Universal Music Group Confirms Beck, Soundgarden, REM Masters Lost in 2008 Fire

UMG 2008 Fire Nirvana Elton John Masters

UMG 2008 Fire Nirvana Elton John Masters

Following last year's discovery of the 2008 Universal Studios Hollywood fire that destroyed thousands of irreplaceable master recordings, a number of artists filed a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group claiming negligence. And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Sonic Youth, White Zombie, Y&T, David Baerwald, Jimmy Eat World, Surfaris and Suzanne Vega. It marks the first public confirmation of specific artists who lost recordings in the fire following a New York Times Magazine report previous year that detailed the potential extent of the damages.

The revelation appeared in a new filing in the ongoing class action lawsuit against UMG on behalf of artists seeking damages related to the fire.

The blaze ripped by means of one of many UMG's warehouses, used for the storage of music and movie reels courting again to the 1940s, in 2008, with information of the massive loss made public following an investigative report printed within the New York Occasions final June (2019).

In 2010, UMG told its parent company at the time, NBCUniversal, and its insurer that recordings from almost 17,000 artists could have been lost. Lawyers for the artists cited a document that UMG filed back when it was pursuing litigation and insurance claims after the fire that included "17,000 unique artist names on the list of purportedly lost original music recordings".

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Thousands of other artists have been reportedly affected by the fire. "This discrepancy is inexplicable", states Howard King, one of the lawyers representing artists in the class action suit. Recognizing the lack of merit of their original claims, plaintiffs' attorneys are now willfully and irresponsibly conflating lost assets (everything from safeties and videos to artwork) with original album masters, in a desperate attempt to inject substance into their meritless legal case.

Whereas UMG declare to have backups and copies of among the recordings, they did not go into element about what they did or did not have.

The representatives of UMG and the 19 artists mentioned in the presentation have not yet responded to the development.

Specific recordings are not mentioned in filing, but it does quote an alleged UMG response confirming that "certain original master recordings" belonging to Beck, Adams, John, Y&T and Nirvana were "affected" by the blaze. The most notable of the destroyed masters belong to albums by Nirvana, Soundgarden, Slayer, R.E.M. and Elton John. As a lifelong drummer, he chose to take a hiatus from playing music to report it.

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