Saturday, 17 August, 2019

Tupac Shakur, Eminem, 50 Cent Master Recordings Destroyed in 2008 Fire

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Lora Ball | 15 June, 2019, 04:43

As Adam Block, former president of Legacy Recordings, explained to the Times, a master is the "truest capture of a piece of recorded music", and is used as the original source for all future recordings and copies. Bass Brothers and 54 Sound manager Joel Martin said that he was inspired to do so, ironically, by Universal's request to have recording reels sent to LA for "safekeeping".

Firefighters stand at Gate 2 of Universal Studios as smoke rises from a fire raging out of control at the backlot of Universal City, California on June 1, 2008.

It's thought that the 2008 fire at Hollywood's Universal Studios wiped out tens of thousands of recordings by artists from across music history.

The reports claim that at the time of the fire in 2008, Universal stated it was only a video vault and King Kong attraction which was damaged in the fire, whereas previously confidential papers have now revealed the shocking extent of the damage to music recordings too.

However, in the wake of the report, a number of artists have begun to address just what the loss of aster material means for them and their fans. Nearly every single master recording in the vault was destroyed, some of which were from the biggest musicians since the 1940s.

Casualties included songs by Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland.

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PEOPLE reported at the time that the King Kong exhibit was "three quarters lost" and that the NY set "has been totally lost".

In its statement, UMG said it was proud of its efforts in music preservation and listed various initiatives it had spearheaded or supported.

"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", a statement from the company reads.

Following the article's publication, REM said they were "trying to get good information to find out what happened and the effect on the band's music, if any". They also tore apart the warehouse to put out the fire more easily.

Up in smoke were much of Buddy Holly's original recordings, John Coltrane's masters from the Impulse Records collection, and some of Chuck Berry's Chess Records tapes, as well as the masters of Aretha Franklin's first recordings. "Further, the story contains numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings of the scope of the incident and affected assets".

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