Lucian Grainge Writes Emotional Letter About Universal Music Fire
Last week, The New York Times shone a spotlight on what they described as “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business:” the 2008 Universal Music Fire. The blaze, which reportedly claimed the master recordings of Eminem, 50 Cent, Tupac, and many more, ultimately led to the destruction of over 500,000 song titles; even those backed up were likely done so in a digital fashion, meaning the original analog masters were left charred and smoldering. A tragedy to the modern audiophile, and one can imagine the blow each artist must have felt.
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In the wake of the Times’ report, Universal CEO Lucian Grainge stepped forward to address the widespread coverage. In an admirable move, Grainge opened the door for himself and his company to take responsibility for the disaster, imploring transparency moving forward. “By now most of you have seen the articles relating to the fire in 2008 at the NBC Universal Studios lot that destroyed archived recordings, videos and related materials,” he begins, addressing his staff in an emotional letter. “I can still remember being repeatedly warned not to travel by subway to the mastering studio because the magnetic energy could destroy the recordings. It was then I first realized how precious these items were, and the care with which they needed to be treated.”
“Even though all of the released recordings lost in the fire will live on forever, losing so much archival material is nonetheless painful,” he continues. “These stories have prompted speculation, and having our artists and songwriters not knowing whether the speculation is accurate is completely unacceptable. So, let me be clear: we owe our artists transparency. We owe them answers. I will ensure that the senior management of this company, starting with me, owns this. “
Be sure to read Grainge’s full letter right here, via Complex.