where was the “vinyl rapture” before the “vinylgeddon”?

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WHILE THE PURPOSE OF THIS BLOG is to address the records that were released decades before most of the people who spend the most time on the internet were even born, I can look at a current topic every now and again. I suppose my fascination with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in not establishing some objective standards for eligibility and the equally obstinate Wikipedia in insisting on “sources” but not on hiring editors to fact-check those sources.

And now there’s this: The manufacturing and storage facility for Apollo Masters, which supplied approximately 80% of the blank lacquer master discs used for making master discs to record companies around the world, has burned down. The company supplied approximately 80 percent of the blank lacquer master discs used for making master discs to record companies around the world.

 

One of only two manufacturers of the lacquers necessary to create vinyl records suffered catastrophic damage in a fire.

 

The plant is located in Banning, California, which is eighty miles east of Los Angeles. Along with tiny MDC in Japan, Apollo Masters was one of only two manufacturers in the world that made the lacquers necessary to create vinyl records.

The fire occurred on February 7, 2020. A statement from the company called the blaze “devastating” and that the plant “suffered catastrophic damage.” While the statement claimed that no employees were harmed, it included, “We are uncertain of our future at this point.” (Apollo website)

As the market for new vinyl records has been growing regularly since the beginning of this century, this could be a serious blow to the ability of record companies to continue to meed the immediate need for 45s and LPs. The company’s founder, Gil Tamazyan, believes that the fire “will cause a hindrance in some major way. Unless something happens really quickly, there will soon be Vinylgeddon.”

 

Apollo fire lacquer machine 1000

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is an Apollo lacquer being cut at the mastering lab of Analogue Media Technologies / Duplication.CA (2020). This company tweeted that the Apollo fire was a “disaster for the vinyl pressing industry” and predicted “a lacquer shortage and possibly plants having to close or scale back operations for a while.”

 

4 thoughts on “where was the “vinyl rapture” before the “vinylgeddon”?”

  1. Yes, I have followed any updates on this since it was first announced. On aardvark mastering.com and News Channel 3: Sam Smith, G.M. of Apollo Masters said that “Without us, you’re not going to do too much unless you know how to make it and the formula is gone.” If I interpret this statement literally, well I don’t know if I can handle it. Only AAA releases should have the remaining lacquers and only for LPs (not digital or DMM).

    Yes, 7″ 45’s will wait, perhaps come around after supply increases if that happens. We have to accept that making good use of the space on the remaining lacquer is top priority. This will impact us all. This is the result, I feel, of manufacturing leaving the country going on 50 years now and not a priority here as it once was.

    All of this is in my opinion.

    Reply
    • G

      Thanks for the comment!

      I was amazed that there were only two plants in the whole wide world making lacquers! The only way I can see avoiding a repeat of this catastrophe (losing 80% of the lacquer-making production in the world) would be for the record companies making vinyl records to pool their resources (meaning money, honey) and back the start-up of a couple of new plants to make the lacquers.

      That would seem to have been inevitable anyway if those record companies want to keep vinyl sales growing 5-10% a year.

      We shall see ...

      N

      Reply
      • Neal, the gentleman in Japan is swamped with already approved orders and clients. I feel Universal should try to make up for their lax vaulting of master tapes (storing next to King Kong in their amusement park?) and pony up the all the dough to start immediately a lacquer plant. Good P.R. to make some amends for the totally unnecessary loss they had. Their keeping it a secret for umpteen years just seals it for me.

        Reply
        • G

          Agreed!

          Globally, vinyl record sales should pass the $500,000,000 mark this year. It’s about time a cuppla of the majors took notice and resurrected their vinyl line. First one into the fray who spends a bunch on K-Tel-like advertising could make a killing.

          N

          Reply

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