The estates of Tupac Shakur, Tom Petty, and bands Soundgarden and Hole, and songwriter Steve Earle filed a $100 million lawsuit over the infamous 2008 backlot fire at Universal Studios Hollywood that destroyed thousands of master recordings. Invaluable music history was lost, but for many years, the extent of the fire’s damage was concealed by false public statements.
The truth of this impact on the music history was spotlighted in a May, New York Times Magazine story that reported the fire as “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.” The numbers vary from 125,000 to 175,000 master recordings burned and yet 10 years later, UMG has not notified the artists. The lawsuit accuses UMG of being negligent by failing to secure the safety of the records, about lying about actual lost, and asserting that artists whose works were lost are entitled to 50% of the insurance money UMG received.
“UMG concealed the loss with false public statements such as that ‘We only lost a small number of tapes and other material by obscure artists from the 1940s and 50s.’ To this day, UMG has failed to inform Plaintiffs that their Master Recordings were destroyed in the fire,” the suit says.
– Excerpt from an article for The Wrap by Ross A. Lincoln. Find the full article here.
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