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A California-based production plant that supplies the lacquer formula used for making master vinyl discs has been destroyed by fire, casting fears about vinyl record production worldwide.
The fire broke out in the early hours of February 6, engulfing the entire 15,000 square foot building that housed Apollo Masters Corp.
“It is with great sadness we report the Apollo Masters manufacturing and storage facility had a devastating fire and suffered catastrophic damage,” the company confirmed via a statement on their website.
“We are uncertain of our future at this point and are evaluating options as we try to work through this difficult time.”
While employees were inside the building when the fire broke out, they all escaped unharmed.
Along with MDC in Japan, Apollo Masters is one of only two plants in the world that manufacture lacquers.
Industry professionals are predicting tough times ahead for global vinyl production after the loss of Apollo Masters.
Disaster for the vinyl pressing industry. Apollo Masters has burned to the ground. There will be a lacquer shortage and possibly plants having to close or scale back operations for a while. Very distressing news #vinylpressing #vinyl #lacquers https://t.co/HNWFQxDsFg— duplication.ca Analogue Media (@duplicationca) February 7, 2020
“From my understanding, this fire will present a problem for the vinyl industry worldwide,” Ben Blackwell, co-founder of Third Man Records told Pitchfork.
Blackwell expressed that the Apollo Masters and MDC were already having trouble keeping up with demand for vinyl as population has exploded recently.
In 2019, ARIA predicted that vinyl sales will be work more to the Australian music industry than CDs in 2020, with revenue expected to tip over $40 million.
26% of all physical albums sold in the US last year were vinyl.
In a statement to Billboard, Capsule Labs vinyl pressing plant founder Gil Tamazyan estimated that Apollo supplied 80% of blank lacquer discs globally.
"Unless something happens really quickly, there will soon be Vinylgeddon," said Tamazyan.
Explore ABC Music's catalogue of vinyl records here.
It’s estimated upwards of 10,000 Aboriginal remains are held in museums around the world.