Over the years of reading magazine articles and websites I've come across references to lost or damaged original master tapes at record companies. In fact, I've read this so often that it seemed to be commonplace, rather than a rarity. For example, on King Crimson's wikipedia entry we read about the fate of In the Court of the Crimson King, "The stereo master tapes were finally rediscovered in the archives of Virgin Records in 2003 after they had been misplaced for over 30 years." So, for actual tapes (rather than digitized data) can you clue me in? How is it that record companies lose their master tapes? After all, aren't these the crown jewels, their core intellectual property? Don't they document them and keep them in climate-controlled locked rooms? Don't they have a trail of signatures to document who handled them? What kind of storage are they using if tapes can easily be damaged? As a Silicon Valley engineer I can confidently state that any high tech firm, large or small, will have a well thought out and serious way of keeping track of its intellectual property, whether it is software, hardware designs, or anything else. Document control and version control is serious business in the world of high tech. It's really surprising to hear that the recording industry, whose business is based upon information, has been so sloppy. Any thoughts?