Massive Building Fire Endangers Vinyl Record Production
Apollo Masters, a lacquer manufacturing facility located in Banning, Calif., sustained a major fire yesterday (Feb. 6) and burned down. This horrendous event could affect the worldwide supply of vinyl records going forward, according to industry professionals.
The Desert Sun confirmed that the fire began in the 15,000-square-foot building at 8am Feb. 6. There were multiple explosions reported, and 82 firefighters responded to the scene.
The building was home to Apollo Masters, one of two plants in the world that manufacture lacquers that are imperative to the process of making vinyl records. The company posted a statement on their website addressing the event, as well as the uncertainty of its future.
To all our wonderful customers. It is with great sadness we report the Apollo Masters manufacturing and storage facility had a devastating fire and was completely destroyed. 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. 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, MDC, is located in Japan. While there has not been an immediate impact, an eventual shortage of lacquers can lead to disruptions in the vinyl production process for companies all over.
Ben Blackwell, co-founder of Third Man Records, expressed his concern for the future of vinyl records in an email to Pitchfork. "From my understanding, this fire will present a problem for the vinyl industry worldwide," he explained, adding that MDC already had a difficult time keeping up with the demand for their services.
Pitchfork also reached out to David Read at the Toronto-based company Duplication, who said this "disaster" will affect anyone who uses lacquers in their vinyl production process — bands, labels, mastering engineers and more. However, he assured that vinyl industry professionals are already trying to figure out a solution.
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