From the nine gargantuan statues that were erected around Europe to the multi-million dollar promotion frenzy, the 1995 release of Michael Jackson’s HIStory remains one of music’s most overblown promotional campaigns.
Still arguably at the height of his mid-90s zenith, the King Of Pop wanted the whole world to know about HIStory: Past, Present And Future, Book 1, which bundled a greatest hits disc with what was to be MJ’s ninth collection of new studio material.
Such a vast marketing rollout requires an equally titanic production to meet the demand it’s drumming up supply for. And Sony Music, Jackson’s label, were on the case, with “hundreds of additional workers” working around the clock at Sony’s pressing plants to produce the millions of copies needed on store shelves for the June 16th, 1995 release date.
It’s that exact process that’s captured in an incredible promotional video that’s turned up online, as Stereogum reports. The nine-minute ‘making of’ video demonstrates each step in the process of producing a physical CD, acting a fascinating timepiece given today’s dominant digital landscape, the corporate clip coming complete with hokey screen wipes and then-cutting-edge-now-stone-age computer graphics.
But the real enjoyment comes from the fact the entire Sony video is awkwardly delivered in direct address to the King Of Pop himself as a series of everyday office types in hilariously dated ’90s fashion offer a “Hey, Michael” as they nervously explain their part in producing HIStory. (The casual Bryan “from the Tape Editing department” is our new hero.)
It’s likely that the vintage video may have been intended for Michael Jackson’s viewing only, especially given the height of his fame during the era – as a number of jittery Sony employees seem forced to make mention of in the video.
Of course these days, Sony obviously doesn’t have to stress so much about appeasing Jackson (or mass-producing CDS for that matter), with the label last
plundering reaching into the fallen pop star’s archives for the release of posthumous album XSCAPE back in 2014.
Immerse yourself in the funny, nostalgic Sony manufacturing video below, then check out MJ’s HIStory single ‘Stranger In Moscow’, as interpreted by Tame Impala, to bring you back safely from the 1995 time warp.