Copyright rapper Tupac or rocker Tom Petty joined a group complaint filed against Universal Music Group, allegedly deliberately hiding the scale of a fire that destroyed 500,000 original recordings in 2008.
The plaintiffs claim at least $ 100 million in damages to the world's largest music company in its lawsuit filed shortly before the weekend in a federal court in Los Angeles.
This is the first legal action since the New York Times revealed the extensive damage caused by the incident, which occurred on June 1, 2008 at Universal's Hollywood facility.
The complaint was lodged by three law firms that also represent the interests of the Soundgarden group, the Hole formation founded by Courtney Love, or the folk singer Steve Earle.
"UMG has kept original recordings incorporating the claimants' musical work into a deposit that is neither tailored nor standard," according to the complaint.
Universal Music then "concealed the losses with false public statements," at the same time as it entered into a confidential agreement with its other subsidiary, Universal Studios, according to this document.
Among the recordings that came up in the smoke were works, sometimes unique, by legendary stars like Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny and Cher, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Janet Jackson or Nirvana.
"I will be clear: we owe transparency to our artists," wrote Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group, in a memorandum published by the specialized Music Business Worldwide.
A subsidiary of Vivendi based in Santa Monica, near Los Angeles, California, Universal Music Group is considered one of the three giants of the music world, with Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group.
But UMG's market share is almost double that of Sony, thanks to heavyweights like Ariana Grande and Drake, as well as a colossal catalog of missing artists such as Frank Sinatra or Queen.
Vivendi is seeking to sell 50 percent of UMG and does not intend to give up, CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine told Variety. The fire "occurred eleven years ago and the headlines are just noise," he said.