As many of you know, I have been making music for a long time, both as an artist and creator of music for many other artists, including Whitney Houston and Sting. In the late eighties, it was my great fortune to be pursued by a very persistent Michael Jackson, who was extremely interested in making music with me.
Michael had heard songs from an album I wrote and produced on a talented young artist named Shanice Wilson. For the next couple of years, from about ‘89 to ‘91, I worked on tracks for what would become Michael’s “Dangerous” album. Among the songs/tracks I created for this project: “Work That Body”, “Serious Effect”, “She Got It” and “Man In Black”. And there are many others. During that time, through my association with Michael, I was gleefully enlisted to write and produce the Simpsons’ track, “Do The Bartman”.
I’m not sure what MJ fans know about my history as a songwriter, instrumentalist and producer, but regarding the MJ tracks I created, these are unfinished MASTERS, not mere “demos” (as in a demonstration tape; the tracks out there are from actual MASTERS, the real thing).
The recordings are of live performances, not sequenced tracks, and I am (other than MJ) the only performer. Many long hours/days/weeks/months went into the creation of this music. MY music.
And yet, while this music has been and continues to be pirated and bootlegged, I have not profited one cent. Nothing. Even as you read this, the music is posted in forums, on YouTube, and passed around hundreds of thousands of times in many ways.
I’ve actually had people write me asking for copies and requesting--for their own purposes-- a break-down on how I created the tracks. Seemingly, they are unaware (or don't care) that they are asking me to literally hand over to them my livelihood.
Online, I have seen Ebay auctions. Of MY music. I am astonished that people so willingly attempt to profit from someone else’s life endeavors (it’s not like I’m dead).
Which brings me to this: Dear friends and music fans, I am an artist who is also a professional—meaning, my creativity is my livelihood. When you go to work, you expect to be paid. It’s no different for the creative artist.
It is in this spirit that I humbly and respectfully ask: If you have downloaded this music, shared this music, posted this music, even edited your own versions of this music (as some of you have), then I graciously ask that you please support the creator of the music.
Pay me. Something. Make a donation. Whatever you think monetarily fair. Make your contribution to this creativity at Paypal(friends and family) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To be honest, I’ve thought long and hard about this. Why now? Would such a request come off as tacky? Uncouth? I discussed it with friends; went back and forth about it in my head. Frankly, I was—and remain--concerned about the optics of it all.
And then I considered fairness.
For years, these bootlegged tracks that I wrote and created—which MJ’s Estate and Sony have made clear they have NO plans to release--have been distributed illegally around the world. These tracks have become the pirated, global equivalent of multi-platinum hits in their own, unauthorized right.
I have decided that some compensation from anyone who downloads, shares, and otherwise has engaged with this music, is not too much to ask.
Because of the undying interest in this work, at some point soon, I shall post clean, HQ copies of all of these tracks, including what you may not have heard. At that time, I will even answer questions and inquiries.
Meanwhile, I am presently completing new music, work that I am most excited about. I'm certain that among the new tracks to come are things MJ fans will enjoy. Stayed tuned.
I appreciate your taking the time to read and hopefully understand this letter and consider my request.