Classic Master Tapes From Nirvana, Soundgarden, Many More Lost In 2008 Fire

It’s being called “the biggest disaster in the history of music business.”

A New York Times report shows that a 2008 fire at Universal Studios in Hollywood destroyed master recordings from some of the biggest names in music.

The Times says that a fire that we thought only destroyed a Universal theme park attraction also tore through buildings that housed 50,000 original audio recordings from a list of acts that resembles the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame roster. Aretha Franklin, Guns ‘n Roses, Soundgarden, Janet Jackson, Nirvana, Aerosmith and more. Almost all of Buddy Holly’s and John Coltrane’s masters were destroyed. The fire also consumed master recordings of Elton John, Ray Charles and Judy Garland.

To see the full scope of artists whose work was destroyed – or if you’re out of NYT views for the month like me LOL – grab more details here.

Other well-known alternative artists who lost masters include R.E.M., No Doubt, Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth, Hole, and Beck.

The destruction means that it will be release high-quality reissues of songs in the future.

But why are we just learning about this now? NYT writer Jody Rosen credits a “triumph of crisis management” that guarded against both lawsuits and public embarrassment. Active artists and the estates of surviving artists might have sued – and still could.

Do you have important items in your home protected against things like fire and flooding?  Which artist’s music should be saved first?

Image via Flickr/Wikimedia Commons