Some of the biggest names in music have come forward to address the heart-breaking loss of music from a 2008 fire in Hollywood.

Yesterday, a story emerged outlining that a 2008 fire in Universal Studios’ Hollywood location was far more devastating than the initial reports of just a few film prints being lost.

As it turned out, more than 500,000 irreplaceable master tapes from artists like Nirvana, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Captain Beefheart, Sammy Davis Jr., and Sister Rosetta Tharpe – just to name a few – had been lost.

“A master is the truest capture of a piece of recorded music,” Adam Block, the former president of Legacy Recordings, told the New York Times. “Sonically, masters can be stunning in their capturing of an event in time. Every copy thereafter is a sonic step away.”

While this news was undoubtedly shocked fans, some have wondered why it was that the news of the fire’s devastating impact had been covered up for 11 years, especially considering that initial reports indicated there had been “no loss”.

Universal Music Group acknowledged the impact of the fire in a public response to The New York Times’ official report.

“Music preservation is of the highest priority for us and we are proud of our track record,” UMG stated.

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“While there are constraints preventing us from publicly addressing some of the details of the fire that occurred at NBCUniversal Studios facility more than a decade ago, the incident — while deeply unfortunate — never affected the availability of the commercially released music nor impacted artists’ compensation.”

However, in the wake of the report, a number of artists have begun to address just what the loss of aster material means for them and their fans.

Taking to Twitter, Questlove of The Roots shared the article, pointing out that it was “for everyone asking why Do You Want More & Illdelph Halflife wont get [the] reissue treatment.”

“I been dying to find all the old reels and mix the 8 or 9 songs that never made DYWM,” Questlove added. “My plan for both DYWM & IH was to release all the songs and instrumental/acapella mixes on 45.

“They sent someone to check out the vault log and then it hit them: B-F & O-S artists took a hit the most. I think everything else was salvaged.”

A statement from R.E.M. saw the band explain they were attempting to get “good information to find out what happened and the effect on the band’s music, if any,” while a representative of Hole recently told Pitchfork that the band “not aware until this morning” that their music had been lost.

Steely Dan manager Irving Azoff also issued a statement on behalf of the band, noting that “we have been aware of ‘missing’ original Steely Dan tapes for a long time now. We’ve never been given a plausible explanation. Maybe they burned up in the big fire. In any case, it’s certainly a lost treasure.”

However, the most devastating news for rock fans is undoubtedly the lost of Nirvana’s master tapes, with bassist Krist Novoselic taking to Twitter to respond to a fan’s question about the status of the original Nevermind recordings, noting that; “I think they are gone forever.”

Interestingly though, while the initial report by The New York Times named Eminem as one of the artists whose work had been lost, spokesman Dennis Dennehy told the Detroit Free Press that the rapper’s recordings had been backed up just prior to the June 2008 fire.

“I’m fairly confident that most, if not all, of the masters are backed up,” Dennehy noted. However, while he didn’t specify which of Eminem’s recordings were stored in the affected vault, it was noted that many of the rapper’s recordings had been digitised early in the year.

Undoubtedly though, this is a devastating loss for music-lovers around the world, with many of some of the most iconic pieces of music ever recorded now unable to be recovered.

Check out ‘Fire In The Hole’ by Steely Dan:

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