Metallica have bought a vinyl pressing plant to help ensure demand for their records can be met.
The heavy metal quartet have acquired a majority interest in Virginia-based Furnace Record Pressing, a leading provider of high-quality vinyl that has worked with the band for around 15 years.
Their purchase comes ahead of their forthcoming eleventh studio album ‘72 Seasons’, set for release on 14 April, and aims to bypass some of the supply and manufacturing issues other bands have faced when it comes to selling vinyl.
In January, for instance, You Me At Six announced they were pushing back the release of their ‘Truth Decay’ album by two weeks, due to vinyl production issues.
Metallica are one of the best-selling acts on vinyl in the world; in the US, they ranked sixth in 2022, with 387,000 albums sold, and seventh in 2021 with 337,000 records sold in vinyl format.
Furnace, which was founded in 1996 by Eric Astor, have produced more than five million Metallica records on vinyl since 2014, and have worked with the band to produce such projects as the definitive deluxe box-set editions for ‘Kill ‘Em All’, ‘Ride The Lightning’, ‘Master Of Puppets,’ and ‘…And Justice For All’, among others.
Metallica’s move comes during an ever-growing wave of popularity for vinyl, with sales of the format having grown for 16 consecutive years. Last year, revenue from vinyl in the US was up 17% to $1.2 billion (£980 million), according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), accounting for 71% of physical format revenues.
The popularity of vinyl, in fact, saw it outstrip the sale of CDs earlier this year for the first time since 1987, by 41 million to 33 million.
Metallica’s acquisition now aims to ensure the band can keep up with fan’s demands, with drummer Lars Ulrich saying: “We couldn’t be more happy to take our partnership with Furnace… to the next level.”
James Hetfield, the lead vocalist and guitarist, meanwhile, praised the Furnace Pressing as being “great to Metallica and more importantly to our fans,” and said the purchase would ensure that vinyl buyers “will have continued access to high quality records in the future.”
The plant’s founder Astor had complimentary words of his own, saying:
“Building Furnace into the dedicated and experienced family of experts that it is today has been a huge effort, but immensely gratifying.
“Knowing our long-term future is secured while also being better able to take advantage of growth opportunities is really exciting for every member of the Furnace staff.”