The advent of digital technology was supposed to preserve content, including multitrack master recordings for songs and albums, forever. But when record labels have gone into their vaults to work with masters, they sometimes find that the recordings are just … gone.
“That’s the problem with digital,” says Steve Webbon, head archivist of the Beggars Group, who faced that problem when he tried to reworkthe Cult’s 1985 album Love. “When it goes, it’s just blank.”
To find out more about the failures of digital as a storage medium — and which artists have lost recordings because of it — read David Browne’s “File Not Found: The Record Industry’s Digital Storage Crisis.”