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There were also stories of tapes being needed for early CD reissue and the only 
versions that could be found were 3rd generation safeties or copies used for 
issue in countries like Germany. Foreign masters were also dumped..I was buying 
used RCA tape at a surplus outlet on Queen Street in Toronto in the late 70s, 
and these were old RCA masters that had been bulk erased.

And there was that story a couple of years ago about tons of tapes, apparently 
CBS (Columbia), turning up in someone else's possession and containing tons of 
unissued stuff. And Atlantic had a fire in the early 50s (and Universal had a 
fire just a few months ago).

dl

Roger and Allison Kulp wrote:
> The stories of what happened to the 60s Zappa/mothers tapes,and the Bob Marley 1977 "bedroom" tapes http://www.reggae.com/features/rojah/rojah1.htm are legendary.The tapes literally flake apart and fall to pieces.
> 
> Interesting article,http://mixguides.com/consoles/tips_and_techniques/framton-alive-surround-1200/  it specifically talks about remastering "Frampton Comes Alive",but there's a lot more.Here's an excerpt:
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> 5.1 FORENSICS
> Surround Audio Might Require Some Detective Work—And Having a Good Lawyer's Not a Bad Idea, Either
> By Dan Daley
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> As the major labels gear up to feed the
> consumer pipeline with DVD-A product, most will discover that there are
> often major hidden pitfalls when it comes to reformatting archival
> material. After sitting in a vault for two decades, many so-called
> master tapes are in poor physical condition, and if the tapes have been
> improperly stored or cataloged, then anything from a guitar solo to an
> entire reel of tape can go missing.
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> MANAGING THE MUSIC
> "The problem in
> the music business is that 25 years ago, no one had any concept about
> the future uses of the recordings," observes Blaine Graboyes, founder
> and creative director of Zuma Digital. The multimedia authoring and
> audio facility in New York City has been doing 5.1 remixes for a range
> of media, including film, television, advertising and music videos.
> "Now you pull a tape out—if you can find it—and you find five takes of
> the same song. They all sound the same to you; only one is the approved
> version, and the engineer's been dead for 20 years," Graboyes explains.
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> Graboyes applies terms picked up from Zuma's
> corporate clients to describe the problems that the music industry
> faces as DVD-Audio attempts the transition from a novelty to a
> mass-market product. "The biggest issue in doing any kind of
> repurposing of previously used creative elements is `knowledge
> management'—the ability to know where all the assets of a project are
> and how to retrieve them," he says. "And the absolute biggest problem
> that surround music faces on a day-to-day basis is missing assets, from
> pieces of recordings to the media itself. The second biggest problem is
> missing records of the asset. That is, the documentation that tells you
> things like how to use the asset, which pieces the artists intended to
> be used and which were not, and where to find the right pieces on the
> media. Without either of those things, you're not going to be
> completely successful in repurposing them for new media."
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> The stories of tapes moldering away forgotten
> in broom closets, dumped in the trash or auctioned off for a few
> dollars when studios and record labels close down are legion in the
> entertainment business. Proper archiving and record-keeping of the
> music media has been almost nonexistent. And that's compounded,
> Graboyes adds, by the fact that the entertainment industry, in general,
> is a transient one. "The turnover rate in the music and film businesses
> is incredibly high," he says. "One of our clients has had four
> different assistants, all of whom get up to speed on where things are
> and then leave, and the next person has to start all over again." 
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> It's not just the golden oldies that are
> missing the most in music. Even relatively recent recordings show up
> with missing pieces, slowing down or completely halting the remixing
> process. Jake Nicely, co-owner of Seventeen Grand Recording in
> Nashville and one of the leading multichannel remixers in the music
> industry, was contracted this year to do a DVD-Video multichannel remix
> of a live album by the country group Alabama. Though the record was
> originally released in stereo in 1998 on RCA Records, pieces of the
> master recording quickly went missing, and Nicely had to turn to
> gumshoe detective techniques to get the project moving.
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> 
> --- On Wed, 8/27/08, Charles Lawson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> From: Charles Lawson <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] ELP Turntable  (Re(2): [ARSCLIST] RIAA EQ software)
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2008, 12:09 PM
> 
> "Michael H. Gray" <[log in to unmask]> writes:
>> I'm curious to know how master tapes 'deteriorate' Is it in the
> physical 
>> carrier or in the magnetic signal?
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> Both.  Depending on tape stock, materials and storage, the tape itself may
> degenerate over time causing drop-outs or worse.  (There have been many
> extensive discussions of the hydrolysis problem associated with tapes from
> the 70s and 80s, for example.)
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> Also, magnetic tape recording itself is inherently unstable.  Those
> magnetic domains don't just sit there for all eternity in the same
> configuration as when they were recorded.  They are easily influenced by
> temperature and external magnetic fields (including that of Earth itself)
> and will tend to randomize over time.  If the tape was recorded at a high
> level, layers of audio will print through from one to another and this
> problem tends to get worse the longer the tape is sitting there. 
> High-level recordings also have a greater tendency to exhibit increasing
> distortion over time.
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> It goes on an on...
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> Some references here:
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> http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub54/2what_wrong.html
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> http://www.sonicraft.com/guide.html
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> and there are lots more.
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> People like Richard Hess have spent substantial chunks of their lives
> dealing with these issues and can give more detailed explanations than I
> have time for today, alas.  It's all very interesting and can take down to
> quantum mechanics, if you like!  (Aside from being an expert, Richard is
> also a really nice guy!  If you need a tape transferred, go to him.)
> 
> --
> Charles Lawson <[log in to unmask]>
> Professional Audio for CD, DVD, Broadcast & Internet
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