Classic Oldies News

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 01: Approximately 300 firefighters battle a huge fire on the backlot of Universal Studios on June 1, 2008 in Universal City, California. The fire is consuming the filming site of many blockbuster movies including Back to the Future and King Kong. The New York Streets lot and a film vault have reportedly burned.

After The New York Times Magazine revealed that Universal Music Group lost nearly 500,000 song master recordings, many from iconic artists of the 20th and 21st century, in a 2008 fire, the company has now responded in a statement to Variety.

UMG said, “Music preservation is of the highest priority for us and we are proud of our track record. 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.”

The statement continues and mentions, “…the tens of thousands of back catalog recordings that we have already issued in recent years – including master-quality, high-resolution, audiophile versions of many recordings that the story claims were ‘destroyed,'” The statement also says, “UMG invests more in music preservation and development of hi-resolution audio products than anyone else in music.”

As Variety points out, and anyone could deduce from reading the above, UMG still doesn’t deny that those historic masters were destroyed in the 2008 fire.

How this will affect the storage and archiving of recordings at UMG and elsewhere moving forward is unknown, but artists and labels everywhere are likely taking note and planning accordingly.


Erica Banas is rock/classic rock news blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights