UMG Pocketed Up To $150M In Fire Settlement, Insurance Payments and Paid Nothing To Artists, Lawsuit Claims


UMG squareIn addition to covering up the scope of damage in a 2008 fire in a Universal Music Group vault containing recording masters of more than 800 artists, the company allegedly also profited from settlement and insurance payments, according to a new report and court filings.

After the devastating fire, UMG sued Universal Studios, its former partner and the owner of the facility which the recording company used to store many if is historic masters recordings. A lawsuit filed on Friday values those losses at $150 million.

UMG and Universal settled for an undisclosed sum, but allegedly shared none of it with artists.

Universal Music Group also reportedly received additional funds from insurance, according to the new lawsuit. From the filing:

“UMG successfully pursued litigation and insurance claims which it reportedly valued at $150 million to recoup the value of the Master Recordings. 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.”

Hypebot has reached 6 artists on the list of destroyed masters obtained by the New York Times, and none had received any portion of the settlement or insurance payments. Several of the artists not aware that their master recordings had likely been destroyed until we contacted them.

MORE: 800+ Artists Lost Tapes In Universal Fire