YouTube has now made available more than 100 music videos from Universal in the highest available video and audio quality, including titles from Billy Idol, Beastie Boys, Boyz II Men, George Strait, Janet Jackson, Kiss, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, Lionel Richie, Maroon 5, Meat Loaf, No Doubt/Gwen Stefani, Smokey Robinson, The Killers, Tom Petty and more.
YouTube and Universal Music Group are committed to fully upgrading nearly 1,000 music videos, remastering some of the most important works in the history of the format to the highest possible standards. Each week over the next year, more titles will be added, with all 1,000 titles expected to be available before the end of 2020.
“It’s really an honor to partner with Universal Music Group and change the way fans around the globe will experience viewing some of the most classic and iconic videos. The quality is truly stunning,” said Stephen Bryan, Global Head of Label Relations at YouTube.
“It’s our goal to ensure that today’s music videos — true works of art — meet the high quality standards that artists’ works deserve and today’s music fans expect.”
For years, some of the greatest music videos in YouTube’s catalog have been available only in the outdated standards originally intended for tube televisions with mono speakers. The new videos will seamlessly replace the original versions on both YouTube and within YouTube Music, while retaining the same url, view-counts and “likes.”
Michael Nash, Executive Vice President of Digital Strategy at UMG, said, “We’re excited to partner with YouTube to present these iconic music videos in the highest audio and video quality possible. Our recording artists and video directors imbued these videos with so much creativity; it’s great to enable the full experience of their vision and music. These videos not only look amazing on any screen now, they will be enjoyed by music fans for decades to come.”
The news of the upgrading comes on the heels of a story The New York Times broke – A fire which took place on June 1, 2008 on the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood, destroyed “almost all of the master recordings stored in the vault … including those produced by some of the most famous musicians since the 1940s, [likely including] masters by Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland; as well as some of Chuck Berry’s greatest recordings, the masters of some of Aretha Franklin’s first appearances on record, almost of all of Buddy Holly’s masters and John Coltrane’s masters in the Impulse Records collection. Also lost were recordings by Ray Charles, B.B. King, the Four Tops, Joan Baez, Neil Diamond, Sonny and Cher, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Al Green, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles, Aerosmith, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Barry White, Patti LaBelle, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Police, Sting, Steve Earle, R.E.M., Janet Jackson, Guns N’ Roses, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, Snoop Dogg, Nirvana, Beck, Sheryl Crow, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, 50 Cent and the Roots.”