp.'s stock price is just about half of what it was last May.”

March 6, 2002 “We are not in discussions with Mr. Jackson over the sale of his share of the ATV catalog. These rumors are completely baseless." –Sony

March 8, 2002 “Michael Jackson's financial problems are real, folks, make no mistake about it. And Sony Music's denial shouldn't make anyone feel better about the situation. A Sony business insider confirmed for me that "foreclose" would have been the appropriate word. Indeed, this is a mighty good spin-doctoring on Sony's part since they wouldn't have to buy the Catalog they would actually be foreclosing on it” –Roger Friedman  

March 2002 3 scheduled appearances are cancelled due to Sony-MJ dispute.

March 20, 2002 Sony tells Michael not to bother with the Unbreakable video.

Sony halts ALL Invincible promotions, offering no explanation to consumers.

March 2002 Invincible became Invisible 5 months after its release. The album disappeared from Sony’s “international priority” list. In comparison, HIStory album had stayed on the list for 2 years.

April 11 2002 FanClub MJ Hideout reports “After receiving thousands of protests from fans around the world, the Epic headquarters in New York now answer that, simply, they do nothing for Invincible because Michael Jackson is not an important artist for the company”

Apr 24, 2002 Michael is in NY to appear at “Every Vote Counts” Democratic Fundraiser with Bill Clinton and American Bandstand 50th Anniversary Program.

3 Anti-Sony demonstrations are jointly organized by several fanclubs, one in front of Sony headquarters in Manhattan, one in front of NBC studios (airing American Bandstand 50th Anniversary) and one in front of Apollo Theater (hosting the Democratic fundraiser)

April 28 2002 Michael Jackson fanclubs issued a joint Statement, exposing Sony’s sabotage of the Invincible album as a strategy to acquire full control of the Beatles Catalog.

Worldwide Fanclubs organize to re-launch Invincible album.

April 2002 Martin Bashir approaches Uri Geller to express his interest for a documentary on Michael Jackson (Source: Bashir 2005 Court Testimony)

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