California Vinyl Production Plant Fire Could Mean ‘Disaster’ for Record Production
Bad news for vinyl lovers: A recent massive fire at a California plant could spell disaster for vinyl production as a whole.
Apollo Masters Corp., based in Banning, Calif., is one of only two plants in the world responsible for supplying a lacquer required to create the master recordings from which vinyl records are pressed. Per Billboard, a Friday morning (Feb. 7) fire destroyed Apollo Masters' entire building; thankfully, all of the employees who were on site when the fire broke out were unharmed.
"It is with great sadness we report the Apollo Masters manufacturing and storage facility had a devastating fire and suffered catastrophic damage. The best news is all of our employees are safe. We are uncertain of our future at this point and are evaluating options as we try to work through this difficult time," says a statement on the Apollo Masters website. "Thank you for all of the support over the years and the notes of encouragement and support we have received from you all.”
The only other plant that produces the lacquer necessary to create vinyl masters is Japan's MDC. Without Apollo Masters' supply of lacquer -- which Gil Tamazyan of Capsule Labs, a California-based vinyl pressing plant, estimates to Billboard to be about 80 percent of the lacquer used globally -- there might not be enough to meet production demands.
"[The Apollo Masters fire] will cause a hindrance in some major way. Unless something happens really quickly, there will soon be Vinylgeddon," Tamazyan explains, adding that, to fix the problem, Apollo will need to rebuild and rebound; MDC will need to expand; or a new company will need to take over for Apollo. However, he adds, MDC was "already having a hard time keeping up with the demand" even before the fire.
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