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Author Topic:  Masters Disaster
Ben Elder


From:
La Crescenta, California, USA
Post  Posted 11 Jun 2019 11:39 pm    
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A 2008 fire at Universal Studios in Hollywood was a far greater catastrophe than the PR people let on. Among other casualties, over 100,000 (perhaps as many as 500,000) master recordings from labels owned by Universal in its West Coast operations were lost. Among the labels were Decca, Impulse (jazz) and even though it was a Chicago concern, Chess Records. Artist casualties include works by Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Tom Petty, Billie Holiday, just to name a very few. The flacks' reassurance that everything was backed up digitally seems to be at odds with reality.

The story is from the New York Times Magazine:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/magazine/universal-fire-master-recordings.html

And, somewhat redundantly:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/us/master-recordings-universal-fire.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article&region=Footer
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Jason Stillwell


From:
Soper, OK, USA
Post  Posted 26 Jun 2019 10:34 am    
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I read a follow-up article this morning.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/25/magazine/universal-music-fire-bands-list-umg.html
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post  Posted 26 Jun 2019 12:10 pm    
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https://tinyurl.com/y6f35h47


For decades, the music industry was exclusively a business of now, of today’s hot release, of this week’s charts — of hits, not history. “Nobody cared about catalog,” says an industry veteran. “Stuff that was five years old might as well have been 1,000 years old.”………..


A report by BuzzAngle, which analyzes online music consumption, found that about half the music streamed on demand in the United States last year was “deep catalog,” songs three or more years old. A catalog boom could theoretically push labels to digitize more archival recordings. But a question remains as to how deep “deep catalog” extends. The old songs most listeners are streaming are either recent hits or classics by huge artists like the Beatles and Bob Marley. Labels may not see much incentive to digitize less-popular material…….


If the sole vestiges of thousands of old recordings are a few stray 45s lining the shelves of collectors — perhaps that’s not a cultural tragedy, perhaps that’s a commercial-art ecosystem functioning properly…………..


“The music business intercepted about a century’s worth of sounds, the vast majority of which it lost money on,” says Andy Zax, the producer and writer. “Much of that music, at any given moment, may seem dated, irrelevant, terrible. The most powerful argument for preservation is simply: ‘We don’t know.’ The sounds from the past that seem vital to us in the present keep changing.
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