Over a decade ago, there was a devastating fire at Universal Studios in Hollywood. Flames started to burn down parts of Building 6197, which was known as the video vault, during the early hours of June 1, 2018. If you’re familiar with the situation, you know that plenty of film reels and videos were destroyed because of the flames. However, a new article by the New York Times Magazine is reporting that approximately 500,000 song titles were also irreparable because of the damages. That information had never been disclosed until now, where legendary artists like Tupac Shakur, Eminem, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Snoop Dogg, and more are all affected.
Universal had originally only said that the King Kong attraction and a video vault were burnt down but it turns out that they were hiding the fact that tons of master recordings also perished in the fire. In a confidential report by UMG in 2009, the company admitted that around half a million song titles were lost as well.
Of the artists that lost masters in the fire are Aretha Franklin, whose first recorded appearances are gone forever, Buddy Holly, who lost nearly his entire catalog, and Etta James, who lost her hit single “At Last.” There are several hip-hop stars that lost music in the fire too including Eminem, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, The Roots, Tupac Shakur, and others.
The article notes that the fire was the “biggest disaster in the history of the music business,” which sounds accurate. Losing 500,000 masters is a big deal.