Thread: The Day the Music Burned

IF - 6/11/2019 at 03:11 PM

The Day the Music Burned

It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business and almost nobody knew. This is the story of the 2008 Universal fire.


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/magazine/universal-fire-master-recording s.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage


BrerRabbit - 6/11/2019 at 05:16 PM

Good article. My takeaway is we are lucky to have had the archives for so long and backed up as much as we did, since it all goes away. Recorded media, especially magnetic tape, is ephemeral.

The article hyped the tragedy and cover-up but never mentioned the elephant in the room: life span of magnetic tape. Even under perfect conditions and best quality tape, tape deteriorates pretty fast. Searching around I found forty years the upper limit, for the best tape under optimal storage conditions. Fire in 2008, means everything before 1968 was going the way of the buffalo and needed to be transferred to fresh media a long time ago already. The Council on Library and Information recommends 10-20 years max before transfer from magnetic tape: https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub54/4life_expectancy


bobkaufman - 6/11/2019 at 08:01 PM

no idea this happened, thanks for posting


bird72 - 6/13/2019 at 05:30 AM

quote:
Good article. My takeaway is we are lucky to have had the archives for so long and backed up as much as we did, since it all goes away. Recorded media, especially magnetic tape, is ephemeral.

The article hyped the tragedy and cover-up but never mentioned the elephant in the room: life span of magnetic tape. Even under perfect conditions and best quality tape, tape deteriorates pretty fast. Searching around I found forty years the upper limit, for the best tape under optimal storage conditions. Fire in 2008, means everything before 1968 was going the way of the buffalo and needed to be transferred to fresh media a long time ago already. The Council on Library and Information recommends 10-20 years max before transfer from magnetic tape: https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub54/4life_expectancy


It depends on the type of tape. Maxell reel to reel from 70's has held up very well and many tape folk still reuse it. I have reels that are fine. Caveats: heat and humidity are enemies. So bad environments can kill any tape. Ampex is funny tape. They made some that held up well. I have a prerecorded Capricorn ABB Fillmore that sounds fantastic (Ampex). But most Ampex goes bad, regardless of storage. It will trash your machine when you try to use, with gunk, debris, tape disintegration. So, no it is not automatic tape will be bad after 40 years. But it can be. The good news is they are making new high grade R2R tape again, for commercial use, at a decent cost.

To OP topic, the loss is a shame.


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