Sony Music has spurned the world’s biggest music retailer, denying iTunes the right to distribute its recently-released posthumously-released Michael Jackson cash-grab-cum-album, This Is It. Or has it?

iTunes won’t be offering the album, a report this morning claimed – and it’s that now age-old argument over denying consumers rights to cherry-pick the best tracks that is to blame. However, that report has since been refuted by a senior Sony source.

Presumably Sony knows it’s gonna make money from Jackson fans with this release, and there’s unlikely to be another album from the artist in future, so the label wants as much as it can get. ‘Least, that’s our opinion.

The album’s set to ship on October 26 internationally and on the following day in the US.  The double-disc ships just before the theatrical and DVD release of Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’, which comprises a compilation of rehearsals for the ill-starred series of shows at London’s O2, shows which never took place due to the untimely passing of the singer.

PaidContent informs: “Sources close to the release noted that Sony Music Entertainment and the Jackson estate have opted to only offer downloads within a bundled album.  Apple insists on individual track downloads, a stance that precludes its participation.”

Bad news for Apple will be good news for Amazon, which will get digital music store exclusivity on the release, the report claims.

However, since then a Sony vice president has told Wired that discussions to resolve the problem continue, and that the music will after all be available through iTunes. "I’m happy to report that [that] story is incorrect," said Epic Records (Sony) senior vice president of publicity Lois Najarian. "Michael Jackson’s This It It album will indeed be for sale on iTunes on October 27. I don’t have much more information to impart other than that right now, but suffice to say fans will be able to purchase it there."

Some speculation exists suggesting Sony may side-step the problem by releasing Jacko’s collection in the iTunes LP format.

UPDATE: Paul Resnikoff at Digital Music News is sticking to his guns, saying – counter to various reports emanating from Wired and the Wall Street Journal – "Sony Music Entertainment and Apple have not reached a deal to position Michael Jackson’s This Is It on the iTunes Store, according to sources Wednesday morning." Resnikoff, who has been covering such matters for many years longer than most involved in rebuttal of his story, says negotiations have indeed intensified, but no resolution has yet been reached. Read it here.

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