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YouTube and UMG Remaster Classic Videos from Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Janet Jackson, and More

Universal Music Group and YouTube Music to Remaster Videos by Nirvana, Beastie Boys, and Tom Petty

YouTube Music and Universal Music Group partnered to remaster classic music videos from the likes of the Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Janet Jackson, and Lady Gaga, New York Times reports. The Beastie Boys’ video “Sabotage” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” are among the first videos to be given an HD makeover. YouTube Music and UMG plan to remaster around 1,000 videos over the next year.

Many older videos, like the six Billy Idol videos which underwent restoration, were made to be displayed on outdated formats and often appear grainy or muted when viewed on contemporary high definition devices. “We have sources coming from everything from original film to Digibeta, HDCAM to one-inch Cs and Betacam SPs to D2s—and the format it was shot in isn’t necessarily the format it was edited in,” Universal executive vice president of content strategy Barak Moffitt told the Times. After seeing an upgraded version of his 1983 “White Wedding” video, Idol was impressed, telling the Times: “Once that dirty coloring is removed, it’s a lot more vital somehow. It gives these videos a chance against the modern high-quality definition. And I’m forever that age in these videos — it’s kind of fantastic.”

Universal Music Group could certainly use a win right now after a shocking New York Times report last week detailed how the company allegedly covered up the loss of hundreds of thousands of original recordings from legendary artists in a 2008 fire. Nirvana, Janet Jackson, and Tom Petty are some of the artists in the video remastering project who likely lost their master recordings in the fire.

HD versions of the Beastie Boys ’70s cop show sendup clip “Sabotage” and Nirvana’s breakout “Smells Like Teen Spirit” are among the upgraded clips currently available on YouTube. You can watch them both below: