Metallica have bought their own vinyl pressing plant.
The band has acquired the majority interest in Furnace Record Pressing in Alexandria, Virginia. This comes after Metallica pressed over 900,000 pieces of vinyl in 2022, mostly at Furnace.
The pressing plant has been vital to the band’s catalog remaining in print over the past few years and especially during the pandemic, when supply chain issues created delays and backlogged pressings for most artists. Since 2014, Furnace has pressed over 5 million pieces of wax for Metallica, including collections such as the massive “Black Album” 30th anniversary box set.
“We couldn’t be more happy to take our partnership with Furnace … to the next level,” said Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich in a statement. “Their indie spirit, the passion they have for their craft… culturally we’re kindred souls.”
Added frontman James Hetfield: “[Furnace has been] great to Metallica and more importantly to our fans … [who] will have continued access to high quality records in the future.”
In an age dominated by digital streaming, Metallica’s fanbase has remained committed to purchasing the band’s music on physical formats. Metallica ranked sixth in vinyl sales in 2022 (387,000 units) and seventh in 2021 (337,000), according to Luminate. Those numbers are comprised mostly of back-catalog reissues of classic Metallica albums, with Master of Puppets leading the way with 91,000 units sold in 2022.
“Metallica over-indexes dramatically with physical product,” said Marc Reiter of Blackened Recordings, the band’s label (via Billboard). “The fans enjoy owning the physical product.”
According to Billboard, daily operations at Furnace will remain mostly unchanged (it’s been pressing copies of Metallica’s forthcoming album 72 Seasons since January), while other projects are still lined up alongside the constant flow of Metallica pressings.
“The catalog is always being pressed,” said Brant Weil, head of marketing at the band’s management company Q Prime. “We never want to be out of stock on Metallica vinyl. I didn’t want our release plans to be dictated by manufacturing timelines.”
Fellow vinyl enthusiast Jack White praised Metallica, writing on Instagram (below), “Huge congratulations to the boys in Metallica for purchasing their own vinyl record pressing plant!!! Metallica announced it bought the Furnace record pressing plant in Virginia today! Welcome to the cause gents! And thank you for putting your money to amazing creative use! Here’s hoping the major labels will also see this as further proof, and finally start investing in themselves. Outstanding.”
Metallica responded in the comments, “Thank you, Jack! So unbelievable and grateful to be able to do this after all these years. Who would’ve thought that this was even possible back in the day?! You have pioneered all of this, and we’re psyched to follow in your footsteps!”
You can pre-order 72 Seasons on vinyl here. And if you want to see Metallica in person, you can pick up tickets to their upcoming 2023-2024 world tour here.