New Update on Universal 2008 Fire
Last month it was revealed that that upwards of 60 rock and metal master recordings were lost in the 2008 Universal fire. It appears that the company is now coming forward about the actual amount of recordings it believes missing after the blaze. On uly 18, 2019, while preparing legal counteraction seeking to dismiss a class action lawsuit brought by several artists and their estates, Universal Music Group admitted at least 22 “original masters” were probably wiped out in the fire.
An internal memo obtained by Variety this week brought some focus to the matter. After publicly downplaying the fire’s scope following The New York Times‘ June revelation that an estimated 500,000 recordings were lost — including supposed master tapes for popular rock and metal artists such as Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, The Who — UMG relayed internally that its “team has been working around the clock, fielding requests from approximately 275 artists and representatives. To date we’ve reviewed 26,663 individual assets covering 30 artists.”
The memo continued, “Of those assets, we believe we’ve identified 424 that could be missing or lost due to the fire, with audio assets accounting for 349 of them. Our data suggests that 22 of those could be ‘original masters’ which are associated with 5 artists. For each of those lost masters, we have located high-quality alternate sources in the form of safety copies or duplicate masters.”
It’s not clear which artists the 22 master belong to.