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Tupac’s Estate And Others Sue Universal Music Group Over Lost And Destroyed Recordings From 2008 Studio Fire

Last week, the New York Times detailed the full extent of damages sustained during the infamous 2008 Universal fire, where as many as 500,000 master recordings were destroyed in the back lot fire of Universal Studios Hollywood. Now in response to the detailed report on what was damaged, the estate of late rap icon Tupac Shakur has filed a lawsuit against the label, according to Variety.

Attorneys representing Pac’s estate,  Tom Petty’s estate, Steve Earle, Soundgarden, and Hole are seeking “50% of any settlement proceeds and insurance payments received by UMG for the loss of the master recordings, and 50% of any remaining loss of value not compensated by such settlement proceeds and insurance payments.” They claim that UMG did not provide sufficient protection for the highly valuable masters.

The lawsuit documents read, “UMG did not speak up immediately or even ever inform its recording artists that the Master Recordings embodying their musical works were destroyed. In fact, UMG concealed the loss with false public statements such as that ‘we only lost a small number of tapes and other material by obscure artists from the 1940s and 50s.’ To this day, UMG has failed to inform Plaintiffs that their Master Recordings were destroyed in the Fire.”

Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge responded to the article,  telling his company to own their mistakes that led to the fire. “We owe our artists transparency,” he wrote. “We owe them answers.”

Other artists affected by the devastating fire include Eminem, Nirvana, Snoop Dogg, the Roots, Beck, Sonic Youth, Elton John, Janet Jackson, Nine Inch Nails, Iggy Pop, and many more. Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic said earlier this month that he firmly believes the Nevermind-era recordings are “gone forever.”

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