The New York Times has published a list of over 700 more artists believed to have lost their masters in the 2008 warehouse fire at Universal Studios in Hollywood. This follows the existing tally of more than 100 artists named in the publication’s investigation that ran earlier this month.
In the earlier article, titled “The Day the Music Burned”, artists such as Nirvana, R.E.M., Hole, Beck, Soundgarden, Janet Jackson and Nine Inch Nails were named among those whose master tapes were destroyed in the June 1 2008 blaze.
Yesterday (June 25), the NYT unveiled a staggering list of more than 700 artists that Universal Music Group officials believe were affected by the fire. These include musical titans such as Blink 182, The Who, Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, Eric Clapton, Joan Baez, Neil Young, Fats Domino, The Eagles, Chet Baker and Peter Frampton. Contemporary artists include Beck, Blink-182, Weezer, Gwen Stefani, Limp Bizkit, Meat Loaf and Jimmy Eat World.
And yet, the 700-strong list isn’t exhaustive, journalist Jody Rosen writes: “It is a partial selection, culled from three separate UMG lists prepared for Project Phoenix in late 2009 and early 2010, more than a year and a half after the fire struck.” Project Phoenix was a recovery programme initiated by Universal Music Group to recover duplicates of recordings lost in the fire.
Rosen also notes that it hasn’t been confirmed which specific masters went up in the blaze, and “how many of the destroyed masters were primary-source originals”.
Two weeks ago, a representative for Hole revealed that the band were not aware their masters had been destroyed until the story’s publication. In this latest story, Bryan Adams told the NYT the same. While interacting with UMG staff in 2013 during an attempt to assemble a reissue of his 1984 LP, ‘Reckless’, “there was no mention that there had been a fire in the archive”, Adams said.
Several artists, including Soundgarden and Hole, as well as 2Pac’s estate, have launched a class-action lawsuit against UMG over their losses in the fire. The suit seeks up to $100 million in damages.