Universal fire destroyed masters of more than 500K titles

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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.

PEOPLE reported at the time that the King Kong exhibit was "three quarters lost" and that the NY set "has been totally lost". Nearly of all of Buddy Holly's masters were lost, as were most of John Coltrane's masters in the Impulse Records collection. Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Judy Garland, Etta James, Neil Diamond, Loretta Lynn, Eric Clapton, Yoko Ono, Elton John, Janet Jackson, No Doubt and Tupac Shakur are among the long list of artists whose master recordings may have gone up in flames.

A master recording, or "master", as it is often called, is the original sound recording of a song.

According to a new report from The New York Times, a fire that ripped through Universal Music Studios in 2008 damaged far more than Universal Music Group originally let on. Initially, reports shared that "a vault full of video and television images" was destroyed in the fire, and an unnamed representative for Universal quoted: "Thankfully, there was little lost from UMG's vault".

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The Times report claims that an internal memo reported that 500,000 master recordings were lost in the fire.

Universal Music Group would not confirm the number of actual losses due to the fire, nor would it confirm the status of masters for specific artists.

The music giant did not cite what was inaccurate or misleading, but stated, "While there are constraints preventing us from publicly addressing some of the details of the fire that occurred at NBCUniversal Studios facility more than a decade ago, the incident - while deeply unfortunate - never affected the availability of the commercially released music nor impacted artists' compensation". When news of the fire broke in June 2008, the majority of major news outlets focused on the loss from the video vault "that contained only copies of old works".

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