According to a New York Times investigation, a massive fire that wrecked Universal Studios Hollywood in 2008 resulted in a catastrophic loss for music history. Masters and demos of many of Universal’s artists throughout the decades — everyone from Buddy Holly to Tupac — were lost to the blaze. With the masters gone, possibilities for high-quality reproductions and re-issues in the future are limited.
’90s rock icons Hole were among the artists to lose masters in the fire. After being contacted by Pitchfork, a representative for the band said that Hole were “not aware until this morning” that the fire destroyed their masters 11 years ago.
It looks like Hole aren’t the only ones who were not aware of the extent of the fire’s devastation to their catalog. R.E.M., another band whose material was lost to the fire, posted the following on Twitter today: “REMHQ is receiving inquiries from many people concerned about the New York Times article on the Universal Music fire 11 years ago. We are trying to get good information to find out what happened and the effect on the band’s music, if any. We will detail further as and when.”
You can read the full New York Times investigation into the Universal fire here.