UNIVERSAL CITY (CBSLA) — Universal Music Group is pushing back against a New York Times investigative report that alleges the company tried to cover up the destruction of 500,000 priceless recordings in a June 2008 fire.
“The story contains numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings of the scope of the incident and affected assets,” Universal said in a statement.
The June 1 fire, started by a welding torch, took crews nearly 12 hours to extinguish as it raced through the back lot destroying the King Kong attraction, New York Street and a video vault. At the time, Universal said nothing irreplaceable was lost.
But the Times reports original master recordings of hundreds of thousands of songs — a half-century of music and history — was destroyed in the blaze. And recording artists and producers are challenging Universal on social media in light of the story.
But Universal maintains that nothing was lost in the fire, and claims the story failed to mention the “tens of thousands of back catalog recordings” released by Universal in recent years.
“Music preservation is of the highest priority for us and we are proud of our track record,” Universal said. “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.”