Justin Bieber's surprise vocal duet on Michael Jackson's unreleased song "Slave 2 The Rhythm" which leaked on Friday, unleashed a rash of news reports, support from Bieber's fans and almost universal fury from Jackson fans.
Following Sony Music Entertainment's copyright claim which led to the taking down of Youtube and Soundcloud posts of the song, the Michael Jackson Estate has now released a public statement.
Issued yesterday, the statement came via the Estate's official Twitter account. It read:
"For those who have been asking about the recently posted recording of 'Slave 2 The Rhythm' by Michael and Justin Bieber, this recording was not authorized."
The statement continued: "We can assure you that the Estate is quite upset about the leak and is doing everything in its power to get the song removed from as many sites and YouTube channels as possible."
Ahead of Friday's leak, but without specifically referring to the track, Bieber tweeted:"Excited for what is to come. M.J set the bar. Not only for music but for being an entertainer and how you treat the fans. Wish he was here..."
The teen star posted further Jackson-centric tweets the day after the leak.
Despite speculation by Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman that the Jackson family gave Bieber's team access to "Slave 2 The Rhythm" in 2012, new details on the duet's origin have since come to light.
Max Methods, who is credited as producer on the new electro-dance version, spoke exclusively to Damien Shields, a Jackson catalog archivist.
"I work with Tricky Stewart. He signed me to his label Red Zone Ent, and had me re-produce the record," Methods reveals.
The DJ added: "He also had Justin [Bieber] record new vocals. I do not know how it leaked."
In 2010, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart produced a batch of songs which were being considered for the first official music release by the Estate and Sony Music after Jackson's death in 2009.
"Slave 2 The Rhythm" --- allegedly written in 1989 as a contender for Jackson's 1991 Dangerous album --- was one of the songs Tricky worked on. It didn't make the cut on 2010's Michael album, but did leak online in December that year.
Out of all the questions raised by the leak mess, perhaps the most pressing is the simplest.
Given that Tricky's production of "Keep Your Head Up" was accepted onto the first posthumous Jackson album suggesting he is an Estate approved producer, is the executors' statement an objection to just the leak --- or also Bieber?
He set the bar pic.twitter.com/gCMGHWLK4t
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 17, 2013