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mmilovan

Big fire in Universal studios destroyed jazz recordings?

93 posts in this topic

This is message I've got from another board.

We can hope these were only records, and not masters/metal parts as well: :unsure:

There was a fire at Universal Studios this past weekend. I've pasted below a portion of the artice in Yahoo. Anyone have further details?

"The fire also destroyed a portion of Universal Music Group's recordings, primarily big band and jazz recordings on the Decca label and video copies of Universal movies and television shows.

Music stored in the vault also had backup copies, said Peter LoFrumento, a spokesman for Universal Music Group, now a subsidiary of Vivendi SA. It was unclear if the recordings were originals, he said."

:(

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NOT THE DECCAS!

Curse these companies for leaving so much un-reissued -

Edited by AllenLowe

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NOT THE DECCAS!

Curse these companies for leaving so much un-reissued -

If it is true about the metal parts then can you imagine: Basie, Jimmy Dorsey, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Lunceford... all in those beautiful sound... gone... forever... never to have them in sonicaly highest level of some further vinyl pressings.

We can only hope these were not masters, but records - anyway such loss is unrecoverable.

I always thought that records and tapes are in some safe deposit spaces under controlled conditions, burried safely under the ground and so on.

Now I know this is not the case.

From what have been said from that LoFrumento they didnt have slightliest clue about what content of that storage. How anyone can say "It was unclear if the recordings were originals"...

What was there, Martians?

Edited by mmilovan

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Universal Music Group Masters Unharmed In Fire

June 02, 2008, 1:10 PM ET spacer.gif Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Contrary to online reports, "thousands of original recording masters" from the Decca, MCA and ABC labels were not destroyed in a fire on the Universal Studios lot in Los Angeles over the weekend.

"We had no loss, thankfully," a Universal spokesperson tells Billboard. "We moved most of what was formerly stored there earlier this year to our other facilities. Of the small amount that was still there and awaiting to be moved, it had already been digitized so the music will still be around for many years."

The spokesperson continues, "Moreover, in addition to being digitized, we also had physical back up copies of what was still left at that location, so we were covered."

The fire did destroy some famous movie props, including the courthouse square from "Back to the Future," and an exhibit with a mechanical King Kong.

NOT THE MECHANICAL KING KONG!

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EXCLUSIVE: I've confirmed what I first heard on Monday: that Universal Classics has sent out an email to about 35 art house exhibitors and other film bookers of classic films alerting that the Universal Studios fire destroyed nearly 100% of archived 35mm prints kept in the so-called "video" vault on the lot. So, in the short term, Universal has canceled bookings of anything archival coming directly from Universal City and can't honor any film bookings of prints that were set to ship from there. Let me be clear: I am assured by insiders that the negatives are not affected, thankfully -- only the actual 35mm prints used for repertory circulation of classic films. Prints from that very rich vault which also includes pre-1950 Paramount include such classics as Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Duck Soup, Hell's Angels, Brides of Dracula, Incredible Shrinking Man, Buck Privates, Hold That Ghost, and so many, many more. Some Industry types are emailing me that, with these prints gone, and the expense of making new prints, they fear that art houses and cultural organizations and film societies and festivals may never see these films theatrically again. But I'm told that Universal has already committed itself to making new prints. Of course, there will be delay and disappointment in the immediate future. But that's only a timing issue. I'm told it's possible that some of these prints may have duplicates in storage at other locations. So, over the next few weeks and months, Universal will be piecing together what extra prints, if any, it does have elsewhere. I still can't get a straight answer to all your questions about why the video vault wasn't fireproof. In part because the Uni people just sound completely frazzled still about the fire's aftermath. But Universal does have an extraordinary history as a leader in film preservation. Still, Hollywood must, repeat must, do everything to preserve its history. So everyone try harder, spend more, and just do it.

http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/uni-...eties-affected/

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Wow that was scary for a moment. It didn't make sense for the Universal Music Group stuff to even be at Universal Studios since the music group is owned by Vivendi and the studio is owned by GE. At least I think so-- these companies have changed hands so often that I can't keep up any more. And I used to have an office on that lot quite near to where the fire was.

(It's like trying to follow the explanations as to who owns the Brunswick recordings from the '30s.)

Edited by medjuck

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You said it, Joe. Since I've been here, we've been owned by Seagrams, Vivendi, and now GE. And I just missed the Matsushita days. Gotta say, I do miss the holiday bonuses we used to get from Seagrams. ;)

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to clear up the ownership lineage, as I understand it, Universal Music Group (UMG) a wholly sperate company from NBC/Universal (the film and TV people,) was renting vault space at Universal Studios from NBC/Universal. I didn't understand it either, at first, as I was pretty sure the film side didn't have anything to do with the music side anymore.

So, they lost prints, but not negatives. Yeah, my first thought when I read about the fire was I hope they saved the Karloff films! Still, I wonder about a lot of those really old films where the negatives are long gone. What of those?

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(It's like trying to follow the explanations as to who owns the Brunswick recordings from the '30s.)

*Nothing* is THAT complicated!! ;)

But I join in the general relief that the Deccas weren't lost. My heart skipped about five beats.

Greg Mo

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I guess that Universal Japan has copies of most of the back catalog as well. I know they have the 70's copies of all the Blue Note material on file over there so they might have the others as well.

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The thought of losing films from that back catalog is just as frightening to me as the music....at least it was just the prints and I'll "take their word for it" that they had backups of everything that was lost.

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PROBABLY EVERYTHING...

This is the message I've got from another board few minutes ago:

"Unfortunately, yes. I visited that vault with Steven two years ago, and

with his authority was able to "check out," lending-library style, about ten

metal parts. There was a corner of the building with metal racks that contained

hundreds and hundreds of them in a lot of cardboard boxes marked "Hoffman."

That would be Steve Hoffman, who worked for MCA in the late '70s and early '80s,

producing LP reissues of hot stuff. Steve cherrypicked the vast archive of

Decca metals, pulling every Gennett, Vocalion and even Paramount mother or

stamper he could find. He took these home to transfer, and then KEPT them! MCA

busted him for possession - I don't know his punishment for this "crime" - and

returned it all to the vault. The metals were never re-intergrated into the

files, and in 2006, were in exactly the same state - packed willy-nilly in

their cardboard boxes - as when they were repossessed. This should tell you how

much MCA really cared about them. They would have been a lot better off in

Hoffman's house.

Anyway, with Steven's help, I took home and transferred the parts for "West

End Blues" by Zach Whyte's Chocolate Beau Brummels; two sides by Pine Top

Smith, including an unissued take of "Now I Ain't Got Nothin' at All" and eight

others. I almost but for some &(^%$( reason DIDN'T take the two Gennett sides

by Carmichael's Collegians, "Walkin' the Dog" and "March of the Hoodlums." I

can still see them leaning against the box where I left them. I had reason to

hope that Steven and I - or Steven alone - could return there on a regular

basis, but for reasons he never made entirely clear, he wouldn't and we didn't.

Now, as far as we know, all that metal is SLAG. Along with all the acetates

and tapes that I presume were also still there.

Sorry, guys.

Brad Kay"

Thank you Universal! :angry::rmad:

Edited by mmilovan

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I would have hoped the masters marked Hoffman had been the early recordings of Josef Hofmann. Far more important than the other guy.

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PROBABLY EVERYTHING...

This is the message I've got from another board few minutes ago:

"Unfortunately, yes. I visited that vault with Steven two years ago, and

with his authority was able to "check out," lending-library style, about ten

metal parts. There was a corner of the building with metal racks that contained

hundreds and hundreds of them in a lot of cardboard boxes marked "Hoffman."

That would be Steve Hoffman, who worked for MCA in the late '70s and early '80s,

producing LP reissues of hot stuff. Steve cherrypicked the vast archive of

Decca metals, pulling every Gennett, Vocalion and even Paramount mother or

stamper he could find. He took these home to transfer, and then KEPT them! MCA

busted him for possession - I don't know his punishment for this "crime" - and

returned it all to the vault. The metals were never re-intergrated into the

files, and in 2006, were in exactly the same state - packed willy-nilly in

their cardboard boxes - as when they were repossessed. This should tell you how

much MCA really cared about them. They would have been a lot better off in

Hoffman's house.

Anyway, with Steven's help, I took home and transferred the parts for "West

End Blues" by Zach Whyte's Chocolate Beau Brummels; two sides by Pine Top

Smith, including an unissued take of "Now I Ain't Got Nothin' at All" and eight

others. I almost but for some &(^%$( reason DIDN'T take the two Gennett sides

by Carmichael's Collegians, "Walkin' the Dog" and "March of the Hoodlums." I

can still see them leaning against the box where I left them. I had reason to

hope that Steven and I - or Steven alone - could return there on a regular

basis, but for reasons he never made entirely clear, he wouldn't and we didn't.

Now, as far as we know, all that metal is SLAG. Along with all the acetates

and tapes that I presume were also still there.

Sorry, guys.

Brad Kay"

Thank you Universal! :angry::rmad:

And possibly nothing. That report admits being two years old, but news reports last week indicated that whatever original parts that were in the building had been moved out of there earlier in the year. I'm not saying that's absolutely correct either; perhaps we'll never know.

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Is the "Steven" who visited the vaults Steven Lasker?

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No, I think it's Lasker, with Hoffman being the "Steve" he's referring to.

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gotcha - but I am confused - is it the consensus that nothing in the Decca metals was lost in this fire?

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Not sure I'd call it a consensus, but...

http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/upda...-music-history/

MONDAY AM UPDATE: Universal Music just gave me a "clarification" on my report regarding UMG’s vault and the Universal Studio fire on Sunday: "Thankfully, there was little lost from UMG's vault. A majority of what was formerly stored there was moved earlier this year to our other facilities. Of the small amount that was still there and waiting to be moved, it had already been digitized so the music will still be around for many years to come. And in addition to being digitized, physical back up copies of what was still left at that location were made and stored elsewhere. So thankfully, smart care, administration and preparation of these gems prevailed." So let me get this straight: first there's no report of irreplaceable damage at the Universal Studios vault, then I find out there's musical history destruction because of a rental agreement with Universal Music, and now execs it's only "a little" and not a problem. Funny, because my insiders insist it's a BIG problem. Universal Music claims that over the past year it had been moving master recordings of its "big name" musical artists to the giant Iron Mountain, Pennsylvania vault -- the same one used by Bill Gates and Microsoft. What was left, Universal Music contends, was only "more obscure artists from the '40s and the early '50s." My final thought: the public may never know the truth.

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Only more obscure artists from the '40s and '50s? Pshaww! Who cares about that anyway? Hell, they didn't even have ringtones back then, let alone iPods or 20th Century Masters Gold Greatest Hits Repackage #4,857 back then.

A friend an I were talking about this a while ago and he stopped me in my tracks when he pointed out that what does it matter if all that stuff burnt up because it's not like UMG has any interest in releasing stuff of that era anyway. It's much more important to fart out another Kiss or Sublime (a band who has more comps than original albums) hits collection than mine the vaults. I had to agree, he had a pretty good point.

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exactemeaunt - "more obscure artists from the '40s and the early '50s." " probably also from the '20s and '30s -

weh - these fuckin' multinational music arse holes -

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And in addition to being digitized, physical back up copies of what was still left at that location were made and stored elsewhere

I'm deeply interested in what the hell is "physical back-up copy" of metal parts? To my mind it can only be another metal part, stamper or copy in virgin vinyl pressed from negative...

So they did all that copies, right?

Oh yeah, for sure... <_<

Edited by mmilovan

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The thing is, we don't know for sure what, if anything, was lost. The post you quoted (Lasker's trip to the vault) referred to something from two years ago. Recent press reports claim that UMG moved much of the stuff earlier this year. We don't know exactly what was moved, if the metal parts were moved, or what the "physical back-up copies" were even of - they might be referring to copies of tapes rather than of lacquers/stampers. Obviously, no matter what the results are it's not a good thing, but without more facts I'm not gonna worry yet about what might or might not have been lost.

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Guess I can finally forget about hearing Vocalion 1150 from the metal parts:

MARGUERITE LONG WITH THE ELLINGTON TRIO - New York, November, 1927

ML vocal accompanied by Otto Hardwicke (alto saxophone), Duke Ellington (piano), Wellman Braud (bass)

E6783 You Will Always Live In Our Memory unissued

E6784 You Will Always Live In Our Memory Vocalion 1150

E6787 She's Gone To Join the Songbirds In Heaven unissued

E6788 She's Gone To Join the Songbirds In Heaven Vocalion 1150

Not to mention the missing masters E6785/6.

I had hoped this would be on the (otherwise wonderful) Decca box.

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