This is a story that is not going to go away any time soon. Because the Universal Music Group failed to report the full extent of damage caused by a 2008 warehouse fire, they are now facing class-action lawsuits from several of the artists affected.
As we have reported over the last week or so, many master recordings from artists like Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden were destroyed in the fire but not reported until early this month (June).
With the newly revealed information at hand, several artists whose music was supposedly ruined in the fire have decided to take legal action against the record label. As well as a host of living artists, the estates of Tom Petty and 2Pac were part of a huge lawsuit filed in Los Angeles in Federal District Court this week. The suit is looking for class-action status and are looking for damages of more than $100 million.
The 2Pac estate has accused Universal of “breaching its contracts with artists by failing to properly protect the tapes,” and says “Universal had a duty to share any income received as settlements from the fire, including an insurance payment,” said The New York Times.
Universal have come back stating: “numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings of the scope of the incident and affected assets,” in initial reports about the fire. They went on to state: “Music preservation is of the highest priority for us and we are proud of our track record,” UMG said in a statement.“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.”