Metallica have purchased a majority stake in a vinyl pressing plant in Virginia.
Furnace Record Pressing in Alexandria, Virginia is one of the largest pressing plants in the United States, with 12 Pheenix Alpha presses and two Finebilt presses.
In the past, it has pressed a host of reissues for Metallica, including box set vinyl of their albums ‘Kill ‘Em All’, ‘Ride The Lightning’ and ‘Master Of Puppets’.
The band are now majority partners in the plant, which was founded in 1996 by Eric Astor. In a statement, Astor said: “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.”
Metallica’s Lars Ulrich said: “We couldn’t be more happy to take our partnership with Furnace — and Eric, Ali and Mark specifically — to the next level. Their indie spirit, the passion they have for their craft… culturally we’re kindred souls.”
James Hetfield added: “Furnace has been great to Metallica and more importantly to our fans. This deepened relationship between Metallica and Furnace ensures that fans of vinyl everywhere, particularly our Fifth Members, will have continued access to high quality records in the future.”
It was revealed at the start of 2023 that vinyl outsold CD for first time in 35 years last year. Overall music sales increased by three per cent in 2022 to almost £2billion, which is the highest figure since 2003 and nearly double the level of their low point in 2013.
The US also saw its biggest week for vinyl since 1991 at the end of last year, selling 2.2million vinyl albums in the week ending December 22.
2022 also saw Jack White share a video and written an open letter to major record labels, urging them to build their own vinyl pressing plants.
The White Stripes frontman owns the Nashville-based Third Man Records, who have their own pressing plant and opened a new London store in 2021. His letter comes after the vinyl industry has experienced huge delays due to COVID, meaning many smaller artists have been forced to delay album releases due to wait times at pressing plants.
In the UK, a new vinyl pressing plant – Press On Vinyl – opened in Middlesbrough in 2022.