Hole, Soundgarden, Tom Petty’s estate & more suing Universal over 2008 fire
Soundgarden, Hole, Steve Earle, and the estates of Tom Petty and Tupac Shakur are suing Universal Music Group over materials lost in the 2008 UMG warehouse fire that, according to the suit, were never disclosed to them. The New York Times' June 11 story about the fire, which reportedly destroyed thousands of master recordings (from Judy Garland to Nirvana and more), was in many cases the first artists had heard about it. The Times now reports that the lawsuit accuses Universal of breach of contract by not properly protecting the master tapes, and that they had a duty to share any income received from insurance settlements from the fire. The lawsuit seeks damages of $100 million, saying “UMG concealed its massive recovery from plaintiffs apparently hoping it could keep it all to itself by burying the truth in sealed court filings and a confidential settlement agreement.” These are the first artists to bring action against Universal.
Universal responded to the Times' original story, saying that the article “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,’” though it didn't confirm or deny that those actual masters had been destroyed.