Album with unreleased Michael Jackson songs to be auctioned

The late pop star Michael Jackson performing at a concert in Paris in 1988.
The late pop star Michael Jackson performing at a concert in Paris in 1988.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK •Two upcoming events should prove to be a Thriller for fans of Michael Jackson, whose hit album of the same name came out in 1982.

If anyone has US$1 million (S$1.38 million) to make a bid, he is likely to snap up an album that includes nine unreleased Jackson songs at an auction in New York from next Wednesday to July 28.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, the songs are on a disc with the word Bible penned on it.

Three tracks from the disc - Monster, Breaking News and Keep Your Head Up - have already popped up on an album called Michael, launched in 2010 after the pop star's death the year before.

The other nine tracks, all of which are supposedly of master quality, have never been released.

The auction house revealed that the disc came from "the personal friend and personal assistant to Michael whose family was very close to Michael for many years, travelling all over the world with him".

The starting bid is US$50,000, but the hammer is expected to fall only when the figure reaches as high as US$1 million.

The winning bid does not come with the rights to distribute the music, so there is no immediate potential to make money out of it.

Fans with shallower pockets may want to consider bidding for other Jackson items, such as his hand- drawn self-portraits and clothes.

But one thrilling experience will not cost a cent.

An animated television special featuring the late star will premiere soon.

His estate said Michael Jackson's Halloween will air on CBS in the United States around the Oct 31 holiday dedicated to the ghoulish and supernatural.

The estate added that it was also in talks to broadcast the show abroad, reported Agence France- Presse.

Since the singer's death, his estate has pursued a range of projects to monetise the legacy of one of pop history's top-selling artists.

Success has been mixed, with the estate putting up for sale his Neverland ranch in California after early talk of preserving it.

The estate, meanwhile, has to fend off, in a Los Angeles court, a claim from Quincy Jones, one of Jackson's key collaborators, over money which the producer said is owed to him, the Variety trade publication reported.

The three-week hearing has finally taken off after Jones sued the estate in 2013, saying he had not been paid US$10 million from projects rolled out after Jackson's death, including a 25th anniversary reissue of the Bad album plus a This Is It concert film (2009) and live album.

Jones is now seeking more than US$30 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2017, with the headline 'Album with unreleased Michael Jackson songs to be auctioned'. Print Edition | Subscribe