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A 2008 fire destroyed masters for many UMG artists
Devastating loss:

Quote:Eleven years ago this month, a fire ripped through a part of Universal Studios Hollywood.

At the time, the company said that the blaze had destroyed the theme park’s “King Kong” attraction and a video vault that contained only copies of old works.

But, according to an article published on Tuesday by The New York Times Magazine, the fire also tore through an archive housing treasured audio recordings, amounting to what the piece described as “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.”

Check out the list of lost artwork:

Quote:Almost all of the master recordings stored in the vault were destroyed in the fire, including those produced by some of the most famous musicians since the 1940s. 

In a confidential report in 2009, Universal Music Group estimated the loss at about 500,000 song titles.

The lost works most likely included masters in the Decca Records collection by Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland. The fire probably also claimed some of Chuck Berry’s greatest recordings, produced for Chess Records, as well as the masters of some of Aretha Franklin’s first appearances on record.

Almost of all of Buddy Holly’s masters were lost, as were most of John Coltrane’s masters in the Impulse Records collection. The fire also claimed numerous hit singles, likely including Bill Haley and His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock,” Etta James’s “At Last” and the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie.” 

The list of artists affected spans decades of popular music. It includes recordings by Ray Charles, B.B. King, the Four Tops, Joan Baez, Neil Diamond, Sonny and Cher, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Al Green, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles, Aerosmith, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Barry White, Patti LaBelle, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Police, Sting, Steve Earle, R.E.M., Janet Jackson, Guns N’ Roses, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, Snoop Dogg, Nirvana, Beck, Sheryl Crow, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, 50 Cent and the Roots.
Weird it took this long for this to come to light.
I don't think anyone's really surprised, either that the losses were so severe or that Uni was so reluctant to acknowledge it publicly.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
Quote:Universal Disputes New York Times Warehouse Fire Story, But Cites No Evidence
The company says the bombshell story contains “inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings”

I can only imagine that UMG is trying to keep this hushhush in an attempt to prevent lawsuits from the musicians/bands who lost their work.
I used to be with "it", but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me.   -Grandpa Simpson
The record companies had not been putting a lot of interest/money into preserving these master tapes.
Now with the new technology and people's interest in the older recordings increasing, they are finding there is money to be made in the old master tapes.
Copies are never as good as the original master tapes so aside from potential lawsuits from artists/bands, the amount of money lost by the record companies could be immense.
When the next new media for distributing music comes out, they lost the chance of putting those masters into the new format.

As a society, we lost part of our heritage.
In retrospect, maybe I should not have admitted to eating my own smegma on a Ritz cracker. It was a lapse in judgement. Moltisanti
Nine Inch Nails made high fidelity versions of a few of their Interscope records (Downward Spiral and With Teeth), so at least there is something higher than CD quality left. Trent is tech savvy so maybe he had his own backups.

Steely Dan may have some SACD/DVDA quality stuff released too, but I'm sure this is a major loss for them. I don't know if any work was ever done with the Gaucho bootleg stuff.

Then there's many other great bands of course, jazz and blues legends, etc. The whole thing is a massive violation of these artists.

If any of The Cure's stuff got destroyed...
(06-12-2019, 06:03 AM)hammerhead Wrote: I don't think anyone's really surprised, either that the losses were so severe or that Uni was so reluctant to acknowledge it publicly.

I am.

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