Universal Owes Artists 'Transparency' Over Vault Fire Losses, CEO Says
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
June 19, 2019
Universal Music Group artists inquiring with the label about the fate of their master tapes in that devastating 2008 fire will get straight answers, says CEO Lucian Grainge.
"Let me be clear: we owe our artists transparency," Grainge wrote to employees in an internal memo, obtained by the Los Angeles Times. "We owe them answers. I will ensure that the senior management of this company, starting with me, owns this."
Grainge explained that the Senior Vice President of Recording Studios and Archive Management has formed a team to field artist questions and "respond to them as promptly as we can."
A bombshell New York Times Magazine report last week revealed that the 2008 blaze at Universal's Hollywood headquarters tore through the music vault, obliterating an estimated 500,000 historic master tapes from artists spanning all genres.
Universal downplayed the damage at the time, with one spokesperson saying, "In a sense, nothing was lost."
The label has since disputed the findings of the NY Times Magazine report, saying it contains "numerous inaccuracies" and a "misunderstanding" of the events.
One L.A.-based attorney told the Los Angeles Times that he's been in contact with many artists who are contemplating legal action against Universal, citing both the loss of their intellectual property and the alleged decade-long cover-up.
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