SG101 on the Web

Follow SurfGuitar101 on Twitter

Photo of the Day
Shoutbox

Emilien03: https://www....
229 days ago

Tqi: Oy, Fender, Orange. One of you, make a 20W starved-plate valve bass amp. Like an Origin 20 with a big OT.
180 days ago

Remora: New member here saying hello
145 days ago

Clint: Ever try to explain “surf music” to friends? A Day at the Beach Podcast #150 can do this for you. It explains how it got started and ends with today’s modern bands and much more. Please share with those unaware… https://www....
137 days ago

synchro: Hello Remora.
126 days ago

dragonfly: Dick Dale was my best friend and my rock. I loved him unconditionally and he will be greatly missed. R.I.P. dear one you deserve it.
87 days ago

TheAmpFibian: People are always shocked to find out how bad of an electrician I am.
77 days ago

dragonfly: Pic of the day HBSM Jam 2012 was during my tenure. OMG do I miss those days but nowadays I couldn't handle it. No
60 days ago

dragonfly: Pic of the day OMG how I loved The Torquays and miss them very much. Yes
44 days ago

simoncoil: FWIW my guess for the ending of GoT was a surprising "Invasion fo the Dragonmen" (Hey-ho, hey-ho ...)
26 days ago

Please login or register to shout.

Current Polls

No polls at this time. Check out our past polls.

Current Contests

No contests at this time. Check out our past contests.

Donations

Help us meet our monthly goal:

23%

23%

Donate Now

SG101 Banner

SurfGuitar101 Forums » The Shallow End »

Permalink The Day the Music Burned

New Topic
Page 1 of 1

It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business — and almost nobody knew. This is the story of the 2008 Universal fire:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/magazine/universal-fire-master-recordings.html

Holy crap!!! This is unbelievable. Thank you for sharing!

Bob

Interesting read. Does anybody have a way to verify the accuracy of this?

I am shocked that I never heard of this incident before, so, thank you Summerfun, for sharing this article.

A google search on "UMG fire" produced several articles in response to the New York Times article, from Variety, Rolling Stone, Smithsonian Magazine, Billboard, etc. So, yeah, this happened. The Times may have milked it for the greatest dramatic effect, but the bare facts are tragic enough.

It looks like UMG does not dispute that the damage was severe, but UMG downplays the loss of up to 500,000 master tapes and the NY Times assertion that priceless recordings have been "lost forever."

My takeaway is, yes, UMG says the actual historic analog tape master records were lost, and that is a great tragedy for our musical heritage, but, luckily, tens of thousands of master-quality audiophile versions of recordings have been released. UMG is doubtlessly trying to minimize the reported damage and present itself as highly involved with restoration and preservation projects.

So on the positive side, many of these classic music records are still available in some format and not, technically, "lost forever". BUT, to quote Variety,

"Despite its at-times dramatic tone, the article does contextualize the assets that were lost, which are primarily historic in value. “John Coltrane and Patsy Cline music has not vanished from the earth; right now you can use a streaming service to listen to Coltrane and Cline records whose masters burned on the backlot,” it reads. “But those masters still represent an irretrievable loss. When the tapes disappeared, so did the possibility of sonic revelations that could come from access to the original recordings. Information that was logged on or in the tape boxes is gone. And so are any extra recordings those masters may have contained — music that may not have been heard by anyone since it was put on tape.".

The list of destroyed masters is mindbogglingly staggering. It broke my heart when I read that

Also apparently destroyed were the masters for dozens of canonical hit singles, including Bill Haley and His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock,” Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats’ “Rocket 88,” Bo Diddley’s “Bo Diddley/I’m A Man,” Etta James’s “At Last,” the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” and the Impressions’ “People Get Ready.”

And there you have it, the sonogram of the birth of rock and roll is gone, and has been gone for over ten years. Yesterday, I was blissfully ignorant, and nothing has really changed today, but damnit...

-Tim
MyYouTubeChannel
SSS Agent #777

Page 1 of 1
Top