Universal has finally spoken out about the fire that occurred in June of 2008 on the Universal Studios Hollywood lot, which destroyed unheard material from artists such as Nirvana and R.E.M.
The New York Times had obtained documents that revealed that Universal had lost some of their most prized material to the fire. The publication had claimed that over 118,230 of assets were destroyed, including the loss of an estimate of over 500,000 song titles and unheard material from Nirvana, R.E.M, Soundgarden, Beck, and more.
— Stereogum (@stereogum) June 12, 2019
Universal Music Group had issued a statement in response to the recent report from The New York Times. The report had hinted that Universal was trying to cover up the extent of losses that were caused by the fire. That a number of valuable master tapes of artists such as Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, John Coltrane, and Aretha Franklin were all lost in the fire. It is believed that Universal was covering up the loss as a means of damage limitation.
UMG had responded back and have stated that the investigation into the alleged loss of artist’s master tapes, is filled with “inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions, and fundamental misunderstandings of the scope of the incident and affected assets.”
UMG responded to the claims that the losses inhibited the efforts to remaster and reissue a number of classic albums and singles. UMG stated that there were constraints that prevented them from publicly addressing the fire incident which did not affect the availability of the commercially released music nor impacted artists’ compensation.
However, Universal has not shown evidence to back up these statements.