In June 2008, a fire with three alarms broke out in the back of Universal Studios Hollywood, destroying street groups, video vaulting, and luring King Kong. It took more than 500 firefighters more than 12 hours to put out the flames. on time, Universal played down the damage“Nothing has been lost that cannot be compensated,” said Ron Meyer, president of Universal. “We have duplicates of everything lost.”
But according to a recent New York Times report, The damage was much greater. And now the artists are involved in litigation.
The Times described it as “the greatest disaster in the history of the music industry”. According to the report, the fire destroyed Building 6197, which is a warehouse that stores an enormous archive of major analog sound tapes belonging to Universal Music Group. Up to half a million songs recorded on 118,000 to 175,000 albums and 45 rpm individual master tapes and gramophone master discs, varnish and acetate were destroyed, in addition to all documents in the tape boxes. This includes original recordings, some of which have never been released, from everyone from Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters, and John Coltrane to Nirvana, Steely Dan, REM, and Roots.
Some artists – Steve Earle, Hall, Soundgarden, the Tupac Shakur properties and Tom Petty – filed a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group for failing to secure the group prior to the fire and failing to inform them about the impact of the fire on their recordings. “UMG concealed the loss with false public statements,” According to the suitLike this, we lost only a small number of tapes and other material by mysterious artists from the 1940’s and 1950’s. “The artists are asking for compensation of at least 100 million dollars.
Fire and Heartbreakers
Although there are only five plaintiffs in the lawsuit so far, it has been filed on behalf of any musicians and other actors affiliated with UMG who may be able to join the lawsuit later. The lawsuit also alleges that UMG “has successfully pursued litigation and insurance claims that were reportedly valued at $ 150 million.” And if this is true, then the musicians feel they deserve a part of the settlement.
“The loss of even one piece of archived material is heartbreaking,” UMG CEO Lucian Grainge wrote in a memo to employees following the Times report. UMG might lose some money as well.