Remember last April, when a fleet of hackers infiltrated Sony‘s PlayStation network and stole the personal info of 77 million gamers? It turns out that another prong of their attack was to go after Sony’s music collection—primarily, the rights to Michael Jackson‘s song that Sony had paid $395 million for.
Authorities think that the hackers got away with 50,000 music files collectively worth about $253 million. (Suffice to say, it’s the largest cyber attack in music history, not that there’s been a lot of precedence.) What’s worse, some of those tracks were unreleased singles that Jackson had recorded with will.i.am and Freddie Mercury prior to his 2009 death.
Sony was planning to release 10 new albums in the coming years, but this revelation makes you wonder if they’ll be able to proceed with that business plan. It may turn out to be less devastating since two suspects were arrested last May and will stand trial in January 2013. For the time being, James Marks and James McCormick pleaded not guilty and got off on bail. And you know what’s more? They’re both fans of the King of Pop; authorities found them through Michael Jackson fansites.
I can’t help but feel like there’s some karma at play here, albeit a few degrees removed. It always seemed like a dick move for Jackson to outbid Paul McCartney for publishing rights of the Beatles‘ song catalogue back in 1984. A few years ago, I read this awesome alternate history where the Beatles got back together and Jackson died when his costume caught on fire during his Pepsi commercial. The story has a keen reversal where McCartney buys out the deceased Jackson’s back catalogue for $250 million. It’s all very fitting.