XSCAPE 2.0: New Michael Jackson album to be re-released later this year with additional material?

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The latest posthumous Michael Jackson album Xscape comprises of eight remixed tracks recorded by the King of Pop between 1980 and 1999. The Deluxe Edition also includes the original versions of those eight tracks, plus an additional remix of “Love Never Felt So Good” featuring  Justin Timberlake. However, come the end of the year, the album could have further expanded its offerings. 

The Estate of Michael Jackson and Epic Records have a hit with Xscape and are now looking at how they can make the most of the success-wave the album is currently riding. With worldwide sales passing the 1 million mark weeks ago, and the second single “A Place With No Name” to be released in August, attention behind closed doors will likely be turned towards a top-secret plan to re-release the album in the 4th quarter of 2014.

The strategy is simple: Re-release the album with the addition of a handful of new songs in the lead-up to Christmas and watch it return to the top of the charts.

Epic Records chief L.A. Reid has spoken about the process of putting the existing Xscape album together in a series of promotional interviews over the last few months. Reid explains that they initially had approximately twenty-four tracks available. Those twenty-four were then narrowed down to the fourteen strongest. From there, the remixing process began, and ultimately eight tracks were chosen for the album.

However, as part of the plan to re-release the album, fans could end up hearing all fourteen of the strongest tracks – the eight that were released on Xscape and up to six new ones being considered for the re-release, which we’ll refer to as ‘Xscape 2.0‘ for now. (Note: Xscape 2.0 is not the official title of the re-release concept – at least not to my knowledge anyway!)

Following the Xscape album’s May 13 release producer Rodney Jerkins hinted that Jackson fans might be in for more material than they’d already been given.

“We got more surprises coming,” Jerkins told Rolling Stone back in June. “I’m sure there are a few more great things out there and hopefully we’ll all have a chance to hear them.”

Fans who followed the lead-up to the Xscape album’s release will remember speculation about the possible inclusion of a Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige and D’Angelo cover-version of Sly Stone’s “Hot Fun In The Summertime.” L.A. Reid’s son Aaron Reid, who works A&R for Epic Records, was responsible for putting that collaboration together for the album. It didn’t make the cut in May, but could very well be included on Xscape 2.0 later this year.

One of Jackson’s unpublished collaborations with Brad Buxer, called “I Was The Loser,” may come into consideration for Xscape 2.0. L.A. Reid personally loved the track upon hearing it for the first time in late-September last year. Another track that has yet to make its way onto any official projects, and remains unleaked, is Rodney Jerkins’s Invincible outtake “Can’t Get Your Weight Off Of Me.”

Other unpublished materials at Epic Records’ disposal include tracks from the Bad and Dangerous album sessions such as “Throwing Your Life Away” and “If You Don’t Love Me” to name just two of many. In 2010 Mark Ronson worked on a track for the Michael album called “Lovely Way.” Ultimately it was not selected and remains unreleased.

Re-releasing Xscape in the 4th quarter with such new additions could boost the album’s sales in a very significant way. As I’ve stated in previous articles, the fact that the album has sold more than 1.1 million copies worldwide so far is impressive considering it has not benefitted from any kind of festive sales spike or post-release promotion. It’s purely been running on the fumes of a successful lead single in “Love Never Felt So Good”.

With a handful of new reasons for fans to purchase another copy of the album, and a dozen reasons for those who are yet to get one to do so, the Christmas period could very well add an extra million-or-so copies to Xscape‘s worldwide sales tally. Throw in the possible-release of a new single from the additional material in November and Epic Records really can’t go wrong. The frantic purchasing habits of consumers during the festive season would almost certainly result in much stronger-than-usual sales from mid-November all the way until the new year. It’s a no-brainer to have your products on shelves and being promoted during that period.

XO book layout imageDamien Shields is the author of the book Xscape Origins: The Songs & Stories Michael Jackson Left Behind about Michael Jackson’s artistry and creative process. Click here to order your copy today - also available via Amazon, Kindle, iBooks, and Google Play. Follow Damien on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with Michael Jackson-related news.

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