The music industry was devastated yesterday by news of a vault fire at Universal Studios Hollywood that engulfed the master tapes of many of Universal Music’s artists that was kept secret for over a decade before being reported by The New York Times. The 2008 fire destroyed thousands of irreplaceable recordings from Snoop Dogg, The Roots, and many, many more. However, one artist was lucky enough to have escaped the worst the damage: Eminem, whose spokesperson told the Detroit Free Press that “most, if not all, of [his] masters are backed up” digitally.
According to the report, Eminem’s master tapes were “painstakingly duplicated onto digital media just in the nick of time — months before the June 2008 disaster.” Em’s early production partners the Bass Brothers digitized all the tape reels that they had early in 2008, including The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show, which were recorded at Bass Brothers’ Detroit-area 54 Sound studio. Bass Brothers and 54 Sound manager Joel Martin said that he was inspired to do so, ironically, by Universal’s request to have recording reels sent to LA for “safekeeping.” Although Universal wanted to keep all their metaphorical eggs in one basket, Martin wanted to make sure he had access to the “assorted vocals, instruments, beats and other sounds captured in isolation” for possible future projects. Eminem will likely be glad that he did, since many other artists under Universal’s umbrella at the time have mourned the destruction of some of their most beloved projects.