An update in the lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG) confirms that records from 19 artists were “affected” in the 2008 Universal Studios Hollywood fire. The filing, obtained by Pitchfork, shows that amongst these artists are Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Elton John, R.E.M., Jimmy Eat World and Beck.
The New York Times published an investigation back in June that revealed over 100,000 “assets” and over 500,000 records destroyed in the fire. Following the investigation, a group of artists and musicians’ estates pursued a lawsuit against UMG. The latest development also shows that some artists, like Sonic Youth and Les Paul, lost records that didn’t have replacement copies.
Universal Music Group confirmed for the first time that 19 artists, including Elton John, Nirvana and Beck, lost recordings such as original master tapes in a 2008 vault fire https://t.co/0k7WIiTK0M
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) February 14, 2020
“The plaintiffs’ lawyers have already been informed that none of the masters for four of their five clients were affected by the fire—and the one other client was alerted years earlier and UMG and the artist, working together, were still able to locate a high-quality source for a reissue project,” a representative from UMG explained. “Recognizing the lack of merit of their original claims, plaintiffs’ attorneys are now willfully and irresponsibly conflating lost assets (everything from safeties and videos to artwork) with original album masters, in a desperate attempt to inject substance into their meritless legal case.”
Other artists affected were …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Bryan Adams, David Baerwald, Michael McDonald, Peter Frampton, Sheryl Crow, Slayer, Soundgarden, Suzanne Vega, Surfaris, White Zombie and Yesterday & Today.