U.S. District Choose John Kronstadt right this moment dismissed Soundgarden’s litigation within the lawsuit towards Common Music Group that was filed by 5 artists final yr over injury the artists’ musical recordings suffered in a 2008 fireplace that destroyed many property within the firm’s vaults. Soundgarden, Gap, Steve Earle and the estates of Tupac and Tom Petty introduced the swimsuit final yr; all events (together with Soundgarden) besides one consultant of the Petty property, Jane Petty, have withdrawn from it.
Whereas Common’s archives are suffered in depth injury within the fireplace, the firm has disputed the small print within the July 2019 New York Occasions report that first revealed the extent of the injury. The report estimated that round 500,000 masters by a few of the biggest artists of the previous century had been destroyed.
The artists who introduced swimsuit reportedly did so primarily based on the reviews within the Occasions, and the evaluation of the injury suffered by the archives of these artists have largely been disputed by UMG, citing investigations by its archivist. Gap acknowledged final yr that its archives had not suffered vital injury and withdrew from the swimsuit.
In line with reviews, artists whose recordings date again additional than those who introduced swimsuit are mentioned to have suffered extra in depth injury.
The corporate’s chief archivist, Pat Kraus, despatched the corporate’s workers a memo earlier this month updating progress on the stock. Amongst different factors, he says that the Occasions’ evaluation could have been flawed on account of its use of incomplete data — a lot of which had been additionally destroyed — and insurance coverage claims made by the corporate within the months instantly after the hearth, which had been at instances basic and primarily based on staffers’ reminiscences. He additionally supplies particular numbers on the stock, with out naming artists.
“The Occasions revealed a listing of 830 artist names and acknowledged or implied that these artists misplaced unique recordings within the fireplace,” he writes. “Of the 392 inquiries that we’ve obtained to date, my staff and I’ve reviewed greater than 150,000 property and responded to 209 of these artists. Up to now, lower than 0.1 p.c of these property may need been unique recordings affected by the hearth.”
Additionally within the memo, he estimates that “lower than 5% of [UMG’s] whole property” had been within the facility that was broken by the hearth.