Confirmed: Slayer, Soundgarden, Nirvana Masters and More Damaged in 2008 Universal Fire


A report that surfaced last June revealed that a fire at Universal Studios back in 2008 had initially been heavily downplayed by the company, and that half a million master recordings had been lost in the blaze. A lawsuit has been brewing ever since between several artists whose masters were allegedly burned up and Universal, who claim that in fact only 22 irreplaceable masters had been lost.

In the latest twist, Pitchfork has laid eyes on a filing made by Universal in which 19 artists whose masters were lost in the blaze are named. It isn’t clear whether Universal has again lowered their claim of masters lost from 22 to 19 or whether some of the artists listed had multiple titles incinerated — no titles are listed at all — but here’s that list:

  • Sonic Youth
  • Nirvana
  • Elton John
  • Beck
  • Soundgarden
  • Sheryl Crow
  • R.E.M.
  • Bryan Adams
  • …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
  • David Baerwald
  • Jimmy Eat World
  • Les Paul
  • Peter Frampton
  • Michael McDonald
  • Slayer
  • Suzanne Vega
  • Surfaris
  • White Zombie
  • Y&T

The claim filed last year was placed by attorneys representing Hole, Soundgarden, Steve Earle and the estates of Tom Petty and Tupac Shakur. Why some of those artists aren’t on the above list and why some of the artists on the above list aren’t participating in that lawsuit isn’t clear, although it is certainly possible further lawsuits could be coming.

The Pitchfork article goes on to recount Universal’s claims of the extent of the damage done to each artist’s masters, with the record company in some cases claiming suitable replacements are available. You can read the full report here.

[via Metal Injection]

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