Highsnobiety

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Universal Music Group (UMG) by attorneys representing Tupac's estate, Hole, Soundgarden, Steve Earle, and Tom Petty's estate.

In 2008, a fire broke out at a storage facility rented by UMG from NBC. An estimated 500,000 music recordings were destroyed, many of which were historically significant masters. Artists whose work was destroyed include American greats such as Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Buddy Holly, and Aretha Franklin, just to name a few of the 700+ artists now listed by the New York Times.

Modern artists were also affected, with recordings from the likes of Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Snoop Dogg, Nirvana, Hole, Tupac, Eminem, and 50 Cent gone. Until the New York Times reported on the story just last week, the extent of the loss was unknown.

In the lawsuit obtained by Variety, the plaintiffs are seeking "50% of any settlement proceeds and insurance payments received by UMG for the loss of the Master Recordings, and 50% of any remaining loss of value not compensated by such settlement proceeds and insurance payments." UMG sued NBC in 2009, valuing its losses at $150 million, and the new class-action suit claims it was successful.

The lawsuit against UMG states, "UMG did not speak up immediately or even ever inform its recording artists that the Master Recordings embodying their musical works were destroyed. In fact, UMG concealed the loss... To this day, UMG has failed to inform Plaintiffs that their Master Recordings were destroyed in the fire.”

Now, some artists who were affected have spoken to the press. Courtney Love said, “No one knows for sure yet, specifically what is gone from their estate, their catalog. But for once in a horrible way people believe me about the state of the music business which I would not wish on my worst enemy. Our culture has been devastated, meanwhile UMG is online with cookie recipes and pop, as if nothing happened. It’s so horrible.”

Bryan Adams also had no idea about the loss of his work until he read the original New York Times article last week, even though he spent a lot of time in 2013 trying to track down masters of his 1984 album Reckless. He told the publication, "I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that I couldn’t find anything at Universal that had been published to do with my association with A&M records in the 1980s."

Read more about the lawsuit over at Variety. Read the full list of affected artists in this New York Times article.

We Recommend
  • Megan Thee Stallion's Nike Air Max 97 sneaker collab in orange
    Megan Thee Stallion's Nike Sneaker Brings the Fire & Ice (Just Like Her)
    • Sneakers
  • RinseFM founder DJ Geeneus pioneered a music entity that changed london's underground scene
    Stroke of Geeneus: How London’s Most Disruptive Music Entity Fueled Rave Culture
    • Culture
  • valentines-day
    Sexyy Red & Tay Keith: Good Music and Good Friends
    • Culture
  • Maison Kitsune pre-grammys dinner hosting musicians at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles
    Dinner at the Chateau: Maison Kitsuné & Highsnobiety Host Music’s Last Supper
    • Culture
    • sponsored
  • champion
    Champion And Deaf Musician Signkid Are Redefining The Way We Think About Music Accessibility
    • Street Style
    • sponsored
  • Image on Highsnobiety
What To Read Next
  • Heaven By Marc Jacobs x ASICS sneaker
    These Dad Shoe Mary Janes Are Maybe the Most Stylish ASICS Ever
    • Sneakers
  • lionel messi adidas samba
    adidas' Samba Sneaker Just Got Messi
    • Sneakers
  • Megan Thee Stallion's Nike Air Max 97 sneaker collab in orange
    Megan Thee Stallion's Nike Sneaker Brings the Fire & Ice (Just Like Her)
    • Sneakers
  • HOKA Elite Terrain System Clifton L Suede
    HOKA’s New Sneaker Isn’t Like Other HOKAs
    • Sneakers
  • Olivia Rodrigo wears a white vintage Versace dress at the 2024 Grammy awards
    Olivia Rodrigo's Sublime Outfits Are Always Older Than Her
    • Style
  • Swatch x OMEGA MoonSwatch Snoopy 2024.
    Swatch & OMEGA's Snoopy-Fied MoonSwatch Is Coming
    • Watches
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titel Media GmbH (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titel Media GmbH strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titel Media GmbH tests, remediates and maintains the Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.