Recently, the New York Times opened an investigation about a fire that broke out in a part of Universal Studios Hollywood back in 2008. The report reveals some astonishing results about what was lost in the fire back then. Termed as “The Day the Music Burned” by the New York Times, it was clearly the biggest disaster in the history of the music business — and almost nobody knew.
It was during the early hours of June 1, 2008, when the fire starting from the roof of a building on the set of New England Street reached Building 6197, known as the video vault, which housed videotapes, film reels and, crucially, a library of master sound recordings owned by Universal Music Group. Back then it was said that the fire had destroyed the theme park’s “King Kong” attraction and a video vault that contained only copies of old works. However, this is far from what the recent investigation has revealed.
A confidential report estimated the loss at about 500,000 song titles. The music spanned over a few decades was lost in the fire.
It includes recordings by Ray Charles, B.B. King, the Four Tops, Joan Baez, Neil Diamond, Sonny and Cher, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Al Green, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles, Aerosmith, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Barry White, Patti LaBelle, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Police, Sting, Steve Earle, R.E.M., Janet Jackson, Guns N’ Roses, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, Snoop Dogg, Nirvana, Beck, Sheryl Crow, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, 50 Cent and the Roots.
Read the report from the New York Times here.