Universal Music boss promises 'transparency' over master records fire

music news 21/06/2019

A New York Times Report earlier this month revealed hundreds of thousands of master recordings were lost in a fire at Universal Studios back in 2008, from artists including Elton John, The Eagles, and Guns 'n' Roses.

The chief executive of Universal Music Group has now promised "transparency" regarding the incident. In the aftermath of the report, bands including Nirvana and R.E.M. reported they'd never been fully informed about how much of their work was lost. 

Universal had issued a statement saying the report contained “numerous inaccuracies, but without providing specific details. It’s suggested that more than 500,000 original recordings were burned. While many had been digitized or re-released, and therefore preserved in other formats, it wasn’t known if unheard outtakes, unreleased tracks or alternative versions had been lost with the original studio tapes.

In an email to staff, Universal boss  Sir Lucian Grainge said that "the loss of even a single piece of archived material is heartbreaking. We owe our artists transparency. We owe them answers."

He added he was "somewhat relieved by early reports from our team that many of the assertions and subsequent speculation are not accurate. ... Even though all of the released recordings lost in the fire will live on forever, losing so much archival material is nonetheless painful."

"These stories have prompted speculation, and having our artists and songwriters not knowing whether the speculation is accurate is completely unacceptable. I will ensure that the senior management of this company, starting with me, owns this," he continued.