The New York Times has reported for the first time that some 500,000 recordings by many of music’s biggest artists were destroyed in a fire that swept through the Hollywood lot of Universal Studios on June 1, 2008.
Among the recordings lost — many of which may have been on original master tapes — were songs from NIRVANA , SOUNDGARDEN , NINE INCH NAILS , GUNS N’ ROSES , BECK , NO DOUBT , AEROSMITH , R.E.M. and more.
At the time of the fire, the coverage focused on the damage to Universal ‘s film, TV and theme park properties, with representatives stating that most of the music kept in the vault on the lot had been moved to “our other facilities” or “digitized.” The New York Times revealed, however, that more than 118,000 “assets” were destroyed, containing half a million individual recordings. Many were from famed labels such as Decca , Chess , Impulse , MCA , Geffen , ABC , A&M and Interscope .
Randy Aronson , the senior director of vault operations at the time, told The New York Times that the company priced the actual combined total of lost tape and “loss of artistry” at $150 million. The New York Times itself referred to the fire as “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business,” citing internal reports, legal documents and the recollection of Aronson and others who were there.
For more info of how the fire affected the music industry, read entire article on New York Times.