June 25

Steve Earle Joins the Tupac Shakur Estate and more in Lawsuit

Steve Earle joins the Tupac Shakur Estate, Soundgarden, Tom Petty‘s ex-wife Jane Petty, and Hole to bring a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group over a fire that happened a decade ago that destroyed an estimated 500 master tapes from some of music’s biggest names.

Steve Earle, Steve, Earle, Country, Country Music, Fire, Devastation, music, history, music history
via Steve Earle’s Official Facebook Page

The Fire That Destroyed History

In an exposé released by the New York Times, it was revealed that the 2008 Universal Studios fire lost more than what was publicly reported, and this included irreplaceable master tapes and records from some of the country’s biggest names.

Steve Earle, Steve, Earle, Country, Country Music, Fire, Devastation, music, history, music history
via Juan Guerra/Associated Press/ The New York Times

A wide range of momentous music was lost, from Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters to Judy Garland, and The Carpenters. It was also recorded that country artists such as Patsy ClineKitty WellsLoretta LynnGeorge Strait, George Jones, and Merle Haggard are also among the artists who had materials that were burned down together with the buildings in the disaster.

Steve Earle Joins the Fight

The lawsuit was filed ten days after the investigative piece was released by The Times. And, it alleges that UMG failed to share an estimated $350 million in litigation and insurance claims with the affected recording artists. The complaint read as follows:

“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.”

– quote via Billboard

The lawsuit also details that there was a “systematic and fraudulent scheme of misrepresentation and misdirection” that was done by UMG over the years in order to hide the actual extent of the damaged caused by the fire.

Steve Earle, Steve, Earle, Country, Country Music, Fire, Devastation, music, history, music history
via Universal Music Group’s Official Facebook Page

Universal Music Group has declined to comment about the new lawsuit but has already disputed the claims of the Times and the severity of the damage that it reported. UMG claims that the article “contains numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings of the scope of the incident and affected assets.”


George Jones, George Strait, kitty wells, Loretta Lynn, merle haggard, Patsy Cline, Steve Earl, Tupac, UMG

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