Metal band Metallica said today that it has acquired a majority interest in a record pressing plant in Virginia.
Furnace Record Pressing in Alexandria confirmed the sale, formalizing “a long-standing relationship between the band and Furnace that has produced more than five million pieces of Metallica vinyl since 2014.”
Interestingly, Metallica cited acquiring the “capacity to meet the massive demand for Metallica vinyl” as a key rationale behind their investment. Over the last five years, artists have frequently faced delays — sometimes nearly as long as a year — in producing vinyl, though it’s usually top-selling artists like Metallica that receive priority anyway. By acquiring their own in-house vinyl pressing plant, Metallica has secured what’s become a vital revenue stream for many musicians but particularly those of Metallica’s era whose classic records still form the core of the so-called “vinyl boom.”
Furnace isn’t the first musician-owned plant out there in the United States. Jack White’s Third Man Pressing opened in a former parking garage in Detroit in 2017.
Furnace was founded in 1996 by CEO Eric Astor and boasts 12 Pheenix Alpha presses and two Finebilt presses that make it “one of the largest pressing companies in the US,” according to today’s release by the company.
“Building Furnace into the dedicated and experienced family of experts that it is today has been a huge effort, but immensely gratifying” Eric Astor, founder of Furnace, said in the release announcing the sale. “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.” Ali Miller, Chief Operating Officer of Furnace, added, “We have found ideal partners in Metallica. They want us to continue our customer driven focus. To that end we look forward to providing even greater capacity and service to each of our customers in the future.”
“We couldn’t be more happy to take our partnership with Furnace — and Eric, Ali and Mark specifically — to the next level,” said Lars Ulrich, co-founder of Metallica. “Their indie spirit, the passion they have for their craft… culturally we’re kindred souls.” James Hetfield, co-founder of Metallica, 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.”