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.”
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.”