Universal Music Group (UMG) have disputed a recent report from New York Times report which states that various master recordings from many of its artists were burned in a 2008 Universal Studios Fire. According to sources such as The Brooklyn Vegan, and Pitchfork, UMG representatives have stated that the report holds “inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings,” regarding the event, although they have not shows evidence contradicting the report.
On June 1, 2008 a fire that broke out on the Universal Studios backlot eventually made its way toward Building 6197, the video vault that housed tapes, reels and an impressive library of master sound recordings. After the fire was burned down, nearly every single master recording in the vault was destroyed. A report made by Universal a year later in 2009 reported that an estimated 500,000 songs were lost in the fire.
Regarding the New York Times Report, UMG Reps stated:
“While there are constraints preventing us from publicly addressing some of the details of the fire that occurred at NBCUniversal Studios facility more than a decade ago, the incident – while deeply unfortunate – never affected the availability of the commercially released music nor impacted artists’ compensation.”
They further add:
“[The New York Times article] conveniently ignores the tens of thousands of back catalog recordings that we have already issued in recent years – including master-quality, high-resolution, audiophile versions of many recordings that the story claims were ‘destroyed.” They go on to say; “UMG invests more in music preservation and development of hi-resolution audio products than anyone else in music.”
Recordings by artists such as John Coltrane Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Elton John, Hole,. R.E.M, Janet Jackson, Steely Dan, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, The Roots, and Snoop Dog were reportedly lost in the fire. Sources close to Steely Dan, Hole, R.E.M. have commented on the fire, while Questlove, the Roots’ drummer and co-frontman suugested that the incident may have interfered with re-issues of Do You Want More?!!!??! and Illadelph Halflife.
“We have been aware of ‘missing’ original Steely Dan tapes for a long time now,” Irving Azoff, Steely Dan’s manager, stated. “We’ve never been given a plausible explanation. Maybe they burned up in the big fire. In any case, it’s certainly a lost treasure.”
For everyone asking why Do You Want More & Illdelph Halflife wont get reissue treatment https://t.co/Vs0ykRcyAK
— Questlove De La Rose (@questlove) June 11, 2019