This is such an upsetting story. To summarise: a storage facility for Universal burnt down in 2008. It turns out that something like 500,000 original masters of recordings by everyone from Louis Armstrong to 50 Cent were lost. …
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Universal covered it up so well, the story only emerged a few days ago. Not even people in the know seem to have realised how great the losses were until now.
The bass player of Nirvana reckons their masters have gone, R.E.M. are looking into it, lawsuits loom…
It’s a story that seems to have had little coverage in the UK but boy has it hit me.
The music is all in the cloud, but the source of that music is big clunky physical stuff that needs looking after. It’s a big problem, and covering it up doesn’t help.
And of course the UK hasn’t been immune to losses of master tapes by neglect or cavalier treatment.
Time for a National Archive of recorded music?