According to a New York Times report, masters by Universal artists throughout the decades were lost, which limits the possibilities for high-quality reproductions in the future.
At the time of the fire, most of the coverage focused on the burned King Kong theme park attraction and video content, dismissing the lost music.
The initial report suggests the damages weren’t disclosed for fear that artists and estates whose masters were destroyed would sue. Many of the artists affected are now coming forward to do exactly that.
The suit is reportedly seeking class-action status and marks the first legal case brought against UMG following the report. The plaintiffs are alleging Universal breached their contractual obligations to protect artist’s masters. The suit further asserts UMG should’ve shared settlement funds including an insurance payout and legal settlement from NBCUniversal.
The Times are claiming the artists are seeking over $100 million in damages.
UMG initially disputed the claims and put out a statement via Variety about the fire.
The new report also includes a quote from Universal chairman and chief executive Lucian Grange, who reportedly said that “we owe our artists transparency” about the 2008 fire.
Alt-rock band Hole revealed to Pitchfork that they were never told by Universal that their tapes were destroyed. A rep told the outlet at the time they were “not aware until this morning.”
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