Quincy Jones is suing the estate of Michael Jackson for $10 million. He says he’s been cheated out of royalties he should have been paid from the two Cirque du Soleil projects which use Jackson’s music, the 25th. anniversary edition of Bad, and the soundtrack for This Is It. Jones coproduced some of Michael Jackson’s best-known iconic albums, like Thriller, Bad, and Off the Wall.
Jones, 80, declares in court documents that he was purposefully cheated out of royalties he should have received for his contributions to the Michael Jackson music which appears on the This Is It album, the Bad 25th. anniversary album, and the Cirque du Soleil shows which have used Jackson’s songs. He claims that the songs were remixed and edited in an attempt to deny him royalties.
Howard Weitzman, the attorney for the Jackson estate, stated that as far as the estate knows, the compensation which Quincy Jones was allowed for his “35 years” he worked with Michael Jackson has been appropriate, based on the contracts he’s signed.
In 1978 and 1985, Quincy Jones signed deals with Sony so that if any Michael Jackson tracks he worked on ever got “revamped” he would get a “backend” piece of the resultant profits. However, Jones says that the Jackson estate specifically, MJJ Productions, which is owned by the estate)and Sony “entered into a venture agreement” with each other to deny him royalties he should have been paid.
The deals 27 times Grammy Award winner Jones signed with Sony were supposed to also allow him to have the first opportunity to re-edit or remix any master recordings he was involved with, according to the lawsuit.
Jones is alleging that Sony, in conspiring with the Jackson estate to deny him royalties involving third parties, breached his contract. Besides the $10 million that Jones is suing for, he is asking for a full accounting of all of the money which he was possibly denied, as well as other potential payment of royalties he might be owed.
When Michael Jackson signed with Epic Records, a Sony subsidiary, Jones was supposed to get credit, payments, an opportunity to approve any biographical material, and a regular statement of accounting about how much royalty money he should be compensated.
To capitalize on the King of Pop’s death (June 25, 2009), in October of 2009, the movie “This Is It” was released by Columbia Pictures. Then, in 2011, Cirque du Soleil created the show “Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour,” which has earned (in gross revenues) an incredible $300 million so far. Last May, Cirque du Soleil’s new show, “Michael Jackson: One,” went on tour, and albums made from those two shows are also available in stores.
Quincy Jones and his attorney allege that an effort was made by the defendants to disguise diverted revenues to MJJ Productions and refer to them as “profits” when they really were “royalties” which should have been paid to Jones.
According to the lawsuit, Sony allegedly licensed some of Jackson’s naster recordings and then divided up the compensation “into one portion designated for the master use licenses (the “Master Use License Fees”) and another portion paid directly to MJJ (the “Additional Fees”).”
So far, Sony has not released any comments about the lawsuit. Quincy Jones has not added any further comments to his allegations mentioned in the lawsuit against Sony and the Michael Jackson estate, in which he alleges he was deprived of royalties he should have received. Jones blames secret agreements that Sony entered into with MJJ Productions for his being cheated out of royalties.
Written by: Douglas Cobb