- 12 Jun 19
Artists such as Hole and R.E.M. have responded to a New York Times investigative report, which looked at the 2008 fire.
Yesterday, The New York Times published their investigation into the 2008 fire at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The newspaper found that “some of UMG’s most prized material” were destroyed, including thousands of musical recordings, many of them master tapes and unheard session material.
They reported that 118,230 assets were "destroyed”, along with the loss of “an estimated 500K song titles”. The report documented how tracks from the likes of Nirvana, R.E.M, Soundgarden, Beck, Janet Jackson, Eminem, the Mamas and the Papas, Joni Mitchell, Tom Petty, Nine Inch Nails and dozens of other prominent artists were lost or destroyed in the blaze.
Since the news broke, affected artists have responded to the revelations that their recordings were destroyed.
R.E.M posted on Twitter yesterday evening: "REMHQ is receiving inquiries from many people concerned about the New York Times article on the Universal Music fire 11 years ago. We are trying to get good information to find out what happened and the effect on the band’s music, if any. We will detail further as and when."
REMHQ is receiving inquiries from many people concerned about the New York Times article on the Universal Music fire 11 years ago. We are trying to get good information to find out what happened and the effect on the band’s music, if any. We will detail further as and when.
— R.E.M. HQ (@remhq) June 11, 2019
Nirvana's Krist Novoselić said that he believed that the band's Nevermind masters were "gone forever".
I think they are gone forever.
— Krist Novoselić (@KristNovoselic) June 12, 2019
Despite the news, UMG yesterday issued a statement to Variety claiming that the NYT piece contains “numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings of the scope of the incident and affected assets.”
It continued: “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."