March 10, 2020
Continuing to release music of dead artists can raise many questions. There are different perspectives you can look at it from. This includes the perspective of a music appreciator, a legal perspective, and if it is ethically/morally wrong or not. One of these questions is, should we be happy that their music is being released even though they did not want it to be? Think of some music from an artist which was released after the artists had passed. Now think about the way it makes you feel and any significant impact it has had on you. If you removed that music from your life do you think anything would change? A follow up question is do you think unfinished music is a case of fraud or just the work of the artist? If an artist leaves behind only vocal recordings then they are released with other components of a finished song, then clearly it isn’t only the original artists work.
Some writers question who is being harmed when we listen to music against dead artists wishes. When these songs are being released, we are listening to music containing recordings that the artists probably thought were not good enough and didn’t want it heard by others. Each of these questions comes from Chris Richards’s “The Five Hardest Questions in Pop Music”. Focusing closely on the unfinished work of artists as fraud or not, writer Anthony Cross delivers “I think that Jackson’s estate ought to respect Jackson’s rights of attribution and disclosure by making it clear that any unfinished works to be released are not ultimately attributable to Jackson as finished works” (Cross para 9). Although releasing the finished works as Jackson’s could be fraud, releasing the unfinished works as a remix, not not only Jackson’s name, would not seem to be fraud.