Michael Jackson may have had a chequered career personally, but the fame and importance of his music cannot be denied, and that is why Sony Records purchased the rights to his unreleased back catalogue from the Jackson estate last year for $250 million. That may sound like a lot of money, but Michael Jackson continues to be one of the most commercially successful artists ever, and the cache of recordings is rumoured to number around 50,000 with duets from the likes of the late Freddie Mercury of Queen and Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas – making them very valuable indeed.
The value of these recordings, however, did not seem to warrant keeping them on a non-connected computer as hackers stole the music files last year at a point when Sony was apparently lax in their IT security and lost the personal details of users of their PlayStation Network (PSN). The breach was only noticed when a worker noticed fans talking about the unreleased material on forums, but it is as yet unclear about how many of the tracks have leaked or in what state the recordings were in. The men responsible have been arrested already according to The Guardian, but the Police’s recent success rate with getting the right hackers has been a little underwhelming.
What companies everywhere should take from this, is if you have something worth stealing then people will try to do so – so either make an effort with security or put the files on a non-internet-connected PC.