Metallica Is Selling so Many Vinyl Records It Had to Buy Its Own Factory

Metallica Is Selling so Many Vinyl Records It Had to Buy Its Own Factory

Metallica has bought a majority stake in Furnace Record Pressing, one of the biggest and most important vinyl records companies in the U.S. If anyone had any doubts about the growth of the vinyl sales, which last year outpaced CD sales for the first time since 1987, Metallica’s new purchase just gave them a very loud reminder that what’s old is new again.

Vinyl records are experiencing a renaissance among music lovers. Although Metallica hasn’t released a new album since Hardwired…To Self-Destruct in 2016, it sold more than 387,000 vinyl albums in 2022, according to data from Billboard. That year, it ranked sixth on the list of most albums sold in the U.S., topping the 337,000 albums it sold in 2021. The price Metallica paid for Furnace was not disclosed; members of the band will now sit on Furnace’s board.

Metallica is expected to release its first album in seven years sometime over the next few weeks, setting the stage for the band to sell to many, many more vinyl records in 2023.

The metal band has been working with Furnace Record, which was founded in Virginia in 1996, for years. As reported by Variety, the record pressing company has produced more than five million of Metallica’s albums since 2014, including deluxe boxed set versions of many classic and legendary albums, such as Kill ’Em All and Ride the Lightning. It’s likely that the most recent season of Stranger Things also played a big role in sales, inspiring many a fan to want their own vinyl version of Master of Puppets.

All of this, as well as the state of the music market, seems to have incentived the band to invest in Furnace. About 900,000 vinyl records from Metallica’s extensive catalogue were produced in 2022, and that number will likely increase with the band’s new investment. In the words of James Hetfield, the band’s lead singer and guitarist, the goal is for fans to “have continued access to high quality records in the future.”

According to recent report from the Recording Industry Association of America, in 2022 there were more sales of vinyl records than CDs for the first time in three decades (41 million vinyl records versus 33 million CDs.) But the numbers are even more surprising if we zoom in on the expansion of the vinyl record market, which hasn’t stopped growing over the last 16 consecutive years. In just 2022, according to the report, profits from vinyl record sales increased by 17% to $US1.2 billion.

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