Tupac’s Estate, Soundgarden, and More, Join Class-Action Lawsuit Against Universal Music Group over 2008 Vault Fire

(Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

The first wave of suits against UMG has arrived.

In a move that was absolutely imminent, Universal Music Group has been hit with a class-action lawsuit over the 2008 vault fire that destroyed as many as 500,000 (or more,) master recordings.

According to Billboard, heirs and representatives of Soundgarden, Hole, and the Tupac Shakur Estate, have joined in the first round of litigation against the music giant, seeking their cut (half) of a reported $150 million insurance claim filed by the label that was never directly shared with the artists whose life work was literally incinerated 11 years ago. The suit alleges Universal Music intentionally downplayed the scale of the damages and concealed the millions recovered via insurance valuation.

The filing also claims Universal Music violated “a duty of care to artists” by storing master recordings in “the firetrap that was the Universal Studios backlot warehouse” —  a charge echoed by the label itself when it sued parent company, NBCUniversal, in 1990 after a fire ravaged an adjacent section of the very same lot.

And though UMG CEO, Lucian Grainge, has pledged transparency in the weeks since a bombshell New York Times report broke the story, label reps maintain the piece “contains numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings of the scope of the incident and affected assets.”




Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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