Master recordings by artists including Elton John, Nirvana and Sheryl Crow are among those confirmed as “lost or damaged” by Universal Music Group (UMG) following a 2008 fire.
While the fire was believed to have affected the recordings, the extent of the damage was unknown. However, as part of a class action lawsuit against the company, UMG publicly confirmed the names of the 19 artists affected.
The list included Soundgarden, Beck, R.E.M., …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Bryan Adams, David Baerwald, Jimmy Eat World, Les Paul, Peter Frampton, Michael McDonald, Slayer, Sonic Youth, Suzanne Vega, The Surfaris, White Zombie, and Y&T.
The names were confirmed by UMG during a discovery query in the lawsuit, with lawyers for the artists suing the musical organisation asking for a detailed breakdown of exactly what was affected by the fire.
The blaze ripped through one of the UMG’s warehouses, used for the storage of music and film reels dating back to the 1940s, in 2008, with news of the huge loss made public following an investigative report published in the New York Times last June.
While UMG claim to have backups and copies of some of the recordings, they didn’t go into detail about what they did or didn’t have.
And Howard King, a lawyer for the artists behind the class action suit, was unimpressed by UMG’s reluctance to come clean with the exact figure of how many artists were affected.
“Universal claimed 17,000 artists were affected by the fire when they were suing for damages. Now that they face a lawsuit by their artists, they claim a mere 19 artists were affected. This discrepancy is inexplicable,” he said.
Representatives for UMG and the 19 artists mentioned in the filing have yet to respond to the development.