I kind of wonder if it was something like this: As we know now, Michael Jackson was going through the shit pretty bad back during the exact time that the Sonic 3 collaboration work was going on. He had some of his people working on audio cues for S3 to give to Sega, including Cirocco Jones and Brad Buxer, but as Buxer said in his interview with the MJCast, Jackson was really not particularly interested in composing for the game: "I had a cassette of the 41 cues, and I thought he wanted to hear how the work was going with Sega, and so he goes, 'no, I don't wanna hear any of that'..." He's depressed, he's wracked with sadness, he's got court cases, allegations, and potential damages towering over his head; he doesn't give a flying fuck about America's (then-)Second Favorite Cartoon Rodent. What I think came of this, is that Sega approached Jackson and was like, "hey, it's been great collaborating, but this whole scandal you've got going on is really going to be bad for us, so we'd like to cut things off here." And Jackson gladly accepts the out, probably saying something along the lines of "sure, pleasure working with you, I'll have my lawyers draft something up so you can keep using the work we did together but only for use in Sonic 3." Crucially, this is between Sega execs, Jackson, and his lawyers only at the time; as far as Cirocco, Buxer, etc know, the project is over, they're not using our music, it didn't work out, let's move on. And so they part ways. Some of the cues by Jackson's team go into the game after late October, but before the game goes gold and is sent to manufacturing. Most of the rest of the music for the game, and all of the music for S&K, is composed in-house; perhaps the rest of the Jackson team cues weren't up to scratch, perhaps they went back and forth in conference rooms throughout Sega about whether to use any of it or none of it and compromised on putting some of it in there, so that in case the allegations involving Jackson blew over and everything was fine, they could turn around and work with Jackson again, getting to say "hey guys, Michael Jackson worked on ALL NEW MUSIC for OUR video game!" In other words, getting to have their cake and eat it too. We can, of course, never know. Jackson goes on to make "Stranger in Moscow" with, unbeknownst to him at first, the Buxer-composed S3 Credits theme. (Some people speculate that the Competition Menu music is the basis for You Rock My World, as well.) Everything seems to go on as normal. And then Sonic 3 actually releases. I doubt it was immediate, but Jackson's composers find out, one way or another, that some of their work is still in the final game. Maybe they hear it as Jackson is playing Sonic 3 on his Genesis in the tour bus or at a hotel or sometbing; it's well known that he liked Sega games. Some of the composers are, maybe, a little bemused, and then shrug their shoulders and go "ah well", like Buxer. But others, like Cirocco, are pretty pissed! After all, their work is in a game they assumed wouldn't include it, and they sure as hell didn't agree to Jackson's blanket handover of all their work, effectively under the table and without any involvement from them or their own laywers. They're not getting any royalties off of this, and they should be! They start to raise a big stink over it, and Sega's like "whuh-oh". Thus Cirocco saying that Sega "owes a lot of people money" for Sonic 3: They never paid any of Jackson's composers for the work they put in, used or not. And like, 41 sound cues is a fair bit of work! Even if Sega had used maybe 25 of those cues, and something like 20 of them were actual full length pieces of music, the other 5 being incidental cues, there's still quite a fair bit of royalties to be made off of something like that. If indeed there's legal proceedings going on between Sega and Cirocco (and potentially the Jackson estate), it's entirely understandable why Sega wouldn't want to touch any of the potentially Jackson-related compositions, or anything containing those compositions that aren't the original game code running on original hardware or an emulation thereof, with a 39 and a half foot pole. This is all speculation (as is a lot of the stuff in this thread of course), but I feel like it makes sense, even if the particulars aren't exact.