Home Celebrity Quincy Jones Accuses Michael Jackson Estate, Sony Music of “Clandestine Agreements”–Wants $10...

Quincy Jones produced “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” and “Bad.” Michael Jackson fans like to think the King of Pop did everything himself, but Q made those albums what they are. He produced all the tracks, shaped them, arranged them. Now he’s suing Jackson’s estate and Sony for all the remixes and reissues they’ve done since Michael died. Jones claims in the lawsuit, filed Friday night, that he had very solid contracts detailing how his permission was needed to do anything. And neither Sony nor the Estate, he says, ever consulted him.

This was brewing for a long time. Despite Quincy putting on a good face during Michael’s memorial service and funeral, the famed producer was not happy. It had been a long time since he’d seen or spoken to Michael. And Jackson was not one to share credit. In the 90s and 2000s Jackson seemingly excised Quincy from his history as he himself believed in the King of Pop nickname.

The issue will be over permission to alter Quincy’s famous tracks, and how much money he is owed for that. In the lawsuit. Jones is alleging that Sony and MJJ Productions (aka The Jackson Estate) set up a “secret” company so that Quincy could not keep track of what was going on. The complaint details “Disguised Royalties” and “Clandestine Agreements.”

At the heart of the issue are post-death projects like the “This is It” movie and the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas. Songs from all three albums that Quincy produced with Michael are used, reworked, and mixed up to make them seem new and different. Those three albums constitute the heart of Jackson’s moneymaking, with most of his hits coming from them. Subsequent albums like “Dangerous,” “HIStory,” and “Invincible” simply are not on that plane.

Jones’s complaint eyeballs his losses at $10 million or more. Stay tuned because there’s more to come. This could get interesting. Much as the Jackson executors have done a very good job with Michael’s estate, Quincy Jones wouldn’t be filing such a lawsuit unless there was some validity to his claim.




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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
5 replies to this post
  1. I responded to this article the minute I saw it on 10/25 because it was so ridiculously biased but most of the time you won’t print my comments though they are never obscene or rude. Why??

    Quincy did it all. Are you kidding??! And who do you think believes that for a minute??

  2. In your first sentence you go wrong… in more than one way. I’m a pretty hardcore fan, but I’m well aware Michael has always sought collaborations. Your second mistake is this sentence: “Q made those albums what they are”. It’s true in some ways. But have you ever listened to Michael’s most legendary song, Billie Jean? The demo version has nothing to do with Quincy Jones. But it’s the blueprint for what was put on the album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obvf95aCyWs

  3. This isnt a comment for your board, Roger, but could you ask Quincy Jones , why he chose to use the same lawyer as Wade Robson, atleast the name is the same, and this is a lawyer who has referred to MJ as a monster
    I think we both know Wade is upset that he lost the Vegas gig to Jamie King, and as I recall, Branca initially said his son was sick , and he didnt have a signed contract.
    Soundslike he had a falling out with the estate lawyers and although alot ofpeople think AEG had something to do with his acccusations, I think they were timed to rain on the parade of the new vegas shows, because they came out as the same time the estate was promoting, this new venture
    So that , to me , seems like both Wade and Q have a gripe with the immortal and vegas one shows and this particular lawyer is involved with both parties..Do you know ho hired this lawyer first?
    Please dont put this on your board.I am just wonderingif you have any info on this ..
    Thanks Nan

  4. Oh Roger, please…. Q made those albums what they are???? He produced all the tracks, shaped them, arranged them, … really????
    IT WAS MICHAEL JACKSON HIMSELF WHO MADE HIS ALBUMS ICONIC, HIS ARTISTIC PERSONALITY/character AND MEDIA IMAGE including his talent and MJ´s PR profile through his videos and iconic fashion style!

    You mean that Quincy who did not like Billie Jean and Smooth Crimminal (both written by MJ=MJ is the songwriter/copywrite owner…) and who wanted to kick them off of the final sessions?

    Billie Jean and Smooth Crimminal are (not only imo) the two MOST ICONIC MJ´s (video/choreography) songs (and amongst the most iconic ever in music history), and what it would have been like without them? For Q or MJ or music?

    Quincy needed Michael, and NOW, btw Roger, do you know that Henry Gradstein, the lawyer of Q, IS the same attorney who is representing Wade Robson in his money grab attempt!
    It says Gradstein & Marzano lawfirm right there on that complaint.

    The fact he is using the same Attorneys as Wade Robson really disturbs me and question his motives. I truly hope he wasn’t aware of that. Something seems very fishy (stinky) with that.

    I don’t believe in such a coincidence nor do I believe Quincy deliberately hand picked the very same lawyer who represents WR. What I believe is that this guy approaches people in MJ’s life and tries to find a way for them to sue MJ’s Estate and make money.

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