Universal Music Group claims not as many masters were lost as originally reported.
Back in June, The New York Times Magazine reported that over 500,000 song titles had been lost during a fire in 2008; however, what was most alarming was that that information was never disclosed to the artists. Tupac Shakur, Eminem (who luckily backed up his masters just prior), Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg were all affected. The Times labeled it “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.”
Now, following a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group, UMG is claiming that the plaintiff’s attorneys filed suit without full knowledge of the situation. UMG is stating that not all of the artist’s masters named in the suit were actually lost in the fire. In a recent statement, a spokesperson for UMG said, “Over a month ago, without even knowing if the 2008 fire on the NBC/Universal Studios lot affected their clients, plaintiffs’ attorneys rushed to pursue meritless legal claims. UMG’s dedicated global team is actively working directly with our artists and their representatives to provide accurate information concerning the assets we have and what might have been lost in the fire. Even though our work is not yet complete, we have already determined that original masters for many of the artists named in the lawsuit were not lost in the 2008 fire. We will not be distracted from our focus on providing our artists with full transparency even as the plaintiffs’ attorneys continue to pursue these baseless claims.”
So far, the band, Hole, has dropped further legal action. Their attorney, Ed McPherson, has said “Hole was dropped because UMG is adamant that no Hole master recordings were lost. We agreed to drop Hole from the suit pending confirmation of the non-loss.”