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Numerous Master Tapes Destroyed In 2008 Universal Fire
Christian Eede , June 11th, 2019 15:49

New report reveals that master tapes of music by Nine Inch Nails, John Coltrane and lots more were lost in a fire in 2008

A fire at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2008 destroyed a number of highly valuable and important master tapes of various acts' classic albums and singles, according to a new investigation carried out by the New York Times.

Amongst the Universal artist whose masters were lost in the blaze are Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, John Coltrane, Eminem, R.E.M., Beck, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Tupac.

In an effort of damage limitation, Universal said at the time that the fire had only destroyed its King Kong attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood's theme park, as well as a collection of videos that only featured copies of older works. The new investigation has revealed though that it also destroyed a vast archive of master recordings by some of Universal's core acts.

Naturally, the loss of the masters may make it difficult to produce faithful remasters or reissues of the material in the future. A confidential report carried out in 2009 said that Universal estimated the loss at around 500,000 song titles in total.

Masters stored in the archive dated back to artists from the 1940s, and it's speculated that Universal kept the extent of the fire secret in order to quell uproar from the artists and estates whose music was lost.