The estate of Tom Petty and Soundgarden are among a handful of artists that have filed a class action lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG) in response to a report from New York Times Magazine regarding thousands of master recordings being destroyed in a 2008 vault fire.
Per Billboard, the class action lawsuit also features Hole, Steve Earle and Tom Whalley on behalf of the Afeni Shakur Trust that oversees Tupac Shakur’s estate. The group is “seeking to recover half of any settlement proceeds and insurance payments received by UMG and half of any remaining loss of value not compensated by such settlement proceeds and insurance payments.”
The lawsuit states UMG’s litigation and insurance claims were around $150 million, which wasn’t distributed to any artists.
The lawsuit states, “UMG concealed its massive recovery from Plaintiffs, apparently hoping it could keep it all to itself by burying the truth in sealed court filings and a confidential settlement agreement. Most importantly, UMG did not share any of its recovery with Plaintiffs, the artists whose life works were destroyed in the Fire—even though, by the terms of their recording contracts, Plaintiffs are entitled to 50% of those proceeds and payments.”
This is the first of potentially many lawsuits against UMG, who did not disclose at the time of the 2008 vault fire that up to 500,000 master recordings were destroyed. Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times reported that the law firm King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano is representing “more than 10 but fewer than 100″ artists whose master recordings were lost in the UMG fire. Those lawsuits, according to attorney and firm partner Howard King, will be filed individually because “The claims of our clients are significant enough to justify individual lawsuits.”
Erica Banas is rock/classic rock news blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.