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Universal Responds To NYT Fire Investigation
Christian Eede , June 12th, 2019 15:24

Universal claims that the investigation into the alleged loss of artists' master tapes in a 2008 fire "contains numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings"

Universal has issued a statement following a recent report by the New York Times that alleged that the organisation covered up the extent of losses in a 2008 fire at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The investigation said that highly valuable master tapes by a number of Universal Music artists including Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Aretha Franklin and John Coltrane were all lost in the fire 11 years ago, and further alleged that Universal covered up the loss of the tapes as a means of damage limitation.

Universal Music Group has now hit back with its own statement. "While there are constraints preventing us from publicly addressing some of the details, [the incident] never affected the availability of the commercially released music nor impacted artists' compensation," says UMG's statement, in response to claims that the losses hampered efforts to remaster and reissue a number of classic albums and singles.

The statement further adds that the New York Times' investigation "contains numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings of the scope of the incident and affected assets".

Finally, UMG says that the New York Times "conveniently ignores 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 company has, however, not yet provided any specific examples or evidence to refute the investigation's findings.