Metallica Buys Vinyl Pressing Plant to Keep Up With Demand – Billboard


Metallica has all the time had a powerful unbiased streak for a band that spent its adolescence on a significant label. Now, a decade after getting the rights again to their largest albums, the band is shopping for Furnace Report Urgent, a plant in Alexandria, Va., to serve its vinyl enterprise, which has grown by conserving catalog albums in print and releasing bold field units geared toward its legions of hardcore followers.

For a decade, Furnace has pressed data for the band, which has a status for releasing high-quality vinyl. At a time of supply-chain points and manufacturing delays, the plant helped the group hold most of its albums out there, plus a rising variety of bold field units. (Its most up-to-date “black album” field set features a double LP of the album, three reside LPs, 14 CDs and 6 DVDs.) Final yr, the group pressed greater than 902,500 items of vinyl for greater than 620,000 packages, in response to administration, not all of that are made at Furnace. The band sells roughly half of those within the U.S.

“We couldn’t be extra comfortable to take our partnership with Furnace,” and its founders “to the subsequent stage,” stated Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich in an announcement. James Hetfield, the singer-guitarist who co-founded the band with Ulrich, stated that the plant had been “nice to Metallica and extra importantly to our followers,” and that the acquisition would be certain that potential vinyl patrons “could have continued entry to top quality data sooner or later.”

These followers are already shopping for a great deal of vinyl. In 2022 and 2021, Metallica rated among the many best-selling acts on vinyl within the U.S., in response to Luminate – No. 6 in 2022, with 387,000 albums bought and No. 7 in 2021 with 337,000 bought. That’s particularly exceptional for a model that hasn’t launched a brand new album since 2016. (In 2022, the group’s hottest launch was Grasp of Puppets, which bought 91,000, adopted by “the black album” and Experience the Lightning.) In most years, the U.S. accounts for roughly half of the group’s vinyl gross sales worldwide.

“Metallica over-indexes dramatically with bodily product,” says Marc Reiter, who helps run Blackened Recordings, the band’s label. “The followers get pleasure from proudly owning the bodily product.”

Though the band hasn’t launched a brand new album since 2016 – a brand new album, 72 Seasons, comes out April 14 – the band has stored its catalog in shops whereas additionally releasing field units. Its relationship with furnace, which matches again virtually a decade, has been a part of that.

“The catalog is all the time being pressed,” says Brant Weil, head of selling at Q Prime, the band’s administration firm. A few years after the band obtained again the rights to its older albums, its administration crew realized that it wanted a gentle provide of vinyl that might reside as much as the bandmembers’ excessive requirements.

Furnace, which then additionally brokered vinyl urgent capability at different crops, organized a cope with Pallas, a German urgent plant with a status for high-quality work, and Q Prime was in a position to prepare to primarily lease its personal presses there. “We by no means wish to be out of inventory on Metallica vinyl,” Weil says. “I didn’t need our launch plans to be dictated by manufacturing timelines.”

At that time, “any vinyl shortages ceased to be,” Reiter says. Ultimately, as Furnace began urgent extra data itself, they began urgent extra for Metallica as properly.

Progressively, the 2 corporations grew shut. “We checked out them as extra of a accomplice than a consumer,” says Furnace discovered CEO Eric Astor. (Because it occurs, the primary report Furnace labored on was the 2008 re-release of “the black album” as an audiophile version.) Furnace, like Pallas, has a status for doing high quality work at a time when some urgent crops have sacrificed high quality for output. “We’d moderately throw out some unhealthy data than make as many as we are able to,” says Furnace COO Ali Miller. (Discarding some vinyl is a think about high quality management.) Furnace has been urgent copies of the band’s forthcoming album, 72 Seasons, since January.

Furnace is not going to change a lot, Astor says, and plans name for the plant to maintain engaged on different initiatives, in addition to ones for Metallica. “They wish to hold the standard and repair the entire business,” Astor says. “It would give us the chance to speculate extra.”

The hope is that Furnace can develop – as a accomplice to the band, in addition to an funding the group and its crew have come to know properly. “They’ve the identical indie spirit we have now,” Reiter says, “they usually like doing issues the appropriate approach, which can be the Metallica approach.”

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