A jaw-dropping new report from the New York Times more closely reveals the true extent of the loss hundreds of artists suffered in a fire that swept the Universal backlot in Hollywood in 2008. More than 800 artists from across all genres lost irreplaceable master recordings, including dozens and dozens of top country artists.

Reba McEntire, George Strait, Glen Campbell, the Eagles, Steve Earle, Toby Keith, the Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton and dozens more are among the country artists whose masters were consumed in the blaze, which, according to a prior report from the Times, UMG tried to cover up for more than a decade.

According to the original report, Universal initially claimed the damage was "relatively minor," but internal documents published by the Times dispute that account. "The West Coast Vault perished, in its entirety. Lost in the fire was, undoubtedly, a huge musical heritage," a memo written in March of 2009 states.

Many of the artists whose work had been affected did not even know that their masters were gone until the report emerged.

The Times' follow-up reveals that Universal itself may never be able to determine the full extent of the loss, due to "slapdash inventory practices." While the label knew which labels' and which artists' tapes were stored in the vault, the "knowledge got fuzzier" when it came to albums and songs, particularly when it comes to outtakes, demos and unreleased recordings.

Steve Earle and several other parties have filed a class action lawsuit against Universal, claiming that the company not only misrepresented the damage from the fire, but that it also failed to share $150 million in settlements and insurance claims it received afterward with the artists whose catalogs and estates were affected.

The filing alleges a "systematic and fraudulent scheme of misrepresentation and misdirection" on the part of Universal to cover up the fire and settlements, and the artists are also claiming negligence in handling and storing their masters. The lawsuit is expected to extend to include hundreds of artists.

Country Artists Whose Masters Were Affected by the 2008 UMG Fire:

Rhett Atkins
Gary Allan
Bill Anderson
John Anderson
Asleep at the Wheel
Hoyt Axton
Owen Bradley Quintet
Glen Campbell
The Carter Family
Mark Chesnutt
Roy Clark
Patsy Cline
Sheryl Crow
Rodney Crowell
Mac Davis
Roy Drusky
The Eagles
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Don Everly
Donna Fargo
Freddie Fender
Red Foley
Glenn Frey
Lefty Frizzell
Hank Garland
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers
Tompall Glaser
Amy Grant
Jack Greene
Lee Greenwood
Patty Griffin
Nanci Griffith
Merle Haggard
George Hamilton IV
Freddie Hart
Don Henley
John Hiatt
Jan Howard
Jason & the Scorchers
George Jones
The Jordanaires
Toby Keith
Brenda Lee
Jerry Lee Lewis
Lone Justice
The Louvin Brothers
Patty Loveless
Lyle Lovett
Loretta Lynn
Barbara Mandrell
The Mavericks
Delbert McClinton
Reba McEntire
Roger Miller
Bill Monroe
Olivia Newton-John
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The Oak Ridge Boys
Dolly Parton
Webb Pierce
Marty Robbins
Jimmy Rodgers
Leon Russell
Dawn Sears
Jeannie Seely
Shel Silverstein
George Strait
Hank Thompson
Mel Tillis
Ernest Tubb
Tanya Tucker
Conway Twitty
Leroy Van Dyke
Porter Wagoner
Jerry Jeff Walker
Kitty Wells
Don Williams
Lee Ann Womack
Faron Young

The Nastiest Lawsuits in the History of Country Music:

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