By Anthony L Hall
Truth be told, when producers raised the curtain on Michael Jackson’s much-hyped performance, in hologram form, at last month’s Billboard Music Awards, far from being thrilled, I was just creeped out.
Anthony L. Hall is a Bahamian who descends from the Turks and Caicos Islands. He is an international lawyer and political consultant - headquartered in Washington DC - who also publishes a current events weblog, The iPINIONS Journal, at http://ipjn.com
But it occurred to me that, if they could make it appear like Michael had risen from the dead to perform live on stage, they could probably make it sound like he had risen from the dead to record new songs in studio too.
This would surely put a new spin on the dubious practice of selling “previously recorded but unreleased songs” after a singer’s death. After all, the reason most songs remain unreleased is that the singer thinks they suck.
Now, though, not only can technology make Michael’s voice sound better than it ever did, but the executors of his estate can hire writers to pen songs that do that digitally enhanced voice justice.
The problem of course is that the executors of any singer’s estate can market any computer-generated song as previously recorded but unreleased. Especially given that it would be in the financial and legal interest of all involved in perpetrating this computer fraud to … play along.
But just imagine the windfall for Michael’s estate that would come from:
• releasing Thriller
-like albums in perpetuity;
• MJ concert tours, in hologram form, earning more in gross receipts than concert tours by the likes of Bon Jovi, Rihanna, and Bruce Springsteen, all in living form. The rapturous reaction most people had to his holographic performance at the Billboard Music Awards certainly bodes well in this respect. Not to mention that his Cirque Du Soleil “Immortal World Tour,” which was second only to Bon Jovi’s last year with earnings of $157 million, is already proving a perennial money printing machine;
• the pathologically spendthrift Michael, in life form, no longer being around to spend it all.
And all of that would be on top of this:
The self-proclaimed King of Pop was struggling to avoid bankruptcy when he died on June 25, 2009… But in five years since, the Michael Jackson Estate -- which runs his affairs on behalf of Jackson's mother and three children -- has earned over $700 million…
‘Michael Jackson is making more money now, five years after his death, than he had been since the prime of his career,’ Zack Greenburg, author of ‘Michael Jackson Inc.,’ told AFP.
(Business Insider, June 24, 2014)
Again, none of this would’ve been (or would be) possible if Michael were still alive. On the contrary, if he were still alive, chances are very good that he’d be not only a washed-up walking freak show, but a dead-broke deadbeat to boot.
But try telling that to any of his die-hard fans who commemorated the fifth anniversary of his death on Wednesday, June 25….
Meanwhile, it can only be a matter of time before executors of the estates of other dead singers begin producing performances, in hologram form, and releasing new, computer-generated songs marketed as previously recorded but unreleased. (I know, the executors of Tupac’s estate had him perform, in hologram form, long before Michael did.)
More to the point, the beneficiaries of Whitney Houston’s estate must be praying -- not so much that she may rest in peace, but that she may turn out to be as much of a cash cow in death as Michael is turning out to be.
And, given the way drugs ravaged her looks and voice over the last ten years of her life, the executors of her estate will probably seize the opportunity to sanitize her legacy with performances, in hologram form, of Whitney in her early days … before crack made her look and sound so whack.
Xscape! More pedophile charges…