Tupac, Aretha Franklin And More Lost Masters In Universal Music Vault Fire

Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Tupac and hundreds of more artists and entertainers are included in a list of losses suffered in the 2008 Universal Music Group fire.

A new piece published by The New York Times Magazine about the blaze that occurred 11 years ago reveals that three separate UMG lists contained the names of the entertainment figures who suffered losses, including Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Louis Armstrong and more.

The fire began in the backlot of Universal Studios in California, and destroyed a warehouse containing master recordings from UMG. The company allegedly tried to conceal the extent of the losses, and the piece says that an estimated 500,000 recordings were destroyed.

Per Billboard, “UMG responded with a statement claiming the Times article contained ‘numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings of the scope of the incident and affected assets.’”

“While there are constraints preventing us from publicly addressing some of the details of the fire that occurred at NBCUniversal Studios facility more than a decade ago, the incident – while deeply unfortunate – never affected the availability of the commercially released music nor impacted artists’ compensation,” the statement continues.

UMG sued NBCUniversal for negligence after the fire. The case was settled out of court in 2013.

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