Tom Petty’s ex, Soundgarden and more file first suit over UMG master recordings fire

Erika Goldring/WireImageTwo weeks after Universal Music Group revealed a devastating storage facility fire in 2008 had destroyed thousands of irreplaceable master tapes from hundreds of musicians, we've got our first lawsuit.

The late Tom Petty's ex-wife, Jane Petty, along with Soundgarden, Hole, Americana singer/songwriter Steve Earle and the estate of the late Tupac Shakur are all plaintiffs in the suit, filed Friday in federal court in Los Angeles. 

The suit makes several accusations against UMG, not the least of which is failing to disclose to the affected artists until two weeks ago that the 2008 fire had destroyed their master recordings.  It also declares UMG received an insurance settlement of $150 million, which they failed to disclose or share with the affected artists, and accuses the music giant of failing to take necessary steps to prevent the fire in the first place.

The plaintiffs are asking for monetary damages of more than $100 million.

Master recordings are the original recordings from which copies are made to sell and distribute.  Over half a century's worth of masters were lost in the UMG fire from artists including Ray Charles, Nirvana, The Eagles, Elton John, The Police, Guns N' Roses, Ella Fitzgerald, Nine Inch Nails, Miles Davis and many others.

Friday's lawsuit is the first of many lawsuits expected to be filed in the wake of UMG's admission.

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