Over a decade in the past, on June 1st, 2008, a large hearth scorched Common Studios’ Hollywood lot, together with its theme park, Common Music Group’s vault, and extra. As a brand new investigation by Jody Rosen of the New York Instances has uncovered, 500,000 grasp recordings of iconic albums by a few of music’s greatest artists have been destroyed within the hearth.
On the time, protection of the hearth targeted on what was misplaced within the movie and tv realm, notably on the Common Studio theme park. A consultant for UMG advised Deadline that there “was little misplaced from UMG’s vault.” The consultant stated the vast majority of the music saved in UMG’s vault had been moved earlier within the 12 months “to our different services” and had “already been digitized, so the music will nonetheless be round for a few years to come back.”
However Randy Aronson, the Senior Director of Vault Operations on the time, had the true numbers, talked about above. “It was like these end-of-the-world-type motion pictures,” he advised the Instances. “I felt like my planet had been destroyed.”
The Vault Operations division housed recordings from iconic file corporations that Common absorbed over the course of its existence, together with Decca, Chess, Impulse, MCA, Geffen, ABC, A&M, Interscope, and smaller subsidiary labels. Among the many materials destroyed within the hearth have been “virtually all” of Buddy Holly’s masters, most of John Coltrane’s Impulse Information releases, and an unique grasp of Etta James’ “At Final”.
Additionally misplaced have been traditional data by Al Inexperienced, Ray Charles, Elton John, B.B. King, The 4 Tops, Nirvana, Snoop Dogg, Chuck Berry, Tom Petty, Joan Baez, 9 Inch Nails, Neil Diamond, Cat Stevens, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Eric Clapton, R.E.M., The Eagles, Aerosmith, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Barry White, Patti LaBelle, The Police, Sting, Steve Earle, Janet Jackson, Weapons N’ Roses, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Snoop Dogg, Beck, Sheryl Crow, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, 50 Cent, and The Roots. It hurts simply studying that listing.
Rosen characterizes the hearth as “the most important catastrophe within the historical past of the music enterprise,” as most of the objects misplaced are irreplaceable. She writes: “Aronson recollects listening to that the corporate priced the mixed complete of misplaced tape and ‘lack of artistry’ at $150 million. However in historic phrases, the dimension of the disaster is staggering. It’s unimaginable to itemize, exactly, what music was on every tape or exhausting drive within the vault, which had no complete stock. It can’t be stated precisely what number of recordings have been unique masters or what sort of grasp every recording was. However by means of authorized paperwork, inside UMG studies, and the accounts of Aronson and others accustomed to the vault’s assortment go away little doubt that the losses have been profound, taking in a sweeping cross-section of common music historical past, from postwar hitmakers to present-day stars.”
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