Jump to content
RussTCB

Universal Vault Fire: HUGE loss to historical master recordings, including GN'R

Recommended Posts

Good news - it is Universal and not 'our' Vault with all the po shots and sdb's from live gigs.

Also - not real loss, apart from the record company. For...You can bet anything destroyed there is something every artist has a copy of at home.

Do you honestly think they had reel that a copy off doesn't lay around in Ax/Slash/Duff/Iz home?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, shotsfired cro said:

You can bet anything destroyed there is something every artist has a copy of at home.

Are you talking about Axl’s vault? Pufff..I think we have more chances with the ashes left over from the Universal fire. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, RussTCB said:

Copies wouldn't matter much because they wouldn't be the originals. Any copy would suffer generational loss at the very least.

At least if there are copies it means that we still have some backups

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, MaskingApathy said:

I finally got around to reading the articles you posted and I don't even know what to say. I can't even believe that we didn't know about this until now. That's so much history and content just gone.

It's just astounding in a bad way.

When I posted the article yesterday, I kept thinking "I don't think people are really getting the loss here" and it's evident that you really get it. It's just amazing in such a bad way.

12 minutes ago, ; D said:

At least if there are copies it means that we still have some backups

That's the thing; there probably aren't copies of "original" master recordings. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, shotsfired cro said:

Good news - it is Universal and not 'our' Vault with all the po shots and sdb's from live gigs.

Also - not real loss, apart from the record company. For...You can bet anything destroyed there is something every artist has a copy of at home.

Do you honestly think they had reel that a copy off doesn't lay around in Ax/Slash/Duff/Iz home?

a "copy" yes, but there's only one "original master recording" 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Nirvana stuff won't make any difference Courtney Love has already milked it as much as it can be milked 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, RussTCB said:

It's just astounding in a bad way.

When I posted the article yesterday, I kept thinking "I don't think people are really getting the loss here" and it's evident that you really get it. It's just amazing in such a bad way.

That's the thing; there probably aren't copies of "original" master recordings. 

For the genuinely ignorant and naive GnR fan like me, can you explain exactly what you think has been lost or we have missed out on as a result of this fire? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I would like an explanation as well. Somehow, after reading many books/articles about histories of bands etc. I've never been able to deduce from context what "master tapes" exactly are.

So a band walks to a studio, and records some songs (let's say G'n'R with the lies album, for simplicity, because they purportedly recorded the songs in 1 session). I assume the "master tapes" are created then? If yes, what is the specific, physical difference between master tapes and, well, any other tapes made during that time? I mean, surely they would make more than 1 copy of this music, right?

I understand that record companies own the master tapes, but if the significance of owning master tapes would be purely legal (like rights to use etc.), then this fire wouldn't be >that< much of a deal, since it would be just a problem of some legaleese. If we factor in the historical component (that these were the ACTUAL TAPES made during the ACTUAL RECORDING SESSION OF Lies) it becomes more serious, but not that it would be called  “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.”

Because of that, I assume that master tapes are also significant because of what they physically contain. If so, what is the specific distinction between a "master tape" and a "xyz tape"? I remember hearing once that master tapes have all the separate tracks on them (like just Slash's guitar from Patience, for example). If this is true, and no other xyz tapes have them, and this is the reason why they are so important, can't they just get Slash and Mike Clink back to a studio and re-record it in 99~% the same way? The challenge with recording is not knowing what the final version will actually be, but when the songs are finished, surely Slash could "play it exactly the way it's recorded on the album" with 98-99~% accuracy.

Don't get me wrong, I obviously know that I just don't understand all the particulars and this is a devastating loss for music history, but if someone could clear it up for me it would be much appreciated.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, Entman said:

Don't get me wrong, I obviously know that I just don't understand all the particulars and this is a devastating loss for music history, but if someone could clear it up for me it would be much appreciated.

I'm not expert but to my understanding, a master tape it is the first recording of something (be it a song, sounds, film, etc), the original material from where all the other copies will be produced.

I assume its value resides on it being the original, the first one and all that has to do with quality of sound? Also being the original I assume it is not edited, mixed or touched in any way, so that would make it more valuable than copies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DownUnderScott said:

For the genuinely ignorant and naive GnR fan like me, can you explain exactly what you think has been lost or we have missed out on as a result of this fire? 

See bottom.

1 hour ago, Entman said:

Yeah, I would like an explanation as well. Somehow, after reading many books/articles about histories of bands etc. I've never been able to deduce from context what "master tapes" exactly are.

So a band walks to a studio, and records some songs (let's say G'n'R with the lies album, for simplicity, because they purportedly recorded the songs in 1 session). I assume the "master tapes" are created then? If yes, what is the specific, physical difference between master tapes and, well, any other tapes made during that time? I mean, surely they would make more than 1 copy of this music, right?

I understand that record companies own the master tapes, but if the significance of owning master tapes would be purely legal (like rights to use etc.), then this fire wouldn't be >that< much of a deal, since it would be just a problem of some legaleese. If we factor in the historical component (that these were the ACTUAL TAPES made during the ACTUAL RECORDING SESSION OF Lies) it becomes more serious, but not that it would be called  “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.”

Because of that, I assume that master tapes are also significant because of what they physically contain. If so, what is the specific distinction between a "master tape" and a "xyz tape"? I remember hearing once that master tapes have all the separate tracks on them (like just Slash's guitar from Patience, for example). If this is true, and no other xyz tapes have them, and this is the reason why they are so important, can't they just get Slash and Mike Clink back to a studio and re-record it in 99~% the same way? The challenge with recording is not knowing what the final version will actually be, but when the songs are finished, surely Slash could "play it exactly the way it's recorded on the album" with 98-99~% accuracy.

Don't get me wrong, I obviously know that I just don't understand all the particulars and this is a devastating loss for music history, but if someone could clear it up for me it would be much appreciated.

 

See below.

36 minutes ago, killuridols said:

I'm not expert but to my understanding, a master tape it is the first recording of something (be it a song, sounds, film, etc), the original material from where all the other copies will be produced.

I assume its value resides on it being the original, the first one and all that has to do with quality of sound? Also being the original I assume it is not edited, mixed or touched in any way, so that would make it more valuable than copies.

The above is a good basic explanation. 

Let me go a little further-

Take "At Last" by Etta James, which was in the fire and the original master tapes are now gone. The "master tapes" are the only first generation recording where everything stays exactly how it sounded when it was first recorded. There are almost never any copies of the original master tapes made because it wouldn't be "original" anymore. It would suffer at least some sound degredation due to the nature of it being a copy. Furthermore, any copy that was made most likely would have been made after the mixing & effects part of the process.

So having said that, the only recordings of "At Last" (and everything else lost in the fire, which is a massive amount of material) that exist are now "mixed and mastered" copies. So no one will ever have access to those original, separated tracks ever again. Because of this fire, no recording of what Etta James naked voice sounds like when it went from her lips to a micro phone. At the very most, a copy of that original MIGHT exist and even if it does, who knows what's been done to it (eq'ing, effects, etc). So essentally, we now have no recorded history of exactly what Etta James' voice sounded like in person, and we never will again.

Now you might say "Yeah, but 'At Last' is a just a big band recording" or "Yeah, but 'At Last' might not have been recorded to multi tracks" or anything along those lines. That might be true for that one track but take that inforrmation I just said and look at the list of artists again. Here's a very few of the artists effected by this monumental loss: Buddy Holly, The Ink Spots, Ray Charles, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, BB King, Quincy Jones, Al Green, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, The Polic, Nirvana, Guns N' Roses..............and there are many, many more.

The question at this point is: what exactly was lost for each artist? We don't know that yet and it's going to be quite a while until we do. After all, it took 11 years for this amount of information to come to light. 

  • GNFNR 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, GNRfanJen said:

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

The New York Times wrote up an excellent dissertation on the subject. It’s a pretty long read, I’m barely halfway through it. But it really details the significance of this event and how it has affected music as we know it. What a loss.  

I included both NY Times links in the original post :)

Yes, it's a massive loss :( 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, RussTCB said:

I included both NY Times links in the original post :)

Yes, it's a massive loss :( 

Oops, totally didn’t see it there. 

Honestly I recommend any music fan to read it. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

when big companies buy out smaller companies and big companies merge everything ends up in the same store room. one fire/flood/earthquake and the lot is gone.

there's a lesson here. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Blackstar said:

What a typical and laughable response from Uni. This is my favorite part:

"'the incident – while deeply unfortunate – never affected the availability of the commercially released music nor impacted artists’ compensation.' The statement goes on to cite 'the tens of thousands of back catalog recordings that we have already issued in recent years – including master-quality, high-resolution, audiophile versions of many recordings that the story claims were ‘destroyed,’ and says “UMG invests more in music preservation and development of hi-resolution audio products than anyone else in music,” listing several restoration and preservation projects.


None of that has any baring on the fact that the ORIGINAL masters are now gone.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, shotsfired cro said:

Good news - it is Universal and not 'our' Vault with all the po shots and sdb's from live gigs.

Also - not real loss, apart from the record company. For...You can bet anything destroyed there is something every artist has a copy of at home.

Do you honestly think they had reel that a copy off doesn't lay around in Ax/Slash/Duff/Iz home?

Yeah no. There was a lot of stuff in that warehouse that was unreleased, studio outtakes and such, and recordings by artists who aren't very well known and whose content can never be released now. Plus those copies aren't the masters. Especially all that old jazz and blues stuff, the technology is getting there now where we can digitize those old recordings and restore them to how they might've sounded back then, but now that the tapes are gone those recordings are lost forever. And a lot of the stuff that was in the fire hadn't been digitized yet.

5 hours ago, RussTCB said:

It's just astounding in a bad way.

When I posted the article yesterday, I kept thinking "I don't think people are really getting the loss here" and it's evident that you really get it. It's just amazing in such a bad way.

That's the thing; there probably aren't copies of "original" master recordings. 

Yeah I fully understand it, but I'm not sure others in the business (or here on the forum).

I'm curious to see the fallout, legal and otherwise, of this over the next week or so. I'm sure some of these artists and their management companies are pissed.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, MaskingApathy said:

...a lot of stuff in that warehouse that was unreleased, studio outtakes and such....

SONOFABITCH. I didn't even think of that aspect :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, RussTCB said:

SONOFABITCH. I didn't even think of that aspect :(

They mentioned that in the long article you posted I think. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, MaskingApathy said:

They mentioned that in the long article you posted I think. 

I've been so upset by the whole thing that I must've forgotten that part. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone remember the GNR BBC special that aired in February of 2016 to kick off the NITL campaign? Previously unseen live and rehearsal video footage (with no audio) was shown in the BBC special.
The general consensus is that this material was provided by Robert John. 

Live footage from Robert's collection also appeared in the 2004 VH1 GNR Behind The Music episode. 

Chances are that Robert has copies of many of the professionally filmed live/rehearsal performances from 1987-1993. 

I believe Slash, Duff, Izzy, and, Matt, are still on good terms with Robert.
Therefore, perhaps, the GNR pro-shots are still with us?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm praying that Universal, or whoever else was involved in the archiving process, were smart enough to keep backups of multitracks and unreleased material in another location. Safety copies are all well and good, but are useless if they were destroyed in the same fire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Azifwekare said:

I'm praying that Universal, or whoever else was involved in the archiving process, were smart enough to keep backups of multitracks and unreleased material in another location. Safety copies are all well and good, but are useless if they were destroyed in the same fire.

You're talking about a massive amount of time, enegery and resources to be able to do something like that. Mostikelt such a thing wouldn't exist. 

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×