R.E.M. Master Recordings Fire - 2008

In 2008 a Universal Music warehouse caught on fire and master recordings from R.E.M. and others were destroyed.

  1. Any idea which R.E.M. master recordings were destroyed?
  2. Any impact on R.E.M. 25 year re-issues?


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None of them were absolute originals, and no. They have masters in other places too.


Per Chris Hartstonge of the R.E.M. Timeline, all of R.E.M.'s master recordings from I.R.S. and Warner Brothers are in safe keeping in Athens. Since the Warners portion of the catalog was acquired by Concord Chris has served as a guide on the 25th anniversary and archival releases. As such, he has access to what they have in their archives, including track notes from recording sessions. He was once a member of Murmurs but I have no idea he has plans to rejoin. If and when he does, he is the go to for these type of questions. I would imagine Ethan would know as well. If you’d like an answer straight from the horse’s mouth you can contact Chris through the R.E.M. Timeline website. If you scroll down to the very bottom of the page his name is highlighted in red. That is the hyperlink to contact him via email.


Thanks Ethan and Nate!