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The plaintiffs are seeking “compensatory damages in an amount in excess of 0 million.”Universal declined to comment on the lawsuit on Friday.
Earlier in the week, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, the chief executive and chairman of UMG’s corporate parent, the French media conglomerate Vivendi, waved aside concerns that revelations of the fire would impact Vivendi’s plans to sell up to 50 percent of the record company, whose value was recently estimated at billion.
The suit, which seeks class-action status, accuses UMG of breaching its contracts with artists by failing to protect their recordings and by failing to share any income received in insurance payments and legal settlements from the fire.“No one knows for sure yet, specifically what is gone from their estate, their catalog,” she told me in an email.“But for once in a horrible way people believe me about the state of the music business which I would not wish on my worst enemy.But he remained baffled about the disappearance of so much material: “I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that I couldn’t find anything at Universal that had been published to do with my association with A&M records in the 1980s.If you were doing an archaeological dig there, you would have concluded that it was almost as if none of it had ever happened.”Two weeks ago, another explanation emerged, when Adams read “The Day the Music Burned,” a New York Times Magazine article detailing the destruction of recordings in a fire at a vault facility on the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood, where UMG stored original masters and other recordings dating from the 1940s up to the 2000s.
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One of the artists on those lists is Bryan Adams, who said that he first learned about the fire when he read the Times Magazine piece.