Eleven years ago this month, a fire ripped through a part of Universal Studios Hollywood.
At the time, the company said that the blaze had destroyed the theme park’s “King Kong” attraction and a video vault that contained only copies of old works.
But, according to an article published on Tuesday by The New York Times Magazine, the fire also tore through an archive housing treasured audio recordings, amounting to what the piece described as “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.”
The fire started in the early hours of June 1, 2008.
Overnight, maintenance workers had used blowtorches to repair the roof of a building on the set of New England Street, a group of colonial-style buildings used in scenes for movies and television shows. The workers followed protocol and waited for the shingles they worked on to cool, but the fire broke out soon after they left, just before 5 a.m.
The flames eventually reached Building 6197, known as the video vault, which housed videotapes, film reels and, crucially, a library of master sound recordings owned by Universal Music Group.