It seems that the report about the master tapes lost in the Universal Studios warehouse fire in 2008 which the New York Times published recently (and which we covered here) was unfortunately incomplete. NYT just published an additional report, which reveals over 700 additional artists who lost their master recordings in that fire. The daily got the lists from an internal report Universal Music Group put together for its “Project Phoenix”, which was its attempt to recover the lost masters in 2010.
The initial list included artists like Nirvana, R.E.M., John Coltrane, Joni Mitchell, Eminem, Aretha Franklin, Nine Inch Nails, Ray Charles, Tupac, Janet Jackson, Beck, Snoop Dogg, Alice Coltrane, Sonic Youth, and more. The new list adds the names like Weezer, Blink-182, Common, The Who, Bell Biv Devoe, Dolly Parton, Boston, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Primus, Temple of the Dog, the Wallflowers, Limp Bizkit, Cher, The Damned, Phil Ochs, Hugh Masekela, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The complete list is available here.
One of the artists who lost all their masters in that fire was Sheryl Crow, who told the BBC that she “can’t understand, first and foremost, how you could store anything in a vault that didn’t have sprinklers. And secondly, I can’t understand how you could make safeties [back-up copies] and have them in the same vault. I mean, what’s the point?”
The story seems yet to be unfolding and as Pitchfork adds, UMG is being sued for the losses by Hole, Soundgarden, and Steve Earle, as well as the estates of Tupac Shakur and Tom Petty. The whole thing makes you wonder where the master tape of the Jim Hendrix classic “Fire” is stored…