In the wake of an accusation by Quincy Jones that Michael Jackson “stole” Donna Summer’s 1982 single “State of Independence” for his own “Billie Jean,” streams of “State” grew tremendously in the U.S., according to initial reports to Nielsen Music.
On Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 (the day of and after Jones’ Vulture interview was published, respectively) combined, “State” collected more than 150,000 on-demand audio and video streams — up more than 12,000 percent compared to its on-demand streaming sum on Feb. 5 and 6 (less than 2,000 streams). Clearly, readers of Jones’ interview were very curious to see if they could hear anything in “State” that sounded similar to “Billie Jean.”
“Billie Jean” also grew in streaming activity, but by a more measured amount. It was up 4 percent in on-demand audio and video streams on Feb. 7 and 8, growing to 1.15 million (compared to 1.10 million on Feb. 5 and 6). Its smaller growth in streams is likely explained by how the song is probably much more familiar to most listeners, as compared to “State.”
“Billie Jean” spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the spring of 1983, after its initial release as part of Jackson’s Thriller album, which was issued in late November 1982. “State” peaked at No. 41 on the Hot 100 in November of 1982, and was first heard on Donna Summer’s self-titled album, which was released in July of that year.
Jones produced both songs — he solely produced “State,” and produced “Billie Jean” with Jackson.